Digital Friday >>> Google Starts Initiative to Help Minors Control their Digital Footprints
Picture Credit: Brett Jordan
Google has faced multiple accusations concerning the level of personal information that they store and keep in their systems by former employees and even Harvard professors. However, Google is starting to take an initiative to make Google Search safer by installing features that will help people, especially minors, take down pictures of themselves or pictures revealing personal information on Google Search.
Google is currently rolling out a tool that will help minors and their parents remove any publicly available pictures from a search inquiry. The company commented in a blog post “We know that kids and teens have to navigate some unique challenges online, especially when a picture of them is unexpectedly available on the internet”.
This move comes at a time where companies like Google have been facing criticism over the lack of safety features on their sites which minors frequently operate on. However, Google is now striving to help younger users take more control of their online presence through this new feature and other upcoming initiatives. They commented that they “believe this change will help give young people more control over their digital footprint and where their images can be found on Search."
Picture Credit: Duncan Meyer
Google will have a team that will consider each separate request individually and take appropriate action accordingly. Google does, however, stress that using this new feature will not remove the image from the internet entirely, in order to do that individuals need to get in contact with the administrators of the site that the images were published on.
Nevertheless, it is still a very useful feature that will help minors navigate the internet with more confidence and safety. Many experts have applauded Google’s decision to finally implement this feature as it could potentially help cut down cyberbullying as well. David Monahan, campaign manager at Fairplay, which is a child advocacy group, commented "We're glad to see Google take this overdue step to give children and teens and their families more control over what images show up in search results”.
However, people such as David and many others around the world concerned with how their data is processed, are still pushing for further transparency and accessibility for users to decide what information they want present on the internet. Monahan comments “We hope Google will go farther to reverse its collection of sensitive data and give families the ability to erase the digital footprint that Google and its partners maintain on every young person in the US."
October 29th 2021 | 12:00 PM