How to Turn On or Lock Google SafeSearch or Turn Off SafeSearch

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This post is an explanation of how to activate or turn on Google SafeSearch, and how to deactivate or turn off Google SafeSearch. There are also steps to lock SafeSearch, some hints about what the problem might be if SafeSearch won’t turn off. SafeSearch is a feature of Google and is available anytime you are using Google to search the internet even if you are not using Chrome. I also provide information on SafeSearch on iPhone and SafeSearch on Android devices.

Google SafeSearch is an algorithm created by Google to filter objectionable or inappropriate content. It is widely used by search websites designed for children, also know as kid-friendly or kid-safe search sites. It filters both content and images that its algorithm deems to be inappropriate.

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How to Activate Google SafeSearch in Chrome (Shortcut)

The shortcut way to turn SafeSearch on or off is to go to Google.com and execute any query. Before you execute your query there is no menu available:

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But once you execute any query then the search bar moves from the middle of the screen to the top left and a menu appears under the search bar:

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Click on the “Settings” option on the right side of the menu. Once you click the Setting you will have a drop-down menu. If Google SafeSearch is already turned on you will have the option to turn it off and vice-versa. In the example below SafeSearch is on so I have the option to turn it off.

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Select this option to toggle between having Google SafeSearch active or inactive.

Note: If you are part of a group (i.e. family or organization) then the SafeSearch opton may be controlled by the group administrator. If the administrator has not granted you rights then you will not be able to toggle SafeSearch in either direction, on or off.

How to Activate Google SafeSearch in Chrome (Regular Menu Navigation)

Log in to your google account. In the upper right-hand corner of the screen in your browser click on your picture or initials in the round logo, like this:

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Click the “Manage Your Google Account” button. On the following screen there will be a menu on the left side of the browser Select the “Data and Personalization” menu option.

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Scroll down the screen that appears in the middle of your browser window until you come to the section that labeled “Google preferences for the web”. This section has at least 4 options. Select the option for “Search Settings”.

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This will bring you to this screen:

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By default, you should be on the first menu item labeled “Search Results”. If not select “Search Results”. There is a toggle to “Turn on SafeSearch”. If the box has a checkmark, then Google SafeSearch is turned on. If it does not have the checkmark, then it is not turned on. Select the box to turn on Google SafeSearch. Then scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Save” to save your settings.

If you want to Lock this feature, then click the link titled “Lock SafeSearch”. This will take you to this screen”

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From here you can return to the previous screen, Lock SafeSearch or cancel. If you select “Lock SafeSearch” then the SafeSearch features will be locked until they are unlocked. You could receive an error when attempting to “Lock SafeSearch” that would look something like this:

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One of the possible reasons you would receive this error would be if you do not have rights to change settings on your Google account. This might be the case if you are in a family or group account and you are not logged in as the administrator, or a business account where you are not the administrator.

If you are successful in locking SafeSearch on your Google account, you should receive a screen that looks like this:

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When this screen is first displayed the Google screen image is not displayed and there is a counter that goes from 0% to 100% as it locks all domains that your account is associated with. Once it reaches 100% it will complete with the above screen.

Information on Google.com website

Google designed the SafeSearch algorithm according to their standards which they describe as follows on their website:

How SafeSearch works

“When SafeSearch is on, it helps filter out explicit content in Google’s search results for all your queries across images, videos, and websites. While SafeSearch isn’t 100% accurate, it’s designed to help block explicit results, like pornography, from your Google search results. Learn more about how to stay safe online at safety.google.”

“When SafeSearch is off, we’ll provide the most relevant results for your search which may include explicit content when you search for it.”

“SafeSearch can be turned on for:

  • Personal accounts or browsers
  • Children’s supervised devices and accounts using the Family Link app
  • Workplace or school devices and networks”

“Learn more about Search & your child’s Google Account with the Family Link app and how to filter explicit results on your school, workplace, or home network.”

Note: SafeSearch only works on Google’s search results. It won’t prevent users on your network from finding explicit content through other search engines or by navigating directly to explicit sites.”

Google also provides instructions on how to activate Google SafeSearch for the following device types:

Other Helpful Links

The “Learn More” button for SafeSearch takes you to this screen.

On the Google support page, there is an article titled “How do I turn on and Lock Google SafeSearch?”

YouTube Instructional Videos

Here is a recent video on how to enable or disable SafeSearch in Google Chrome.

How to turn on SafeSearch on an Android device.

How to turn on SafeSearch in a Firefox browser. How to turn on SafeSearch on an Apple device. This video was produced in Australia. To access preferences in the video she has you go to google.com.au/preferences. If you simply remove the “.au” in the US and instead navigate to “google.com/preferences” it will work the same. The first half of the video is for Safari on an Apple device and the second half of the video addresses general Apple device restrictions that you can also set generally for the device.

About the Author:

Terry has been an entrepreneur in the IT industry for over30 years. Go here to read his complete personal story, “Husband, father, Grandfather and IT Executive.” If you want to send Terry a quick message visit the contact page Here.

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Terry Preece

Terry Preece

Husband, Father, Grandfather, and IT Executive

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