Parent Guidebook on Protecting Children Online




Internet and electronic devices are natural and integral parts of life for contemporary children. While this is by no means a bad thing, with digital skills being essential for success, at the same time, the internet also contains content that is inappropriate for children.


Whatever position you might have on letting children use internet and electronic devices, we believe that parents should at least know how to protect their children online.




Fortunately, most electronic devices and online platforms have built-in safety features that reduce the risk of children accessing inappropriate online content.

IDFI’s guidebook features the description of these functions for the most popular devices (Windows 7 and 10, Android, iPhone, iPad) and platforms (Google, Youtube and Facebook).


Google SafeSearch

Children use Google to search for all sorts of information. While doing so, they may encounter inappropriate content. To avoid this, it is preferable for parents to activate Google’s SafeSearch function, which automatically filters harmful information.


To activate the function:

If you use more than one browser, you have to activate the function for each browser separately. Also, if several users, including your child, are registered on your computer, the function should be activated from each user. After activating the function, you will receive a notification in your browser window. 


Activation of SafeSearch does not provide 100 percent protection, however, it significantly minimizes the risk of children accessing harmful online content.


How to use SafeSearch on Android platforms?

In case of Google app:

1. Open the app 

2. Select Menu  Settings > Accounts & Privacy

3. Switch the SafeSearch filter “On”.


In case of telephone browser:

1. Open Search Settings

2. Find the section “SafeSearch filters“

3. Click on “Filter explicit results“

4. Click on “Save“.


In case of tablet browser:

1. Open Search Settings

2. Find the section “SafeSearch filters“

3. Click on “Filter explicit results“

4. Click on “Save“.


In case of Android television:

1. Open Settings from start menu

2. Find the section “Preferences“ and select “Search”  > SafeSearch filter

3. Click on “On“.


SafeSearch in case of Google Play:


For children under 13:


Officially, an adult should be at least 13 years old to create a Google account. If you create a personal Google account for your child under 13, you should activate restrictions for his/her account from your Google account. To do this:


1. Open the Family Link 

2. Select your child’s account

3. Select Manage Settings in Settings > Controls on Google Play

4. Indicate the type of content you want to filter

5. Select the type of filter or restriction


For family members over 13:


1. Open Play Store 

2. Select menu in the upper left corner > Settings > Parental Controls

3. Click on “On“

4. Enter a PIN code, in order for the child not to be able to change the settings

5. Select the type of content you want to restrict out of the options shown on the screen

6. Select the type of restriction or filter.

YouTube Safe Search System

YouTube is the most popular video portal in the world. There are approximately 400 hours of content uploaded to YouTube each minute. Despite the fact that YouTube administration tries to restrict videos depicting violence and pornography, you still encounter videos containing hate speech and aggressive opinions.

The best way to avoid this threat is to activate Safety Mode on all devices your child uses to watch YouTube. Safety Mode filters the content that is inappropriate for children.


Activation of YouTube’s Safe Search for Personal Computers, and IOS and Android Apps

An alternative to the Safe Search function is to use the YouTube Kids app.

YouTube Kids has a simple interface and filters kids’ videos. The app is full of various cartoons, however, it still contains parodies and content with some violence. YouTube Kids is only an app and does not have a browser version.


In order to make YouTube Kids absolutely safe, open it, select “Home screen age level”, and indicate the audience: whether it is a child of any age, preschool or school age.  




Activation of YouTube Safe Search System on iPhone and iPod Touch


If your child uses iPhone or iPod Touch, you can activate safe search system on these devices. These devices have a YouTube app, however, safe search function is not available on it. You will be able to activate this function only in case your child uses YouTube from a browser.


Activation of YouTube Safe Search on iPad/iPad Mini


Safe Search can be activated on the iPad only if your child watches YouTube from a browser. To do this:  

Activation of Safe Search of the YouTube App on Android


No matter what device you are using, whether smartphone or tablet, steps for activation of safe search are the same. To activate: 

Facebook Safe Mode System

Facebook is not a fully adjusted to children’s needs. For this reason, the minimum age to create a Facebook account is 13. Facebook does not have functions to filter content or any other parental controls. In addition, Facebook friends significantly determine the content that is displayed in each user’s news feed.


Considering these factors, parents are advised to regulate security settings of their child’s Facebook account instead. IDFI prepared a separate guidebook on how to do this.

Activation of Safety Mode on Windows 7

Apart from online platforms, computer devices, including personal computers, smartphones and tablets, also have in-built safety functions. This function helps you control how much time your child uses a device and his/her access to particular games and programs. In case of Windows 7, to activate safety mode:

Additional Control Mechanisms 

Windows 7 does not have a web filter (unlike Windows Vista). If you want to have additional control mechanisms, for instance, web filter, filtering irrelevant content and Activity Reports, you can install Windows Live Family Safety. You will be able to limit access to particular websites, as well as get reports about the websites your child visited.

It is possible to see activity reports distantly (for instance, from a computer at your workplace). Also, you can distantly make changes to settings. For this purpose, select “Activity reporting” and make relevant changes.




Activation of Safety Mode on Windows 10

Microsoft offers “Family Security Settings” on Windows 10. This function enables parents to create an account for their child, restrict his/her access to particular content and set time limits on a device. To activate:

The system will request from you to create an email account for your child. Indicate details in relevant fields and add a telephone number for security reasons.


To change settings of an account, click on “Manage family settings online” under the newly created account. It will redirect you to the Microsoft website, with a list of accounts of your family members. On the right side of each account there is a list, from which you can check activities, expenses, time spent at the computer, etc. Also, clicking the “More” button enables you to open a web browser filter.  


The web browser filter will protect your child from inappropriate websites and content. It enables you to create a list of permitted websites, as well as prohibited websites. It also filters the content your child encounters on Windows store (Windows online shop). You can indicate a specific age, and content will be filtered based on this age through the filter.


“Screen Time” is a useful function as well. It helps you control how much time you child uses the computer during the day. You can set specific time limits for when your child is allowed to use the computer. 


Activation of Safety Mode on Android Devices

This mode works on Android 5.0 (or following versions) (in case of iPad 4.3 or following versions).


The user interface on different versions of Android is not identical, meaning that the setting button may be located in different places. However, the process to activate safety mode is the same. The first step is to find User Settings.

Activation of Parental Controls on iPhone and iPad

To activate parental controls on iPhone/iPad:

See the Full Guidebook