Google has introduced controls to its Chrome web browser which allow parents to monitor and control the browsing behavior of their children. The new feature, called "supervised users", allows "managers" to set up profiles of the people they want to monitor. Managers can view the supervised users' browsing history, block specific sites and approve access requests. The feature is available on Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems. It is also available to Chromebook users.
But Google says the default setting is to allow a newly created supervised user to view all websites, managers have to specify what sites they want to block. SafeSearch is activated automatically for supervised users, preventing most adult content from appearing in Google search results. The move comes after growing concerns over inappropriate content children can be exposed to online. Other browsers, including Microsoft's Internet Explorer, offer content controls that can be set by an administrator.
Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system enables users to set up a "Kid's Corner" section on the phone that only allows access to specified games, music, videos and apps. Kids are unable to access disallowed websites. A recent survey found that many youngsters aged nine to 11 were engaging in risky behavior online, such as sharing personal information and playing games rated for much older children, including the 18-rated Call of Duty series.
ISC2, an organisation which helps schools educate children about web safety, also found that 43% of youngsters went online every day and 46% spent more than two hours online every time they did so. Another survey, by the Anti-Bullying Alliance, found that 69% of teachers and 40% of young people thought online safety should be taught in more schools and included in the national curriculum.