Google follows Facebook and Apple with new child safety tools for its apps
NEW DELHI: After Apple and Facebook, Google has now introduced new child safety features on its platforms. While Facebook has changed its advertising algorithms and Apple will use automated tools to search for child pornography (CSAM), Google’s changes are more prevalent, including changes to its policies. The company will limit the advertising capabilities of those targeting children, and will also make changes to its products to limit children’s exposure to explicit content, etc. Most of Google’s new policies will go into effect in the “next few weeks,” although Google has not. share an exact timeline for the same.
The company said it will now allow anyone under the age of 18, or their parents / guardians, to request that their images be removed from Google Image results. “Of course, removing an image from search doesn’t remove it from the web, but we believe this change will help young people have more control over their images online,” noted Mindy Brooks, Executive Director, Children and Families at Google, in a blog post.
The company is also making changes to YouTube, search, Google Assistant, Google Play Store, and location histories on your Google account. It will set the default upload setting for videos on YouTube to private for users ages 13-17, and “highlight” digital wellness features, which require users to cut down on their time. screen.
YouTube will also provide “safeguards and education” on commercial content, and Google will turn off autoplay for children. This allows YouTube videos to continue playing continuously, switching between videos, based on algorithmic recommendations. Children under 18 receive reminders to take a break and for bedtime when spending time on YouTube.
Google Search will enable SafeSearch by default for users under the age of 18, provided they are signed in to their Google Account. This feature filters out explicit content that may appear when certain items are searched. It will also be applied to Google Assistant and Google Workspace accounts for K-12 institutions.
Google will stop allowing children under the age of 18 to turn on location history on their devices, as long as they have supervised accounts. This allows parents to add a child account under their account, giving them a level of control over the child’s online activity. The company does not allow children who have such accounts to turn on location history, a feature that allows Google to track virtually any place you visit for advertising purposes.
To top off the changes to Google’s apps, a new section on security, which Google announced last week. This is similar to Apple’s application transparency protocols and requires application developers to disclose the type of user data they access and use.
Like Facebook, Google also limits the type of advertising activity that can be performed using data from children’s accounts. The company said it would block the targeting of ads based on the age, gender or interests of people under the age of 18, in a somewhat different way from Facebook’s approach, which only allows l ‘use of age, gender and location data for advertisers who target children on its platform. The blog post said these changes will come in the “coming months.”
Child safety protocols are expected to be a key part of India’s upcoming Personal Data Protection Bill (PDP). The bill seen in 2019 sets the age of consent for children at 18 and requires companies to look after the interests of children. However, tech companies opposed it.
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