How could Google and other internet companies better help you better protect your children online? Your ideas needed please.

(78 Posts)
JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 09-Feb-10 11:02:59

It's Safer Internet Day 2010 today! So we thought we'd ask Mumsnet what you thought would help make your children safer online? We're going to sit down with the folks at Google in a few weeks to discuss what they might be able to do to help, so it would be great to be armed with your thoughts and experiences.

What is your biggest concern re your children's internet use? What, if any, safeguards/controls do you use? How do you rate them? What would you like in the way of online protection, in an ideal world?

Hopefully, collectively, we can come up with some ideas/solutions.

Thanks in advance.

WeddingDaze Tue 09-Feb-10 11:50:14

'What, if any, safeguards/controls do you use?'

Supervision! If they could provide me with an actual person to do that instead of me i'd be most appreciative!


Make Google's SafeSearch "Lock Safe Search" apply to all browsers not just Safari. I have just used it and didn't know it was there.

Maybe a BIG BANNER on the google search page to let adults know that these search restrictions are available would be better than hiding it away in the top right as "settings".

We are busy you know, we need to be told things (not have to search for them) - so don't assume we are all techi geeks. We want simple instructions and big pointy sticks to show us where they are.

Great that Mumsnet is up for this challenge smile. I wish I could be a fly on the wall. Could you do a live webchat with them? FWIW I have started using bing as my own search engine, I find the search results are filtered better.

LeninGrad Tue 09-Feb-10 12:44:34

I'd like to launch a 'safe' browser session rather than switch users.

MerlinsBeard Tue 09-Feb-10 12:45:19

Well, no matter what you search you get porn at some point so maybe having safe search as standard and having to log in to search "other stuff" will lessen that.

TBH i don't think it's up to google or any other isp provider to protect our children. Yes they should help but its us as parents that need to teach our children about "The Big Wide World" and these days that includes internet dangers.

My children are too young for MSN, FB Bebo etc so i am probably not qualified to answer properly yet.

WeddingDaze Tue 09-Feb-10 12:53:17

A standard safe search option is good, the majority of people are not googling for porn, i'd assume, possibly switching it on a friday night. wink

antoxo Tue 09-Feb-10 13:36:58

I've got a current issue with Facebook. My eleven year old son started putting pressure on to have a facebook account - which apparently all his friends have. I said no but have just found out that he'd secretly started one whilst at a friend's house a couple of nights ago (with false date of birth and school). I'm furious with him for lying but also cross that it seems to be so easy for kids to open facebook accounts. I think if at least there was more emphasis on the fact that this is illegal he probably wouldn't have done it. Should schools be doing more to stress the dangers of facebook?
It's a really tough one to deal with when it's becoming the norm for eleven year olds to have an account, so any help/backup we can get as parents would be really well received.

titchy Tue 09-Feb-10 13:52:03

Yes - search engines to assume a 'safe search' mode unless you change the settings, rather than the other way round.

More about 'safe surfing' at school as well. It's mentioned in passing, stuff about don't reveal your real name and address, but issues such as cyber-bullying, and postings of a predatorial nature. It's obviously parents' jobs to keep their offspring safe and that includes computer-safe as well, but lots of parents aren't really aware of what goes on in cyber-space.

I dont think the issues are particularly around FB or any other social networking site, but rather in the way they are used. I have my dd's password to FB and her MSN and email accounts, and check up periodically, which she knows about.

Snorbs Tue 09-Feb-10 14:06:23

My feeling is that using technology to try to solve a social issue will never work very well. Google's Safesearch is reasonably reliable and it has some good tips here that could do with being signposted a bit better.

Fundamentally, though, if a parent can't be bothered to monitor what their children are doing on the Internet there's not much that Google or anyone else can realistically do about it.

The "parent's aren't aware of what goes on in cyber-space" line smells like a cop-out to me. The PC that my DCs use is in plain view and I keep an eye on what they're doing on it. I don't need to know much about the Internet to be able to spot a dodgy picture or a chat session that's getting out of hand.

I'm responsible for my children's well-being, not Google or Microsoft or anyone else. If I abdicate that responsibility it's no-one else's fault than my own.

LeninGrad Tue 09-Feb-10 14:12:07

It's not that easy though. I sit with DS1 (3.9) and we look things up and something that seems innocent suddenly isn't and I'm hitting Alt-F4 as fast as I can! I need to spend more time getting to know the kind of sites that will have the info he wants on.

I just dread clicking on something awful, once seen it's difficult to dislodge images from your mind.

I'd like to know how SafeSearch and filters work - is there a blacklist of URLs? Or keywords on websites?

Tee2072 Tue 09-Feb-10 14:12:17

Personally, I am not worried about what my DS when he begins surfing the net (he's just 8 months, so this is speculation) will find on Google.

I am worried about him being cyberbullied. Or things like that.

The issue is not a Google issue. Its a parental issue.

Such as why do children under the age of 13 have Facebooks and why do their parents let them have them?

So nothing Google, or any other internet company, can do about it.

LeninGrad Tue 09-Feb-10 14:15:14

I've just locked SafeSearch, see if that helps.

titchy Tue 09-Feb-10 14:15:32

I know that line sounds like a cop-out- but in reality there are lots of people I know (intelligent, fairly IT literate) parents who geniunely don't know how to use the pc except for email and word documents.

LeninGrad Tue 09-Feb-10 14:16:12

Also, how does it work if for example I want to see some YouTube videos but not dodgy ones, or is YouTube pretty safe?

LeninGrad Tue 09-Feb-10 14:18:58

Tee - honestly, we were only looking up majorette dancing or something and suddenly something very risqué appeared!

I am PC savvy, their accounts will be locked down when they are older and using the PC on their own (in the living room). I just need the technical gubbins for kids. I can often tell by URL/domain names whether to access that content or not so I haven't had to give it much thought as an adult.

WeddingDaze Tue 09-Feb-10 14:19:05

LeninGrad, it really depends on what your search terms are. You tube is pretty safe IME though.

snickersnack Tue 09-Feb-10 14:25:00

I think Google has a track record of coming up with great solutions to problems most people didn't know existed, then getting plenty of publicity for having done so. So if they are serious about online safety rather than just using us for some cheap market research then I am sure if they put their considerable brains to work they can think of some elegant and user friendly solutions to help parents protect their children. Because really it should be about educating people rather than simply enforcing solutions.

LeninGrad Tue 09-Feb-10 14:28:00

Indeed WD, but I thought majorette dancing would be all right <innocent>.

Anyway SafeSearch was on medium by default, I've set it to high and locked it.

WeddingDaze Tue 09-Feb-10 14:36:11

The thing is, there will always be things that slip through for whatever reason.

I too wouldn't have thought that there would be any danger with majorettes!

I didn't even know google had a safe search option until recently, so making that fact more well known is a good starting point.

Snorbs Tue 09-Feb-10 14:37:53

titchy, the point isn't that you need to be an IT expert to monitor what your children are up to. You just need to be there when they're on the computer, to watch what they're doing, and to intervene when something inappropriate pops up.

If you know enough about computers to send an email, you know enough to click on the little X in the top-right corner of a window to close it.

If you're watching the TV with your DCs and someone sits on the remote control and it flicks over to something inappropriate, what do you do? Sit there saying "I'm not a TV expert so I abdicate all responsibility for this" or turn the thing off?

Tee2072 Tue 09-Feb-10 14:52:44

LeninGrad my point is that sex is everywhere and it will not freak me out if I am right there, watching what DS is doing and can close the window right away. Not that I am saying I want him to see porn, but porn is the least of my worries about him being on the 'net.

And has Snorbs said, it doesn't take an IT expert to close a browser window.

southeastastra Tue 09-Feb-10 14:55:15

i have no idea what google can do. it's depressing the amount of porn on the internet. you'd think people were, in the majority, sex starved and a bit thick.

nickschick Tue 09-Feb-10 15:33:51

I have older teens but im still supervising a lot of what they do I would however like a google password scheme for sites that are risque.

nickschick Tue 09-Feb-10 15:35:09

Dh still hasnt got the hang of google ....he typed in bridget the midget to hear some song from years ago - well it wasnt the song he saw.........blush

LadyG Tue 09-Feb-10 19:29:38

Would love a 'kids google'( err koogle?) ie a search engine with toolbar you could download that only gave super safe options and was tailored towards children and educational sites.

MegSophandEmma Tue 09-Feb-10 19:35:42

LadyG I think that's a really good idea.

nickschick Tue 09-Feb-10 19:37:08

kidoogle grin

said Tue 09-Feb-10 19:38:24

What can Google do though? What are their capabilities on this?

As already stated, a lot of kids will open a facebook account at a friend's house. What can Google do about stuff liek that? I know the answer is nothing. I also don't get this watching everything your child posts/looks at on the computer business. It may be ok for younger/primary kids but it does start to get trickier as they get older. How much do you restrict their freedom? Do you just disable MSN and facebook completely and ride out their complaints? If not, how do you monitor it when they are capable of changing the settings so MSN chats are not saved/they use facebook chat etc so you're not actually able to monitor what they're saying?

I'd like facebook to be more vigilant rather than google. Block and ban kids.

MerlinsBeard Tue 09-Feb-10 19:54:21

It isn't illegal to lie about your age in order to open a facebook account or whatever, it;s just FB rules.

I would like the ability through their Chrome browser to filter advertising according to age rating (because I don't want my three year old seeing adverts for bras - even if they do have Barbie on them hmm).

I'd like to apply adult content filtering to Gmail for les urchins for similar reasons.

I'd also like a count score on chat software so that if for example my child was spending a lot of time contacting someone through online chat it flagged it up for me if that person was not on a list of people I had approved for chat purposes.

A cache list of visited pages emailed to me sporadically and randomly for when my kids are older so they know that there is a chance mum will be aware of what they are up to.

I have a bit of a problem with the idea of preventing content though - if my 14 year old wanted to get info on STIs I would not want that blocked (I'd just want to know we needed to talk about it).

I think there is a market for hardware authentication keys to confirm ages of users on chatboards though, you never know who is really who online and kids do also abuse kids so it would be helpful to be able to prove that people are who they say they are online.

Finally, make a 'homework helper' part of Google which only returns scholarly stuff!


Quintessential12belowZero Tue 09-Feb-10 22:54:54

Google images should come with an age related filter.

my son googled underpants.


he got g strings and ladies bottoms. Some with quite open legs..... I dont want him to google somethign as innocent as underpants, and see a womans Tushie.

Likewise, I dont want him to miss spell Disney Fairies, as Disney Ferries (easily done if you are a child) and find hardcore porn, erect penises ejaculating, and male organs half way in a womans erm.... shaved pussy.
excuse my language.

which he did. Because he asked, mum, can I look at disney fairies, we looked at it in school. And I let him, because disney fairies is innocent. How were I to know he would make a spelling mistake when googling?

southeastastra Tue 09-Feb-10 22:59:05

my younger son's favourite site is youtube-generally he doesn't seem to come up with much unsuitable stuff

ds(16) - it's hard to say, i do let him look at whatever he wants and trust him. the pc is set to safe search.

i think it's very easy to give guidelines and monitor very young children with the internet.

the lines get blurry once they reach 16/17, what are the guidelines for that age?

Snorbs Tue 09-Feb-10 23:44:10

Quintessential12belowZero, Google Images has already got a filter - it's called SafeSearch. I just tried "underpants" and "disney ferries" in Google Images with SafeSearch set to Strict and I saw nothing particularly offensive.

Quintessential12belowZero Wed 10-Feb-10 07:06:39

good to know snorbs, I shall tell his teacher.....

MerlinsBeard Wed 10-Feb-10 08:42:24

It's tricky because I want my children to be able to look things up if they feel they can't ask. However, if they type 'sex' into google I don't want them to be able to access porn so it's a tricky one.

MrsForgetful Wed 10-Feb-10 08:50:42

DS3 (age 10) has been told by older kids to just 'lie' about his age when he joins in theory i supppose he could join ANY website. And unless i stand there constantly, i am powerless. some websites send 'confirmatuion emails' which i have to then click on a link to 'activate' the account- but not all (seems its the 'good/safe' websites that offer this...the bad ones are hardly going to give parents chance to opt out ...are they?)

I have installed Online Family Norton which is working allows you to block for example 'social and networking & chat' and 'porn' & 'gambling' etc...then IF there is a site he comes across that it blocks that HE wants to go on...Norton lets me view site- and overide filter if i am happy. (as sometimes it is a bit too strict!)
Also- it sends me emails everytime he clicks on sites that it has blocked. I have tried other 'parent contols' and this is the best so far.

MrsForgetful Wed 10-Feb-10 08:52:45

oh- it also logs the words that ds uses to search on start with he was trying 'sexy' words...but now he knows it will 'tell' me...or block him...he has stopped trying

(BTW...his 'level' of sexy words were bum,willy and boobs!)

Snorbs Wed 10-Feb-10 10:05:00

Another issue with trying to solve this social issue technologically is this - who gets to decide which are "age-appropriate" websites and which aren't?

Google may have a corporate motto of "Don't be evil" but a predominantly US company's view of what is "evil" may not match mine.

Rhubarb Wed 10-Feb-10 10:27:22

I think social networking sites need to ensure that tougher rules are in place to prevent people from setting up fake profiles. I don't even think you need to go into your email to confirm it, you just give them any old email address - so long as it looks legitimate - and away you go.

They also need to ensure that settings are set to strict privacy by default. At the moment the default settings are very public.

Tighter control over groups on facebook. There are animal sex groups and allsorts - I know this because the 12yo dd of my boss was targeted by bullies. They did a fake profile for her, used Meredith Kercher's picture and joined her up to animal sex groups and groups called "I like little girls" etc.

If they can spend so much money and time on tracking down people who download illegal movies and music then surely they can track down those people tho abuse children? Or is there no financial incentive for them to do that?

Google's settings should also be set to the highest levels by default. Many parents have no idea that they can change the Google settings, hence when your child types in something innocuous in Google images like 'Red Riding Hood' they could be confronted with pornographic images.

What does it take to ensure all settings are high by default? It takes no time at all and it would seriously help.

But as usual, it's all about making money and our childrens safety comes second in the hunt for more and yet more wealth.

I agree Rhubarb. Campaign for the defaults to be set to high.

Bramshott Wed 10-Feb-10 12:32:14

Is there a way of making the filtering more intelligent? I originally tried to set all our filtering options to "strict", but there were so many sites that got blocked (Sealed Knot re-enactment Society for example) that I ended up changing it back again!

ByThePowerOfGreyskull Wed 10-Feb-10 14:44:36

Google could block sites that they KNOW have illegal content.
I found one by accident last week and I reported it to the internet watch foundation, only to find that it has been known about for along time.
A chat room , like mn, but for paedophiles. sad hideous, DO NOT PROMOTE IT GOOGLE!!!!!!!!!!!

MsFire Wed 10-Feb-10 14:51:46

I would like the setting on all computers/search engines to have a default setting for porn of OFF. I loathe the way there is a running tap of porn coming into every home. And you have to be a virtual techno genius or stand over yr child ever moment they are on line to stop it.

If porn was set to default OFF, you would have to actively search for how to switch it on. And parents would be alert to their children doing this.

Can someone please explain how to set Google to safe search cos this is all becoming an issue with my teenager....

Rhubarb Wed 10-Feb-10 14:52:52

That's exactly what I mean, you complain and no-one takes any action. They mumble something about freedom of expression and censorship.

Yet you get someone downloading music illegal or playstation games and they can't close the sites down fast enough!

Because they lose money with one you see, and they gain money with another. Guess which is which.

Rhubarb Wed 10-Feb-10 14:56:13

MsFire, if it's a teenager we are talking about then you are better off buying a filter.

But you can create a separate account for your teen - go into Start and Control Panel and in there it allows you to creat another user. You can also then go into that user and change all the settings to high. It gives you that option when creating the user I think. But basically to into the internet, then click on Tools - Internet Options. In Security put all the settings on high.

Now in Google there will be a small link to the side of google saying 'search preferences', click on this and change all the preferences to the highest settings.

Snorbs Wed 10-Feb-10 15:13:36

"That's exactly what I mean, you complain and no-one takes any action. They mumble something about freedom of expression and censorship.

Yet you get someone downloading music illegal or playstation games and they can't close the sites down fast enough!"

That's simply not true. Where possible the peadophile sites are shut down faster than anything else. And I suggest you look at how long the Pirate Bay was up and running before claiming that such sites get shut down faster than peadophilia sites.

The big problem, though, is one of jurisdiction. If site X contravenes UK law then UK police can do something about it if it's a UK site or it's hosted in a different country that has appropriate legal agreements with the UK. If it's hosted in a country that couldn't care less for our laws, there's not much the UK police can do about it.

Again we've got people here complaining of the alleged impossibility of keeping an eye on what your children do on-line. It's not difficult. They're on the computer, you keep an eye on what they're up to. Software and filtering can't replace good parenting decisions.

Rhubarb Wed 10-Feb-10 16:01:37

Really? How do you explain this then?

"Google could block sites that they KNOW have illegal content.
I found one by accident last week and I reported it to the internet watch foundation, only to find that it has been known about for along time.
A chat room , like mn, but for paedophiles. hideous, DO NOT PROMOTE IT GOOGLE!!!!!!!!!!!" from bythepowerofgreyskull.

And during the online chat with the woman from ChildNet a poster called somebodiesmum detailed her 13yo having pornographic images of her on the internet STILL despite her mother complaining to everyone she can. The UK police just shrugged and said there was nothing they could do because apparently the 13yo instigated it herself shock

And what about when you report Facebook fake profiles and groups? And no action is taken? Or fake Twitter accounts that tries to get girls mobile numbers and again nothing is done?

The UK and USA police are happy to co-operate when they are trying to crack illegal downloaders or hackers. But when it comes to child pornography it's up to the ISP?

Google could do more, facebook could do more, all networking sites could do more. The reason they don't is a question of money.

Snorbs Wed 10-Feb-10 16:34:55

Google already has a mechanism for people to identify which sites you think they should block. It's here.

I didn't see the post from somebodiesmum so I can't really comment on that.

What about when you report fake Facebook and/or Twitter profiles? I've never done it so I don't know what happens or what you expect to happen. But what's that got to do with either Google or the police?

The UK and USA police already co-operate on child porn, as do ISPs and search providers such as Google, Yahoo and Microsoft. More so than they do with illegal downloaders or hackers as they're more typically civil offences rather than criminal ones, particularly in the US (Gary McKinnon excepted as he went after US Govt sites). But it does no good if the US and UK police co-operate on a child porn investigation if the server is somewhere they have no jurisdiction. All they can do then is go after the recipients (as they have done and continue to do, of course).

Rhubarb Wed 10-Feb-10 16:49:13

Well perhaps Google would like to explain how a child abuse chat room that greyskull complained about, was known about and is STILL on Google I presume - greyskull you still around?

Facebook and Twitter have nothing to do with Google but the thread asked about other internet companies.

Search for somebodiesmum on the thread about ChildNet for the full story. Very shocking that the authorities just seem to have washed their hands of it, the police didn't want to know at all. And according to the OP, images of her dd are still freely available in the US and on some ISPs here in the UK.

It should not be up to parents. Many parents have no idea how to change internet settings, they don't use the internet themselves. But they are under pressure by schools and others to allow their children access to the internet.

What does it take really to make all the default settings high? Yes us parents do have a responsibility for our children, but if you, as a parent, don't understand the internet, how can you?

Rhubarb Wed 10-Feb-10 17:00:59
Snorbs Wed 10-Feb-10 17:05:13

Maybe greyskull could also explain if he/she has reported the presence of that site in Google's search results to Google itself.

I'll repeat what I said before - you don't have to be an Internet expert or a computer geek to keep an eye on what your children are doing on a computer. All it takes is for you to be there while they're using a PC and to pay attention to what they're doing on it.

Ignorance and/or disinterest doesn't mean that you get to abdicate all responsibility.

ByThePowerOfGreyskull Wed 10-Feb-10 19:36:57

no I hadn't thought to report it to google.. hmm
will check to see what processes the IWF go through but if you do a web search for ANONTALK you will see there are lots of forums talking about why it hasn't been removed, or that it was removed for a while but is still there.

I would like to add that my google search was about what age girls started shaving their legs... perhaps not the best thing to search for I didn't add legs to the search - I hadn't assumed it would suggest other shaving and sites with Alot of legal content but also this random one mixed in. angry

ByThePowerOfGreyskull Wed 10-Feb-10 19:41:57

sorry would just like to add please don't click onto anon talk itslef. some of the things on there I will not get out of my head for a long time sad

Quintessential12belowZero Wed 10-Feb-10 22:43:34

By ByThePowerOfGreyskull Wed 10-Feb-10 14:44:36
Google could block sites that they KNOW have illegal content.
I found one by accident last week and I reported it to the internet watch foundation, only to find that it has been known about for along time.
A chat room , like mn, but for paedophiles. hideous, DO NOT PROMOTE IT GOOGLE!!!!!!!!!!!

Most likely it is a useful tool for the police. sad

I have a friend who is in a special division of the police dealing with pae dophlies. (typo on purpose) They use these forums for intelligence gathering. Sometimes they act as honeypots. Vital for investigations.

Quintessential12belowZero Wed 10-Feb-10 22:45:07

That is not to say that google should not show responsibility and protect us and our kids from stumbling upon it on purpose.

Quintessential12belowZero Wed 10-Feb-10 22:46:01

I meant protect us from stumbling on it by ACCIDENCE! hmm I think I must go to bed. Tired.

theyoungvisiter Thu 11-Feb-10 08:12:03

I think it would be good to have a "google kids" tab.

In the same way as you can search JUST images, or JUST map locations but clicking on google images or whatever, it would be useful to have googlekids that would only search sites specifically aimed at children up to 12.

It would be good for homework because you would know that all the searches would be relevant info that was aimed at a child's understanding. And it would obviously remove the likelihood of them stumbling on anything untoward.

And perhaps there could be a facility to manually add sites to the list so that if you felt they were old enough to (say) access bbc news, then you could make that part of the automatic search.

theyoungvisiter Thu 11-Feb-10 08:12:38

but by clicking on google images

Rhubarb Thu 11-Feb-10 10:19:52

Now Google kids is a GOOD idea! Strictly filtered content so you can be fairly sure that your kids are not going to be subjected to inappropriate stuff.

And social networking sites ought to take their responsibilities a lot more seriously. Everyone knows that children use facebook - the founders know that, they have apps that are targeted at kids. Unfortunately such apps also appeal to paedos (YoVille is really such a bloody loophole in all of this - you can even see those bloody avatars in gimp masks and bondage ffs) and some of the facebook groups are wholly inappropriate.

Most sites do not allow you to join until you go into your email and confirm that it is a registered email address. Not so with facebook, you can make up any old tosh, you don't have to confirm your email.

It's so unregulated it's laughable.

posieparker Thu 11-Feb-10 10:41:55

I think each child has their own log in and parents can view history(undeletable) at any time. Perhaps even have the option to only give access to approved sites and then they would get emails to advise when a child/user has visited or attempted to visit a different site.

letshaveacupoftea Fri 12-Feb-10 13:18:41

I recently did a search for something very innocuous, and the top listed site on Google had pictures of children which, although not pornographic, were clearly there for the pleasure of paedophiles. I checked with the full filter setting on, and it did still come up.
If Google are genuinely interested in protecting children on the internet, then I believe that as well as the filters which are a great idea, they should actively encourage users to submit details of sites meeting certain criteria (eg those that encourage paedophiles, or those which are potentially damaging to children but which do not trigger their safety filters) with a view to ensuring that the worst ones do not show up in their results lists.
I would be really interested to hear other peoples views on this.

Snorbs Fri 12-Feb-10 13:23:23

Google has a "Report offensive images" button on every image search page.

iheartdusty Mon 15-Feb-10 16:30:17

To posters asking for a 'google kids' tab or a strictly controlled environment - there already exists glubble which does this very thing if I have understood it correctly.

you down load it, and always go to it first, then it filters and controls every site you link to through it.

(sorry, not explaining very well)

duffy Thu 25-Feb-10 23:56:06

How about some kind of parental control setting within Chrome that allows you to simultaneously view what your child is looking at on the home computer while you're at work (or upstairs on your laptop Mumsnetting)?

And/or some kind of internal browser timer. So you can say to your kids right I'm setting it to 30 mins computer time and that's it. Would actually make quite a neat reward/treat for good behaviour etc.

I'd like both of those - would make me switch to Chrome.

tatt Fri 26-Feb-10 08:18:32

Google - your motto is supposed to be do no evil but you ARE evil. You encouraged the spread of pornography and allowed it to be thrust at children. You do not provide safe search as the default option, you don't have an easy mechanism to be told when parents think a site should be excluded from safe search.

I have come across porn sites when mistyping the address of harmless sites, when searching for information on damaged nails, milk, when looking up disney names, even when finding out about nits. The web is full of people with unusual sexual interests. I want a simple button I can press that says exclude from safe search and I demand safe search as the default!

To suggest I should watch my child constantly is a cop-out. You are thrusting pornography at my children and they deserve to be protected from people like you. You are like the magazine sellers, placing pornography at a low level where children can see it - except worse because it's harder core and free.

Personally I recommend the everyclick search engine for young children. It's not as up-to-date as google but it doesn't include a lot of the dodgy sites and you can benefit charity as you use it. If more people abandoned google they would have more incentive to change.

With older children it it more difficult. There are packages that will log keystrokes and therefore give you a pretty full picture of what your child does on the computer but increasingly they access the net at places you can't control like on their phones and at school. They may also be sent porn by friends whose parents don't understand computers - I need other children to be protected as well as my own.

It is difficult for sites to check on the age of people signing up to them so the emphasis there needs to be dealing with people who do approach children. One of my children was being treated in the same way a paedophile would groom a child - building up a relationship initially, sending them pornography, encouraging them to look at degrading sites, asking to share pictures. I tried without success to get them banned from the site, did not initially have enough information for the police to be involved but finally managed to at least cut this off at home and school.

rey Fri 26-Feb-10 09:24:36

tatt (and others) : speaking volumes and everyone knows it.

The government of whichever country you are living in, google, everyone, everyone knows it. We don't need yet more research findings, it is all so obvious. We don't need to tell google what we think would help, they know. I could go on but what's the point, what really is the point when the powers that be do not care until in years to come they decide like everything else that they better stop just setting up committees, having more research, wasting public money and allowing families/individuals to be harmed and actually take some action, and action that actually works. Action that actually works - now that would be just too easy. In the meantime I continue to have conversat

purpleturtle Fri 26-Feb-10 12:30:14

I installed virginmedia's security package the other day, and attempted to use the parental controls by setting each child up with their own user name, with the standard restrictions that are apparently built in. But that meant that DD, with her 'pre-teen' profile (9-12 yrs, I think) was blocked from the CBBC website. I think she could get on to CBeebies without my password, but that's not where she wanted to be. The profiles for the younger children were just as awkward.

I switched parental control off, and will continue to monitor from the other side of the room. I thought that it would be useful to block sites that they accidentally clicked through to - that kind of thing. But it needs to be simple for parents like me!

rey Sat 27-Feb-10 20:25:53

Had to rush off yesterday due to phone... was going to end - in the meantime I continue to have conversations with my children about matters that have been forced down our throats far too early. Childhood seems to be fading faster ever - poor mites sad.

Spacehoppa Sat 27-Feb-10 21:53:37

I personally like the degree of information that is requested by the Mumsnet site. Because of my professional background I am very nervous about giving away too much personal information. This is why I tend to stick to this site for social networking...and why I am a bit worried about what happens when UCO gets past the I-PLAYER stage of development and onto pressing buttons for herself. Physically I already have difficulty limiting her sphere of operations...

Jayniesue Wed 10-Mar-10 13:52:36

Case study required in return for £100 vouchers

Hi there,

I am looking for a case study of a parent who has been affected by child safety on the internet. Have you ever caught your child unintentionally or intentionally accessing adult content? Has your child ever wandered into an adult chat room? Have they ever been approached by a stranger online?

Are you a parent so worried about the dangers outside the house that you'd rather keep your child indoors on the computer? Are you a parent without parental controls on their computer and feel they need education on the options open to them.

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Lifein2010 Thu 25-Mar-10 22:00:23

If someone complains about a benign search that results in 40 plus pages of porn spam then there should be a dedicated team that listens an deals with it. There must be a program that google can run to seek out those pages and neutralise the porn spam.

Porn spam destroys legitimate searches and clogs the Internet and google has the reach across the globe to do something about it. If it can make a profit from the net then google can help to clean it up.

I have contacted legitimate web providers about the random gobbledegook spam web pages and they have been very obliging about removing them ( eg virb ibibo) but google is not forthcoming or helpful or accessible to people who take legitimate complaints abou junk Internet sites that dilute the Internet fr everyone.

Most disturbingly is the amount of gobbledegook porn web sites with loads of search words that capture legitimate searches and direct them to porn sites. Many children will be caught be these sites and it isn't the words that make me upset- it is the horiblw hard core porn thumb nail pictures that are so readily available. Take them down. Please.

Lifein2010 Thu 25-Mar-10 22:15:39

I do a normal search. I get multiple pages back loaded with porn spam. One click and I not only see porn spam words but the most filthy disgusting thumbnail pictures. They should not be one click away. Google- at the very least get rid of the filthy pictures that pop up after an innocent search. You must have the smarts for that. Porn pictures should only be accessible by password if available at all. We supervise our kids. We don't want to see them either. Cannot stand the decay in media I have witnessed in my lifetime and I am so tired of the 'not responsible' argument. Google- you are responsible.

juliastrawbs Thu 03-Feb-11 19:43:48

Obviously the main aim of internet day is to aid parents to develop awareness of the dangers and threats children are exposed to when on line.

But what about the growing evidence we now have as to the dangers of exposing kids to strong electromagnetic fields as school wifi/wlan systems are now being put into so many of our schools. Often there are many transmitters in one room. This is the case in my daughter's school - for her it is where they do science - the room has 9 transmitters and she always comes home with a headache when she's been in there.

The report below has just come out today (3/2) and is an important warning of the need to protect children:

Scientists Urge Halt of Wireless Rollout and Call for New Safety Standards:
Warning Issued on Risks to Children and Pregnant Women

In November 2009 a scientific panel met in Seletun, Norway, for three days of intensive discussion on existing scientific evidence and public health implications of the unprecedented global exposures to artificial electromagnetic fields (EMF - static to 300 GHz) that result from the use of electric power and from wireless telecommunications technologies for voice and data transmission, energy, security, military and radar use in weather and transportation.

The Scientific Panel conclusions have just been published in a peer-reviewed Journal, Reviews on Environmental Health (2010; 25:307-317). They have recognized that the body of evidence on EMF and health requires a new approach to protection of public health; the growth and development of the fetus, and of children; and argues for strong preventative actions. New, biologically-based public exposure standards are urgently needed to protect public health worldwide.

They conclude that exposures may be harming the development of children at levels now commonly found in the environment. Pregnant women are cautioned to avoid using wireless devices themselves and distance themselves from other users.

"Current US and ICNIRP standards for radiofrequency and microwave radiation from wireless technologies are entirely inadequate. They never were intended to address the kind of exposures from wireless devices that now affect over 4 billion people."
(Olle Johansson, professor, The Experimental Dermatology Unit, Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute, and The Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden)

The combined effect of cell phones, cordless phones, cell towers, WI-FI and wireless internet place billions of people around the world at risk for cancer, neurological disease and reproductive and developmental impairments.

"We are already seeing increases in health problems such as cancer and neurobehavioural impairments, even though these wireless technologies are fairly new in the last decades or so for the general public. This finding suggests that the exposures are already too high to protect people from health harm. Evidence suggests there are special risks for persons with occupational exposures to RF/MW as well as ELF."
(Elihu Richter, assoc. professor, Unit of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Medicine, Jerusalem, Israel)

Safety standards also ignore the developing fetus, and young children who are more affected.

"Pregnant women and children of all ages should avoid using cell and cordless phones given the health effects we are seeing already."
(Yuri Grigoriev, professor, Dr of Med Sci, Chairman of Russian National Committee on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, Moscow, Russian Federation)

Many countries are promoting wireless communications on a community-wide scale for energy management and conservation. The SmartGrid concept could require every home to have a wireless electric and gas meter in place of their existing meters. If implemented, it will greatly increase the intensity of new wireless emissions in homes, schools and every other building that uses electricity and gas.

"WiFi/wLAN routers, DECT phones and other wireless devices like baby monitors produce radio frequency emissions that will affect millions of people and babies in their homes, and should be halted until other, less harmful options are investigated." (Lukas Margaritis, professor, Department of Cell Biology and Biophysics, Faculty of Biology, University of Athens, Athens, Greece)

The Scientific Panel urges a halt to the rollout of new wireless technologies, especially those that cause exposures for pregnant women and for children.

"New, biologically-based exposure limits are crucial to guide new technology development toward solutions that are not harmful to health. The global rollout of wireless technologies has outpaced both health studies and calls for more restrictive public safety limits." (Cindy Sage, co-editor of The Bioinitiative Report, MA, Sage Associates, Santa Barbara, CA, USA)

For more info, see

hellion Mon 07-Feb-11 21:01:36

It would be great to have a child version of Google. So they could go to that site, and do searches and all the sites that appeared would be safe, and all the nasties filtered out.

Parental supervision and all that stuff is still important. Just as our parents warned us when we were young about the dangers then, we should warn our children.

Actually I think everyone on here is ahead of the game. There are so many parents out there who have no idea what there children are doing on-line as they have no idea what you can do on the computer. My ds school held an Internet Safety session and only 6 parents turned up!

hellion Mon 07-Feb-11 21:09:11

Just to add that I don't get any spam through google. My virus checker/antispam filters it all out. You can also change the Google settings to STRICT and this will filter a lot of the inappropirate contents (although the odd things does get through).

hellion Mon 07-Feb-11 21:30:05

Actually why don't Google default their settings to strict. Those who need to know could then change them.

Karen673 Thu 29-Dec-11 16:46:24

Hi all smile

I just wanted to let you know that there's a simple product out there called "SafeSearchLock" that does exactly what hellion described. It instantly makes strict safe searching the DEFAULT setting for Google, YouTube, Bing and loads more sites with a single convenient and secure password lock.

It works with multiple browsers, multiple windows user accounts and there's no need to sign into Google or any other sites to lock on their safesearch features. Simple!

Just install it, choose a password and job done! All key search engines and other major sites will be instantly and automatically locked to their strictest safe search settings.

My hubby helped create it so yes I'm tad bit biased, but it's such a great idea I hope you don't mind me mentioning it here. Only launched last year it's already being used in 11 different countries.

Just google "SafeSearchLock", or go to to download.

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