What is Google SafeSearch? How to configure and use

  • Google SafeSearch filters harmful or inappropriate content from search results.
  • You can enable Google SafeSearch by going to Google search settings.
  • Make sure you’re signed in to your Google Account to save your changes.

It is easy to find content on the Internet that is educational and thought-provoking. On the other hand, it is equally easy to find explicit or explicit content, especially for children.

That’s why Google’s SafeSearch feature lets you filter search results that you might not want yourself or your kids to see.

Here’s everything you need to know about Google’s SafeSearch feature, including how to turn it on and off on any device.

What is Google SafeSearch?

Google SafeSearch is an automated filter used by parents, workplaces and schools to prevent Google results from displaying harmful content such as pornographic or violent images, videos and websites. When enabled, both Google Search and Google Image Search will have the SafeSearch filter applied.

The feature is automatically enabled for all accounts owned by a user aged 12 and under. If you are a parent using Google’s Family Link app, the feature can only be turned off by you, not your children. Administrators of a school or workplace network can keep Google SafeSearch permanently enabled by mapping domains to forcesafesearch.google.com, although Google recommends that a tech-savvy person handle this process.

To learn more about blocking SafeSearch on your devices, visit this Google Search help page.

How to enable Google SafeSearch

While your screen may look slightly different from the screenshots below, depending on the browser or device you are using, the steps should be similar. Just navigate to your settings.

on the desktop

1. Sign in to your Google Account and go to the Google home page.

two. In the lower right corner, click Definitionsthen search settings.

Google home with search settings highlighted

Make sure you’re signed in to ensure changes are saved to your Google Account on all devices.

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3. Underneath SafeSearch Filtersclick on the box next to Activate SafeSearch.

Search settings page with Enable SafeSearch highlighted

Make sure to scroll down and click save to apply the changes.

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4. Click save  to confirm your changes.

On mobile

1. Open your mobile browser and go to SafeSearch settings.

two. Turn on the Explicit results filter clicking the toggle button to the “on” position.

SafeSearch settings page with explicit results filter toggle highlighted

You will see a confirmation message at the bottom of the page.

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3. When finished, tap Back to go to the Google homepage.

SafeSearch Troubleshooting

There are some common fixes for any Google SafeSearch difficulty:

SafeSearch keeps activating

If this happens, it could be because SafeSearch is configured and blocked by your account, your device, or even a network administrator. To check this, go to SafeSearch settings and see if there is a padlock in the upper right corner with information about how SafeSearch is managed. If SafeSearch is not blocked, make sure you are logged into your Google account to ensure your saved SafeSearch settings are applied.

SafeSearch is enabled, but explicit results still appear

SafeSearch is designed to filter explicit results, but no filter is 100% accurate. If explicit results still appear even with SafeSearch turned on, please report it to Google.

SafeSearch keeps disabling

As long as you allow cookies (internet type, not chocolate), your saved SafeSearch settings will remain the same. Deleting your cookies or logging out of your Google account may reset your SafeSearch settings.

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