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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.

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.

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.

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 21:01:36

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!

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

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.

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.

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.

There is £100 worth of vouchers for every parents story that we use so please get in touch at: or call me on: 0207 680 5500 ASAP.

Thank you!

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...

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.

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 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

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.

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.

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)

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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

but by clicking on google images

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.

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.

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 22:43:34

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.

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

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