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

(78 Posts)
JustineMumsnet Belgium (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!

wink

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

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