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How to Add Parental Controls to Google Images

by Victoria Georgoff, studioD

Whether you have a young child who just being introduced to the world of the Internet, or a teen wizard who is growing more tech savvy every day, you want to protect you child from violent and pornographic material. SafeSearch is Google’s parental control feature, which creates a blanket filter to eliminate -- as much as possible -- explicit content from all Google searches, including Google images. With just a few clicks, you can have a little more peace of mind that an unwanted image won’t pop up as your child completes his homework.

Enabling SafeSearch via Google Images Results Page

Open Google in your web browser and click "Images," located along the top of the screen.

Conduct a random search in Google images such as "cat."

When the results page appears, an icon titled "SafeSearch" appears to the right of the search bar. Click the "SafeSearch" icon to bring up a drop down menu.

Click “Filter Explicit Results” from the drop down menu to enable SafeSearch. The icon next to the search bar will now say "SafeSearch On."

To lock SafeSearch, and prevent it from being disabled by your child, sign in to your Google account. If you do not have a Google account, onscreen prompts will guide you through creating one. Once in your account, click “Lock SafeSearch.” This will take a few moments as Google applies the filter.

A confirmation page will appear, letting you know you have enabled and locked SafeSearch. The top of the search page will also now read “SafeSearch is Locked” and four colored balls appear on the screen near the search bar, the design stays present to let you see with a glance that SafeSearch is enabled.

Enabling SafeSearch Via the Options Icon

Open Google in your web browser.

Conduct a random search, such as "cat."

An options icon -- shaped like a cog -- will appear to the right of the search bar. Click it to reveal a drop down menu.

Select “Search Settings,” this will take you to a page you can customize.

Check the box titled “Filter Explicit Results,” which will turn on SafeSearch.

Click "Save" to keep your selection. Be sure to lock SafeSearch using the same method outlined above.

Items you will need
  •  Computer
  •  Google account


  • If your family uses more than one browser on the computer, the lock needs to be set on each browser.
  • If there is more than one user on a shared computer, the locks also need to be set on each user profile.
  • Set your browser to allow cookies for the lock to work properly.
  • If you are using Safari for the browser, you might need to change the settings to enable third-party cookies for the lock to function.


  • No parental lock or application is foolproof. It is possible for an explicit image or other adult content to make it through SafeSearch.

About the Author

Victoria Georgoff has been writing professionally since 2007. Her articles have appeared in "The Journal of Sexual Medicine" and "The Encyclopedia of Sex & Society." A dually-licensed mental health counselor, with additional EMDR certification, Georgoff specializes in writing about parenting, education, sexual health and psychology, but also writes prolifically on many other topics. Georgoff holds an Master of Arts in counseling from Valparaiso University.

Photo Credits

  • BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images