How to block inappropriate content

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If you're worried about your kids encountering inappropriate content online, you can breathe easy—there are simple steps you can take to block, filter, and monitor what they see. 

Use built-in controls on your child’s devices.

The first step in blocking inappropriate and mature content is to use the build-in controls on different devices. 

  • Apple Mac OS and iOS devices let you use Screen Time to block certain types of downloads, apps, and even limit communication with contacts. If everyone in your family uses iCloud, you can also share your location with each other.
  • Android devices allow you to set app restrictions in the Google Play Store, and you can also opt to install the Google Family Link app for more.
  • Microsoft Windows computers include a Family app let you customize guidelines around device usage, spending, screen time, and more.
  • Chromebook parental controls are administered through the same Google Family Link app that's available for Android phones.

Use SafeSearch.

Next, you can turn on SafeSearch across your child's preferred search engines. This will help to block adult content that might appear during an otherwise innocent search. (Note that it just works for search engines and web content, and won’t stop your kids from downloading content in the app store.)

SafeSearch settings are available for Google Search, Bing, YouTube, and even Google Maps. You can turn on this blocker in your kids' Google or Bing accounts. 

Install an additional parental control app.

Some families are content with the level of safeguards built into their kids' devices, while others want to get more granular control.

To customize content restrictions and online activities further, you'll need a special parental control app. These apps let you easily do things like:

  • Block websites and apps
  • Turn on and off internet access by user or device
  • Restrict harmful content
  • Set time limits on internet or app use
  • Monitor in-game conversations for signs of cyberbullying

Some services bundle parental controls with additional safety features like identity theft protection and a VPN, too. 

Filter content at the ISP or router level.

You can actually block inappropriate websites at the WiFi router or internet service provider (ISP) level, too. The catch is that the content filtering will apply to every family member using your internet connection, not just the kids. 

Router manuals contain information on how to block specific websites—you typically need the router, your IP address, and a web browser to get started. 

To set up block adult websites or configure parental controls at the ISP level, you'll need to get in touch with your internet company.

Customize kids' social media settings.

TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, and Reddit all have parental controls to help limit explicit content—though it's important to know that your teen can easily bypass some of these on Reddit by logging out of their account. (BeReal has no parental control options at all.)


Set up profiles on streaming services.

Popular streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, Disney+, and Hulu all allow users to designate specific profiles for kids. This way, you don't have to worry about your movie choices impacting the suggested content your kids see when they just want to watch Bluey. (After all, wouldn't have been kind of weird if your mom's soap operas came up on the TV each time you wanted to watch Reading Rainbow?)

While these are just a few of the core steps you can take to filter the content your kids see, there's more you can do. Our complete guide to blocking inappropriate content includes additional steps to help you create online experiences that are right for your family at every stage.

You can work with your kids to improve their algorithms by blocking specific accounts and reporting that they're not interested in certain types of content or popular hashtags in their feed. 

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