Family safety basics

For busy parents, here are some quick suggestions for how to help keep your family safe online.

  1. Talk with your family about online safety. Be clear about your family’s rules and expectations around technology, and consequences for inappropriate use. And most importantly, make sure they feel comfortable enough to ask for guidance when they encounter tough decisions. This can help your family feel safe exploring the Internet on their own, and to know who to turn to—you—when they have questions.
  2. Use technology together. It’s a good way to teach online safety, and it creates opportunities for you to address online safety topics with your family as they come up.
  3. Discuss online services and sites. Talk with your family about what kinds of sites they like to visit and what is appropriate for each family member.
  4. Protect passwords. Help your family learn how to set secure passwords online. Remind your family not to give out their passwords, except maybe to trusted adults, like a parent. Make sure they make a habit of signing out of their online accounts when they are on public computers at school, in a café or at the library.
  5. Use privacy settings and sharing controls. There are many sites for sharing thoughts, photos, videos, status updates and more. Many of these services offer privacy settings and controls that help you decide who can see your content before you post it. Talk with your family about what they should and shouldn’t share publicly. Help them respect the privacy of others by keeping the personal details about family or friends private, and by not identifying people by name in publicly shared content.
  6. Check age restrictions: Many online services - including Google - have age limits restricting who can use their services. For example, you have to meet age requirements to have a Google account, and some Google products are restricted to users 18 and older. Always check a website’s terms of use before allowing your child to sign up for an account, and be clear with your kids if you have family rules about which sites and services they can use.
  7. Teach your family to communicate responsibly. Here’s a good rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t text it, email it, instant-message it, or post it as a comment on someone’s page. Talk about how what you say online might make other people feel, and come up with family guidelines about what kind of communication is appropriate.
  8. Talk to other adults. Open the conversation to your friends, extended family, teachers, coaches and counselors. Other parents and professionals who work with children can be a great resource to help you decide what feels right for your family, especially if you’re dealing with an area of technology that you are unfamiliar with.
  9. Protect your computer and identity. Use antivirus software and update it regularly, unless you have a Chromebook, which doesn't need antivirus software. Talk with your family about the types of personal information – like a social security number, phone number or home address – that should not be posted online. Teach your family not to accept files or to open email attachments from unknown people.
  10. Keep it going. Staying safe isn’t a one-time thing—technology evolves, and so will the needs of your family. Make sure you keep up an ongoing dialogue. Re-establish your family’s ground rules, check in on everyone’s progress, and set aside time to talk at regular intervals.

Safety tools

Discover the Top 5 Google safety features designed to help you keep your family safe online.

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.

Chrome

Supervise users on shared Chromebooks

You can't always be there to supervise your family's Web activity. For the times you're not in the room with them, there's Supervised User for Google Chrome. When this feature is enabled, you can review a history of pages the user have visited, allow or block certain sites, and manage which websites that your family member can view.

Learn more

To set up a supervised user on your Chromebook, start on the main sign-in screen and click Add user.

On the right hand side of the screen, select Create a supervised user.

Click Create a supervised user.

Log in to the account that will manage the supervised user and click Next.

Select a username, password, and picture for the supervised user. Click Next.

Android

Limit access to just approved apps and games

Want to share your tablet without sharing all your stuff? On Android tablets running 4.3 and higher, you can create restricted profiles that limit the access that other users have to features and content on your tablet.

Learn more

If you’re the tablet owner, touch Settings → Users → Add user or profile.

Touch Restricted profile then New profile to name the profile.

Use the ON/OFF toggles and Settings to grant access to features, settings and apps.

Press the Power button to return to the lock screen, then touch the new profile icon.

Once it's all set up, the Home screen is empty. Touch the All Apps icon to get started with the new profile.

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.

See more safety tools