Occasionally Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, or YouTube searches will display inappropriate content. Your Circle device can require that Safe Search or YouTube Restricted Mode is turned on for a family member and the devices that they use. You can do so by enabling these features under a family member's profile Filter Settings.
This article describes what Safe Search or Restricted Mode are, how they work, and how to make sure Circle enables Safe Search or Restricted Mode.
What are Safe Search and Restricted Mode?
Safe Search is a filtering option from Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo that "blocks explicit images, videos, and websites" from search results. This feature is managed by the companies that provide it (Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo respectively).
YouTube Restricted Mode is similar and "filters potentially objectionable content" from YouTube search results. It is managed by YouTube. All of these services rely on community input to help with their filtering.
How to enable Safe Search or YouTube Restricted Mode
- Open the Circle app and select a family member.
- Tap Filter in their profile settings.
- Find the Privacy & Safety section. It is at the top for Circle Parental Controls (v2) and at the bottom for Circle 1st generation (v1).
- Tap the Safe Search or YouTube Restricted Mode button to toggle it "On". Here's what it looks like in the Circle Parental Controls app (v2).
- Tap OK on the alert about Yahoo search.
- Press the Save button.
How Safe Search and YouTube Restricted mode work
Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, and YouTube do not share publicly all the details about how Safe Search or Restricted Mode work, and it is no doubt something under constant construction.
It is very likely that these services rely heavily on algorithms (specially designed computer programs) to filter out content. No algorithm is perfect, and occasionally inappropriate material will not be filtered out. Your Circle device is another layer against objectionable content coming through, but it does not control what Safe Search or Restricted Mode filters.
How do I report inappropriate content?
If an inappropriate site or image appears in your searches while Safe Search is enabled, you can report this to make sure that Safe Search providers are aware of the problem.
- For issues with Google Safe Search, follow the instructions here to report it.
- For issues with Bing's safe search feature, use this link.
- If an inappropriate video appears in your YouTube search while Restricted Mode is enabled, follow the instructions here to report it.
Troubleshooting Issues with SafeSearch or Restricted Mode
To make sure a device has SafeSearch or Restricted Mode enforced it needs to meet the following requirements:
- Managed by the Circle device and on the home network, or has the kid app VPN installed.
- Assigned to a profile with a Filter Level of Adult, Teen, or Kid.
- SafeSearch or Restricted Mode is turned ON for the Filter Settings (on by default for Kid Filter Level).
How do I know SafeSearch is being enforced?
- Open your web browser.
- Go to Google.com/preferences.
- As long as your device meets the requirements above you should see that SafeSearch is turned on as in the screen below or on mobile devices see that "SafeSearch Filters" is set to "Filter explicit results".
Here is how you can test if SafeSearch enforcement is working.
- Check the box to turn OFF SafeSearch at Google.com/preferences.
- Save your change.
- Refresh the Google.com/preferences page to reload it.
- If the SafeSearch setting is still checked after refreshing the page, Circle is working correctly to enforce that setting. If it is not checked, make sure your device meets the requirements above, or use the link below for Circle not filtering a device correctly.
More Helpful Links
- Inappropriate Sites Appear in My Search Results
- Filter Popular Apps, Websites, or Categories
- Circle Isn't Filtering My Device Correctly!