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Google's new update to Protect Children Online

 Currently, the number of children involved in online activities are increasing by the day. With online classes and other activities, cyberspace is the new learning space for the kids. It is extremely important to provide a safe digital space for the children. Google is all set to launch a new set of updates to ensure online safety for children under the age of 18. 


What are the New Updates?


The new updates focus on protecting the minor users of Google. They are working on multiple fronts to keep the online space safe. The key points of the update includes giving more control over the digital footprints, changes in advertising and digital well-being tools. 


The new update aims to give more control to the minors over their digital footprints. It allows the children or their guardians to request removal of their images from Google search results. It will reduce the online exposure of the children below 18. 


The location history of all those below 18 be will be turned off by default and it cannot be turned on without the supervision of the parents or guardian. Google search will also have the ‘safe search’ feature by default. It will remove any explicit results while searching. The Google Assistant will also have ‘default protections’ for the minors. 


13 is the minimum age limit to create your own Google account. The Youtube videos uploaded by the people above the age of 13 and below 18 will be by default posted in the private mode. Google also said that it will remove the “overly commercial content” from Youtube Kids. Google will also prevent age sensitive advertisements from being displayed to children and teenagers. The personalized advertisements based on age, gender and interests will be blocked. However, advertisements based on the context, such as the person’s search request are still allowed. 


In order to ensure digital well-being the content can be filtered out . It allows people to block access to news, webpages, podcasts on devices, using the filters on the Family Link app. The Family Link app lets parents set rules in order to ensure safe online learning, playing or searching space for their children. 


After a lot of criticism of the tech companies alleging that they were not doing enough to protect children, there was pressure on these companies to take up steps to ensure protection. Previously, in 2019, Google had to pay a fine of 170 million dollars for violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) for collecting data from the minor users without parental consent. 


Google has emphasised that its objective is to work with “kids and teens, parents, governments, industry leaders, and experts in the field of privacy, child safety, wellbeing, and education to design better, safer products for the kids and teens.”