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Google Making a Safer Internet for Kids
By: Jessica Cherok
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For parents of young children, the Internet can be a scary place. In order to keep the wee ones safe from what dangers may be lurking online, Google has been developing kid-friendly versions of some of its services.

Google wants to make its search site and YouTube safer for children to use. Though not available yet, Google is working toward making search returns more relevant to certain ages, rather than what adults would normally get. This way, children would get age-appropriate information, as well as potentially avoid adult-oriented content.

Most children already access online content at home or at school as an important part of their learning and development. How to keep children safe, without sacrificing innovation and openness, has been key.

According to Google’s Pavni Diwanji, VP of engineering, the new push has been related to age and the family stature of Google employees. "The big motivator inside the company is everyone is having kids, so there's a push to change our products to be fun and safe for children.” 

Google may face an uphill battle when targeting children under the age of 13. This age group is protected by the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which limits the amount of information that can be collected on children under the age of 13. In order to collect data on the age group, parental consent must be obtained prior to collection. The disclosures, and consent, can be cumbersome, leading to many tech companies avoiding under 13 altogether.

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About the Author
Jessica Cherok is an advocate for online privacy, campaigning for ethical data practices and the protection of personal privacy.
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