You can now remove pictures of minors from Google Search — here's how

Google Search Remove Minors Photos
Google Search Remove Minors Photos (Image credit: Google)

What you need to know

  • Google has implemented a policy to "give young people more control over their digital footprint and where their images can be found on Search."
  • You can remove any photo search result "with the exception of cases of compelling public interest or newsworthiness."
  • This removal only affects Google Search, not the site where the photo is posted.
  • Google already allows adults to remove personal information as well, specifically related to personal info, doxxing, or sexually explicit content.

Google will allow anyone under the age of 18 to remove any photos of themselves from Google Search thumbnails and Google Images. Parents, guardians, or an "authorized representative" can make the request as well, though they'll need to explain their relationship to the minor in question.

To remove the offending images, you'll go to this Google support page. There, Google will ask you to provide the following data:

  1. The name, age, country, and email address of the minor
  2. The image URL for the photo(s) in question
  3. The search terms and URLs that cause the photo(s) to appear
  4. A screenshot of the photo(s)
  5. An explanation of why you want the photo(s) removed

Google specified in its blog post that this will only remove the photo preview from Google sites, not the link to the offending site. To actually remove the photo from the internet, you'll need to contact that site's webmaster. Google also says it may "provide details to the webmaster(s) of the URLs that have been removed from our search results" after processing your request.

In the case of a photo that has already been removed from a website but still appears in Google Search results, Google has a separate Outdated URL tool that you must use. We have a guide on how to remove web results from Google Search that you can follow in that case.

Google also notes that in the "cases of compelling public interest or newsworthiness," photos might not be removed. This could refer to photos of children of public leaders, or potentially to juvenile offenders who committed a crime, though this isn't specified.

Finally, Google specified that sexually explicit photos of minors (aka child pornography) shouldn't be reported through this form; you should contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children instead.

Michael L Hicks
Senior Editor, VR/AR and fitness

Michael spent years freelancing on every tech topic under the sun before settling down on the real exciting stuff: virtual reality, fitness wearables, gaming, and how tech intersects with our world. He's a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves running, D&D, and Star Wars. Find him on Twitter at @Michael_L_Hicks.