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How to stop Google from tracking you and your kids

How to stop Google from tracking you and your kids

Internet users worry about privacy and security and parents, the concern extends to their children’s online activities. In 2016, the US Federal Court declared that Google was not liable for planting cookies on devices used by children. The decision cam after concerned parents accused the tech giant of keeping track of children’s online activities illegally. Although Google will continue gathering data and using it to target users (including children) with ads, there are steps that can be followed to prevent them and other large companies from tracking you and your children. Here you will find a few measures that will help you to enhance the security and privacy of your kids’ browsing activities.

Block trackers

Websites use cookies to store information in a web browser. Although normal cookies that are used in the right way can make things easier when you are browsing the internet, there are some negative implications for privacy that should be considered. Cookies can keep track of the websites you visit, they can record logins and more. This can be useful when you want to access your favorite sites easily, or continue watching a video from where you left. These cookies are only used by the website that created them. However, there are different types of cookies, including tracking/persistent or third-party cookies.

Normal cookies are only active on the websites the were created for, but tracking cookies will continue working, even when you visit other websites. These cookies follow your online steps and collect data of your browsing activities for a long time. Advertising networks take advantage of the data collected to target users with ads. There have been reported cases of cookies used on websites that are generally visited by children. For instance, it was found that Google was using tracking cookies to collect user’s data on Nickelodeon’s website, which is is mainly popular among children. In order to prevent being targeted by tracking cookies, you can install Disconnect or Ghostery, which are free apps that can block these cookies. These apps can be used along with traditional ad blockers like Ad Block Plus, which will increase the protection against tracking ads.


With Ghostery, you can stop trackers and defend your privacy to enjoy a safer and less cluttered browsing experience. This browser extension works with Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera and Internet Explorer. There are also apps for Android, iOS and Kindle Fire. Ghostery allows you to take control over the data that you share with the trackers that follow you when you visit a website.


Disconnect is an extension that works with Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera. Apart from preventing tracking, it offers real time information that allows you to find out what is being blocked. There is an option to whitelist trusted websites and you can save time and bandwidth using the settings available. Disconnect also offers mobile apps for Android and iOS. There is a free option and two paid versions that provide faster performance and that also allow you to prevent malware and increase the protection to your privacy.

Disable interest-based ads in Google

When you have a Google services account, by default Google will offer interest-based ads. The information related to your search queries, tracking cookies and more, allows Google to target users with ads that are relevant to them. Google has the largest online advertisement network, which means that the ads from companies that are part of that network, can be seen on a large number of websites. Although turning off interest-based ads won’t prevent Google from gathering your or your kids’ data, it will reduce targeted ads. You will still see ads that are relevant to your location and language, but they won’t be based on the websites that you recently visited or products that you bought.

To turn off the “Ads based on your interests” option, you can follow the below steps:

  1. Go to myaccount.google.com and click Sign-in and Security. You will see a large number of privacy and security settings.
  2. Scroll down and click on “Manage ad settings”. You will be able to toggle off interest-based ads that are shown on Google pages.
  3. The next step is to disable these ads on pages that don’t belong to Google. Scroll down further on the same page and click on “Control signed-out ads”. You will get a page that looks almost the same as the previous one and there, you will be able to toggle off to opt out interest-based ads.

Alternatives to Google

Google has such a strong presence in the internet, that it is practically impossible to imagine going online without using the services of this tech giant. It can target users with ads by analyzing their online searches, which means that whenever you browse the internet, Google is watching you. The good news is that Google is not the only search engine available so you can try other options that are less invasive. DuckDuckGo is well-known among privacy concerned users thanks to the fact that it doesn’t log IP addresses and it doesn’t use tracking cookies or monitors the links you access through its search results.

DuckDuckGo is a good alternative, but Google is the leading solution and that it can deliver better and more results. There is a way in which you can get Google search results without using Google. StartPage is a solution that filters out your identifying data and sends your searches to Google. It doesn’t log your IP address and doesn’t use tracking cookies. In addition, it won’t keep records of the links you visit and the results are returned with a proxy link, which allows you to click through the sites without letting Google find out your identity.

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