Judging content credibility

Just because you see it online doesn’t mean it’s true. Teach your family to view all content critically so they can identify fact from fake online. Learn how to distinguish reliable sources from unreliable ones, and how to verify information you find online.

Advice from our partners

iKeepSafe

  1. Be a skeptic. Even if it’s a “cool” or professional website, it may not have accurate information. Before you believe the information posted, ask yourself what’s the point of view of the site? And what opinions or ideas are missing?
  2. Investigate the source. Find out who published the information and ask yourself if they are trustworthy.
  3. Always check the facts that you find. The best way to do this is to follow the “rule of 3”: compare 3 sources of information. Remember to include one source with an opposing viewpoint. To learn more, check out the lesson plan “Become an Online Sleuth” created by Google and iKeepSafe.

Common Sense Media

  1. Get a second (or third, or fourth) opinion. Conduct several searches on your topic on different websites, using different keywords. This provides a variety of perspectives that may differ -- and will allow you to evaluate the credibility of a site's offerings against each other. And go beyond your usual sites, like Wikipedia and About.
  2. Search strategically. Think critically about your online searches so they are effective and produce relevant results. Use multiple, specific, descriptive keywords. There’s a difference between searching for "hip hop" and searching for "hip hop for social justice."
  3. Pay attention to URL domains. The URL domain can be found at the end of a website address, and it tells people what kind of organization they are dealing with. Companies usually aim to sell products or services and display lots of ads, while organizations, educational institutions, and government entities usually aim to share knowledge and improve communities. (.com = company, .gov = government website, .edu = educational institution, .org = organization.)

Safety tools

Discover Google safety features designed to help control what your family sees online.

Google Search

Report inappropriate SafeSearch results

If you come across a result on SafeSearch that is mature, please report it to us—we’re always working to improve our content filters, and this kind of feedback helps us make SafeSearch safer for everyone.

Learn more

Click here to enter any URL with content that should be filtered.

We will investigate and filter the content from SafeSearch if it is mature.

YouTube

Flag questionable content

Our policy specialists work around the clock to help keep you and your family safe on YouTube. If you see content or behavior that you think violates the YouTube Community Guidelines, you can flag it for review. If a video violates our guidelines, it gets removed from the site. If it doesn’t violate the Guidelines but might not be appropriate for everyone, the video may be age-restricted, so younger users aren’t able to view it.

Learn more

To flag a video, click on the “Flag” button below the video player.

Click on the reason for flagging that best fits the violation within the video.

Provide any additional details that may help the review team make their decision.

Flagging videos is anonymous, but you do need to be logged in to use flagging tools.

To learn how to flag a comment or channel, please visit the Help Center.

Google+

Report offensive content

If someone makes an inappropriate comment or post on Google+, you can report it—even from a mobile device. Google+ has clear Content Policies that explain what is and isn't appropriate to do on the site, so if you see content or behavior that violates our policy, you can flag it for review. We review flagged content around the clock, and we may remove content and limit or shut down accounts of users who violate our policies.

Learn more

To report a post, click the arrow in the upper right of the post. Then click Report Spam or Abuse.

In the pop-up window that appears, you can identify why you're reporting the post.

Once you’re done, a red flag will appear next to the post. To undo the report, click the red flag.

To report a comment, hover over the comment and click on the gray flag that appears.

Google+

Keep Hangouts safe for everyone

We want Hangouts to be fun for everyone. If you see content or behavior that violates the Google+ Content and Conduct Policy, you can flag it for review. These policies play an important part in keeping Google+ a safe and positive place, so we may remove content and limit or shut down accounts of users who violate our policies. You can also block a Hangout user if you no longer want to see or hear them.

Learn more

To report abuse in a Public Hangout Party, hover over the person's video thumbnail.

Click the ignore icon.

In the window that appears, select Report Abuse.

Google Play

Keep inappropriate apps out of the Play Store

Stumbled across some inappropriate content on the Google Play store? Flag it for review and if it violates our policies, we'll take it down.

Learn more

From your Android device, find the app in the Google Play store.

Scroll down to the bottom of the app screen and select Flag as inappropriate.

Then, choose a reason type that is most appropriate for the situation.

Lastly, choose Submit.

Blogger

Help keep the blogosphere safe for all

There are clear guidelines about what kinds of content can be posted on Blogger. If you see content that violates the Blogger Content Policy, you can flag it for review. Anything that violates our policies will be removed, and we'll place a warning page in front of content that doesn't violate our policies but might not be appropriate for all audiences.

Learn more

To report content, visit the help article here.

At the bottom of the page, select the abuse type to access the relevant contact form.

Complete the information requested, and then click “submit”.

If you're on a blog that you'd like to report, click the “more” drop down at the top of the page.

Then click “Report Abuse” and follow the steps to alert Blogger about content on that page.

Google Play

Use app ratings to choose age-appropriate apps

Just like at the movies, you can decide which Google Play apps are appropriate for your family by looking at the ratings: everyone, low maturity, medium maturity, or high maturity. You can filter apps by level, and also lock the filtering level with a simple PIN code (keeping other users from accidentally disabling the filter).

Learn more

Open the Google Play Store app from your device.

Touch Menu Menu → Settings (depending on your device, your Menu icon may look different).

Under “User controls”, select Content filtering.

Choose the filter that's right for your family. Ratings range from “Everyone” to “High Maturity”.

Touch OK. Then, create and enter a PIN to help prevent unwanted changes to your filter settings.

YouTube

Set a filter to keep inappropriate content out

If you’d prefer to not to see mature or age-restricted content as you browse YouTube, scroll to the bottom of any YouTube page and enable Safety Mode. Safety Mode helps filter out potentially objectionable content from search, related videos, playlists, shows, and films.

Learn more

Scroll to the bottom of any YouTube page and click the drop-down menu in the “Safety” section.

Select the On or Off option to enable or disable Safety Mode.

To lock this setting, sign in to your Google Account.

Once you're signed in, you will have the option to lock this setting.

YouTube

Set it and forget it. Keep Safety Mode locked

If you want to keep Safety Mode on permanently, you can lock it. Then every time you access YouTube from that browser, you'll automatically be signed in to Safety Mode.

Learn more

Scroll to the bottom of any YouTube page and click the drop-down menu in the “Safety” section.

Select the On or Off option to enable or disable Safety Mode.

To lock this setting, sign in to your Google Account.

Once you're signed in, you will have the option to lock this setting.

Google Search

Set it and forget it. Keep SafeSearch locked

The SafeSearch setting you choose on the Search Settings page applies to anyone using the same Web browser and computer as you. If you have a Google Account, you can lock the setting so that other users of the computer can't change it, even if they're logged in to a different Google Account.

Learn more

Visit the Search Settings page at www.google.com/preferences.

Check the box next to “Filter explicit results”.

Hit the “save” button at the bottom of the page.

You can click “Lock SafeSearch” to help prevent others from changing your setting. You will be asked to enter your password.

Google Play

Add a password for in-app purchases

In the Google Play Store, users can require a password prompt before a purchase can be made.

Learn more

Open the Google Play Store app.

Touch Menu → Settings (depending on your device, your Menu icon may look different).

Under “User controls,” check the box next to Password – Use password to restrict purchases.

You’re all set! Now you’ll have to enter your password before making a purchase.

See more safety tools