You know how parents love to show off the most embarrassing photos of you? That was bad enough when I was growing up, and they had the awkward perm years front and center in a family photo album. Now? Photos from the first grainy sonogram to toddler tantrums, potty-training, and everything in between live on the internet, and many young adults are fighting back to get control of their images.
For the first time, ever, Google is giving minors, or their guardians, a form to fill out to have photos taken off search results.
“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,” the company said in a blog post earlier this month.
In short, minors or their guardians can fill out a form with image URLs, search result queries and URLs of search result pages.
It’s an important first step to curb the rising issue of “sharenting,” which we talk about in-depth in this article. It also comes at a time when tech companies are facing increased scrutiny over their effects on kids.
How to request Google remove an image of a minor from search results:
You can now ask Google to remove images of someone under age 18, whether you’re the minor in the image or the minor’s parent or guardian. Once Google removes the image or images, they won’t appear in the Images tab or as thumbnails in Google search results. Note that this does not remove the image from the internet, just from Google’s search results. Google recommends you work with a website to remove the image itself.
1. Head to Google’s Request to remove your personal information on Google page.
2. You’ll see a short list of options you choose from to explain your request.
3. Tap Remove information you see in Google Search and then next to “The information I want removed is,” tap Google’s search results and on a website. You can also tap Only in Google’s search results if that is accurate.
4. Next, answer if you’ve contacted the site’s website owner. If you answer either Yesor No, I prefer not to, you can proceed. If you answer No, how do I do that?, Google will show you a quick tutorial on how to contact a webmaster.
5. Now on the page asking what you want to remove, tap Imagery of an individual currently under the age of 18 and then tap whether it is explicit or not explicit.
6. On the next page, enter some personal information, the URL of the image (here’s how to find the URL of an image), a link to the search results page and terms you used to get to the search results page. You will also upload screenshots of the images. When done, tap Submit.
Google said it will use this information to process your request.