Google Ads to Block Ad Targeting Based on the Age, Gender and Interests of Under-18s

01 Oct, 2021 Google Ads

Google has confirmed that over the next few months, additional safeguards will prevent ad targeting based on age, gender or interests of users under the age of 18. The move is designed to prevent potentially age-sensitive ad categories targeting teenagers, as part of the company’s ongoing efforts to protect minors.

With more youngsters than ever before spending more time online, steps must be taken to prevent children from exposure to inappropriate ads or content. Consequently, Google is introducing new safeguards and updating its policies on protecting youngsters online.

One of the changes will be allowing web users under the age of 18 to remove images from search.

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“Children are at particular risk when it comes to controlling their imagery on the internet,” explained Mindy Brooks, product and UX director for kids and families at Google.

“In the coming weeks, we’ll introduce a new policy that enables anyone under the age of 18, or their parent or guardian, to request the removal of their images from Google Image results.” 

While this adjustment will not physically remove the image in question from the Internet, it will ensure it is not shown to the individual in question when the search is performed.

YouTube is making adjustments to its policies with the aim of safeguarding youth audiences. The default upload mode for kids aged 13-17 will be set to private Google confirmed.

Meanwhile, SafeSearch will be automatically turned on for those under 18 using Google Search, while users under the age of 18 will no longer have the option of turning their location history on.

Google also confirmed that over the next few months, Google will “be expanding safeguards to prevent age-sensitive ad categories from being shown to teens, and we will block ad targeting based on the age, gender, or interests of people under 18.”

Additional efforts to safeguard youngsters are being made by numerous providers, in response to the growing number of children and teenagers conducting their daily affairs online. Partial or total home-schooling became the norm during the COVID-19 crisis, as did turning to the web for entertainment due to the lack of social interaction occurring during lockdown.

The trend of forced lockdowns and spending more time at home could continue long into 2022, with further waves of COVID-19 predicted for the autumn and winter months.

None of these changes should have any major effects on the ad metrics of advertisers and online businesses, unless the ads in question were targeting potentially inappropriate audiences in the first place.