Apple and Google ring in changes so kids and teens are safer online

PHOTO: Unsplash

Apple and Google have recognised the additional need to help parents keep their children safe online. Specifically, this revolves around images of children online.

Apple reaches into iCloud

Alerts will be sent if the content is deemed unsafe.
PHOTO: Apple.

In an online announcement, Apple said that they had worked with child safety experts to implement new child safety features in three areas and will be rolled out later this year in updates to iOS 15, iPadOS 15, watchOS 8, and macOS Monterey. These are:

  • New communication tools will enable parents to play a more informed role in helping their children navigate communication online. The Messages app will use on-device machine learning to warn about sensitive content, while keeping private communications unreadable by Apple.
  • iOS and iPadOS will use new applications of cryptography to help limit the spread of Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) online by detecting such images stored in iCloud Photos.
  • Updates to Siri and Search provide parents and children expanded information and help if they encounter unsafe situations. Siri and Search will also intervene when users try to search for CSAM-related topics.

ALSO READ: Apple's child protection features spark concern of exploitation, even within its own ranks: Sources

Google will start by making image removal easier

Family Link has some safety features parents can enable for their kids. Image courtesy of Google.
PHOTO: Google

Google said they were introducing a series of changes for users under the age of 18 that will be rolled out over the coming weeks and months. Some of the changes are:

  • The first to come will be a new policy that enables anyone under the age of 18, or their parent or guardian, to request the removal of their images from Google Image results .
  • Google cautioned that this wouldn’t completely remove it from the Internet but they believed that this would help give young people more control of their images online.
  • Next, Google will change the default upload setting in YouTube to the most private option available for teens ages 13-17. In addition, we’ll more prominently surface digital wellbeing features, and provide safeguards and education about commercial content.
  • In the coming months, Google will turn SafeSearch on for all users under 18 and make this the default setting for teens setting up new accounts. SafeSearch, which helps filter out explicit results when enabled is currently only on by default for all signed-in users under 13 who have accounts managed by Family Link. SafeSearch will also be turned on for searches done using Google Assistant web browsers on smart displays.
  • Location History will remain off without the option to turn it on for the accounts of all users under the age of 18.
  • In the Play Store, Apps will be required to disclose how they use the data they collect in greater detail, making it easier for parents to decide if the app is right for their child before they download it.

ALSO READ: Google restricts ad targeting of under-18s

This article was first published in Hardware Zone.