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In today's digital age, children are exposed to a huge amount of content through their smartphones, including explicit or inappropriate images. As a concerned parent or carer, it's essential to take proactive steps to protect your child from stumbling upon or being sent nude photos on their smartphone. 

Implementing effective controls outlined below can create a safer online environment. 

How to block nude photos from your child's iPhone

One important addition Apple introduced in the latest iOS 17 update is 'Sensitive Content Warnings,' a feature designed to protect users from unwanted content, such as unsolicited explicit images. 

Using on-device machine learning, it analyses and blocks potentially inappropriate photos and videos. While these warnings are initially turned off, activating them is a straightforward process.

How to block nude photos from your child's iPhone

Update the Privacy and Security settings to turn on Sensitive Content Warning

The Sensitive Content Warning stops you or your child from getting unwanted nude photos or videos on your Apple device.

If Sensitive Content Warning sees a photo or video with possible nudity, it blurs the image, warns about sensitive content and suggests ways to get help.

How to turn on Sensitive Content Warning on an iPhone

If you have physical access to your child's iPhone, use the following steps.

  1. Open the Settings on your child’s iPhone. Make sure their phone has been updated to iOS 17. 
  2. Scroll down to Privacy & Security.
  3. Tap on Sensitive Content Warning near the bottom and switch the toggle on.

Sensitive content will now be blurred across Messages, AirDrop and Video (FaceTime) messages.

When a nude image is sent, a warning will appear saying that the photo could be sensitive. The message will offer ways to get help.

1. Open the Settings on your child’s iPhone. Make sure their phone has been updated to iOS 17. 2. Scroll down to Privacy & Security.

Learn about Communication Safety on your child's iPhone

If you're unable to access your child's iPhone directly, you can turn on Communication Safety, a feature designed to prevent your child from accessing or sharing photos or videos containing nudity. Communication Safety is accessible through the Family Sharing feature, which allows adults in the family to oversee the devices of children under 18.

How to turn on Communication Safety in Screen Time Settings

  1. On your iPhone, go to Settings and scroll down to Screen Time.
  2. Tap the name of the child in your family group. If you can't see a name, you will need to create a Family Sharing group.
  3. Turn Communication Safety on. You may need to enter the Screen Time passcode for the device. 

Please keep in mind, while parental controls offer support, they aren't entirely foolproof. It is essential to educate your children about the risks of sharing explicit content such as nudes online.

1. On your iPhone, go to Settings and scroll down to Screen Time. 2. Tap the name of the child in your family group. If you can't see a name, you will need to create a Family Sharing group.

Using Parental Controls on Android Devices

Android devices also provide parental control features that allow you to restrict and filter content, including blocking explicit or mature content on your child's device. The specific steps and features may vary depending on the Android version and the device manufacturer as different Android devices often come with customised interfaces.

Read the advice below on how to set up content filtering on your child’s Android device.

Set-up Parental Controls on Google Play App

Enabling parental controls on an Android device allows you to limit the content that can be downloaded or bought from Google Play app, depending on its maturity level. It's important to note that purchase approval settings only apply to transactions made through Google Play's billing system.

  1. Open the Google Play app.
  2. Tap the profile icon on the top right-hand side.
  3. Tap Settings, then Family and then Parental controls.
Set up parental controls - Settings

4. Turn on Parental controls.

5. To protect parental controls, you will create a four-digit PIN which your child doesn't know.

 Set up parental controls - Create PIN

6. Select the type of content you want to filter and then choose how to filter or restrict access. You will be able to set restrictions for:

  • Apps and games
  • Films
  • TV 
  • Books 
Set up parental controls - Filter Content

For example, on Apps and games, the various Pan European Game Information (PEGI) age ratings are visible - the content icons are there to help you decide what games are suitable for your child.

The content of games with a PEGI 3 rating is considered suitable for all age groups.

Parental controls only apply to the Android device you added them on. To put parental controls on another device, repeat the steps above on the other devices.

Set up parental controls - PEGI Ratings

Filter or blur explicit search results with Google SafeSearch

SafeSearch is a feature that can be enabled on Google Search results to restrict or blur explicit or inappropriate content in search results.

SafeSearch is designed to provide a safer browsing experience, especially for users such as children as it will filter out explicit material such as nudity, graphic sex acts, or sexually explicit material, violence and gore.

Follow the advice below to set-up Google SafeSearch on your child’s Android or iPhone device.

Please be aware, SafeSearch only changes what you or your child can see on Google Search, not on other search engines or websites that they visit directly.

How to set-up SafeSearch in the Google app

  1. On the Android device or iPhone, open the Google app.
  2. Tap the profile picture or initial at the top right and then Settings and then SafeSearch.
  3. Select Filter, Blur or Off.

How to set-up SafeSearch in the Mobile browser

  1. On the Android device or iPhone, go to the SafeSearch settings in the Google browser at www.google.com/safesearch
  2. Select Filter, Blur or Off.
Google SafeSearch

Google Family Link

Google Family Link is a parental control app that allows you to set digital ground rules for your child's Android or iPhone device.

You can use the Google Family Link app to:

  • Set screen time limits.
  • Approve or block apps you child wants to download on Google Play.
  • Filter content on Google apps like Search, Chrome, and YouTube.
Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland (SBNI) - Online Safety Hub logo
Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland (SBNI) - Online Safety Hub logo

Further Support and Advice

Developed by the Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland (SBNI), the Online Safety Hub is a dedicated website for young people and adults, focusing on Online Safety.

You'll find valuable information and guidance on how to keep you and the young people in your care safer online.


 

VISIT THE SBNI ONLINE SAFETY HUB