Google+: new safety enhancements, now available for teens

Teens and young adults are the most active Internet users on the planet [1]. And surprise, surprise: they're also human beings who enjoy spending time with friends and family. Put these two things together and it's clear that teens will increasingly connect online. Unfortunately, online sharing is still second-rate for this age group.

In life, for instance, teens can share the right things with just the right people (like classmates, parents or close ties). Over time, the nuance and richness of selective sharing even promotes authenticity and accountability. Sadly, today’s most popular online tools are rigid and brittle by comparison, so teens end up over-sharing with all of their so-called “friends.”

With Google+, we want to help teens build meaningful connections online. We also want to provide features that foster safety alongside self-expression. Today we're doing both, for everyone who’s old enough for a Google Account (13+ in most countries [2]).

Safety starts with your circles
The difference between friends, acquaintances and strangers is a crucial one—especially for teens. Google+ includes circles to help people manage their different relationships, but we’re going a step further for our younger users.

Sharing content
With Google+ you can share privately with your circles, or publicly with the world. Posting something for everyone to see is a big deal, however, so when teens try and share outside their circles, we encourage them to think before they post. [Screenshot #1]

Receiving notifications
Google+ is a great place to connect with close friends, as well as discover others with common interests. We want to help people explore the community safely, however, so we give users control over who can contact them online. By default, only those in teens’ circles can say hello, and blocking someone is always just a click or two away. [Screenshot #2]

Hanging out with friends
Google+ Hangouts bring people together using live multi-person video, and the results range from heartwarming [3] to awe-inspiring [4]. However, we recognize that connecting face-to-face is special and serious, so if a stranger outside a teen’s circles joins the hangout, we temporarily remove the young adult, and give them a chance to rejoin. [Screenshot #3]

Our newly launched Google+ Safety Center [5] describes these and other changes in more detail, but our approach is straightforward: build awesome features that teens really want, encourage safe behavior through appropriate defaults and in-product help, and make abuse reporting tools easy to find and use.

People and pages for the young(er) at heart
The joy of real-life sharing lies in connecting with everything we care about—from family and friends, to businesses and brands. Teens, like adults, deserve a rich experience online, so today we’re welcoming some of their favorite individuals and organizations to the Google+ community. [6]

Between strong user protections and teen-focused content, it’s our hope that young adults will feel at home (and have some fun) on Google+. And of course, we do have at least one thing in common with our newest users: we’re both busy growing up.


[3] Google+: Just hanging out together
[4] Highlights from the Dalai Lama & Desmond Tutu Google+ Hangout
[6] +106 and Park +A THIN LINE +AKB48 +Ashley Tisdale +Big Time Rush +Cody Simpson +ESPN +GLEE +Greyson Chance +Google Science Fair +Harry Shum Jr +The Hunger Games +Lea Michele +Mindless Behavior +Nickelodeon +Scotty McCreery +Selena Gomez +Shay Mitchell +Teen Vogue +Annoying Orange +Material Girl Collection +Victoria Justice +Young Hollywood
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