Safe Search Solutions: Foundations of Blocking Porn
Safe search is used to filter out pornographic content across all types of searches and is available on many of the popular search engines. It won’t be your only tool, but it will help lay the foundation for many of the other steps in cutting pornography out of your life.
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Google Safe Search
Google is the default search engine for most browsers and also one of the friendliest solutions for setting up safe search. Google also provides a relatively simple solution to manage other accounts’ safe search settings.
Managing Google Safe Search Settings
Turning on Google’s safe search is quick and easy.
On a PC, Mac, or Chromebook:
- Open Google’s home page in the browser.
- Click settings.
- Click Search Settings.
- Then check the box that says “Turn on SafeSearch.”
- Finally, click save at the bottom of the page.
- Open Google’s home page in the browser.
- Tap the hamburger menu (three line icon in the top left).
- Tap Settings.
- Under SafeSearch filters tap “Hide explicit results”
- Finally, tap save at the bottom of the page.
If this were all you did, it would be easy to defeat. It’s a much better idea to setup a family account that you can manage in order to lock safe search filters. Family settings will be covered in more detail in the Operating Systems portion of this series.
Do you believe you have an online pornography addiction? Take this free Cyber Pornography Addiction Test (CYPAT) and have the results to speak with your therapist.
Owned by Microsoft, Bing is the second most popular search engine and is the default search provider for Microsoft’s Edge browser, which is the default browser on Microsoft’s Windows.
As with Google, it makes sense to create an account with Microsoft to manage search settings. Microsoft accounts can be through Microsoft’s own Outlook.com or using third-party email addresses like Gmail.
To turn on Safe Search on Bing, simply go to Search Settings.
As with Google, you can create a family group and manage permissions here. You and your family members will all need Microsoft accounts. You can also control access to programs on Microsoft Windows computers and purchases in the Microsoft store using these settings.
Other Search Engines
Some other search engines also have safe search features, but none offer the same reach or level of control as Google or Microsoft.
In order of popularity1:
- Baidu. Baidu is the third most popular search engine in the world and is strictly in Mandarin. It does not appear to offer safe search filters nor an English translation. Google’s Chrome browser will, however, translate the page automatically if you’re trying to find results more relevant to China than the US or elsewhere.
- Fourth most popular search engine, Yahoo, does a fair job of trying to match Google and Bing’s safe search capabilities. Yahoo Search Preferences
- Ask.com, the fifth most popular, doesn’t offer safe search, but does curate all results. May not be appropriate for the youngest eyes.
- The sixth most popular search engine, DuckDuckGo, does offer safe search. However, there is no way to log in to an account and lock that setting. Forcing browsers to go to https://safe.duckduckgo.com will enforce safe search, and will be discussed later in the series.
Kid Safe Search Engines
Here are a few alternatives just for kids! These are all built with Google as the search provider and using safe search best practices. I’ll cover switching the default search engine in future posts.
Whether you’re setting up safe search for your children or your partner, it’s best to have a discussion about why before taking any action. If you’re trying to set up safe search for yourself to block pornography, it’s best to have someone you trust be your “family manager.”
Safe Search can be an effective part of your strategy for blocking pornography, but isn’t really a complete solution. Start here, and if you need more help removing temptation check out some of the other solutions in the series.
Do you feel your sexual behavior, or that of someone you love, is out of control? Consult with a professional.
Have you found yourself in legal trouble due to your sexual behavior? Seek assistance before the court mandates it, with Sexual Addiction Treatment Services.