AOL Safety Toolbar is a free and powerful web filtering toolbar that works with Internet Explorer and Firefox and helps protect your family from exposure to inappropriate content on the internet. You can customize settings to suit the maturity level of your children and receive regular reports detailing where your kids are going on the web. Plus, the toolbar provides family-friendly internet search results.
The integrated search box within AOL Safety Toolbar automatically returns filtered search results from AOL Search, so that your kids can explore the web more safely. All web searches entered here go through a "strict" level of search results screening that removes results for sites containing explicit sexual content and/or images. Search terms such as "porn" and related words are automatically blocked from search results. The same filtered search experience is integrated into our Block and Warn pages.
Note: If you want to help promote your child's use of our family-friendly search function, you may want to disable or uninstall other toolbars that have search boxes built into them.
Since every family's needs and values are different, only you can determine what type of parental controls tool is right for you and your family. The AOL Safety Toolbar delivers a light-weight web filtering product with detailed reports on web activity. AOL Parental Controls is a full-feature parental controls product that provides web filtering, Activity Reports accessible from the web as well as via email, time limit controls, and contact controls for AIM and AOL Mail. To enforce AOL Parental Controls, users must sign in to the AOL Desktop software with an AOL Parental Controls account and use this software to access the Internet.
The AOL Safety Toolbar is not available currently for download. If you previously downloaded the toolbar and saved the aolsafetytoolbar.exe file to your computer, you may launch that executable file to install the toolbar.
Setting up the AOL Safety Toolbar is easy and quick. After the installation is complete, your browser will launch to the AOL Safety Toolbar setup page. You'll be asked to take these three steps:
Step 1: Enter your email address, create a password, and choose a password security question and answer Step 2: Select a web Filtering level (Moderate or Strict) Step 3: Select the "Block" or "Warn" option and click "Done"
That's it! AOL Safety Toolbar will begin filtering your web browser immediately.
Note: If you have installed AOL Safety Toolbar on both Internet Explorer and Firefox, all of your AOL Safety Toolbar settings and any changes will be applied automatically to both browsers.
AOL Safety Toolbar sends the Activity Report and other critical alerts (such as if someone uninstalls the toolbar) to your email address. The password is used to prevent unauthorized users from turning off web filtering or modifying the settings.
If you already have parental controls software installed on your computer, we do not recommend installing AOL Safety Toolbar. Multiple web filtering applications installed on your computer may result in a poor browsing experience and other issues. (Note: This includes the stand-alone version of AOL Parental Controls.)
To complete setup of the toolbar and to activate web filtering, click the "Setup not complete" message in the toolbar. This will take you to the setup process where you'll be asked a few simple questions to complete toolbar setup. For more help, please see the question on this page titled "How do I set up the AOL Safety Toolbar?"
First, make sure AOL Safety Toolbar is still installed on your browser(s). You can see if the toolbar is installed by looking in your Add or Remove Programs list in the Windows Control Panel. If AOL Safety Toolbar is listed there, then you may want to make sure the toolbar has not been hidden or disabled in your browser(s). If your toolbar is simply hidden from view, you should still receive email reports. If your toolbar has been disabled, you will need to re-enable it for your browser. Check your browser's help area to learn how to re-enable toolbars that have been hidden or disabled. If your toolbar has been uninstalled, you will not be able to re-install it as this product is no longer available for download.
AOL Safety Toolbar is only supported on Internet Explorer 6.0 - 8.0 and Firefox 3.0 - 3.6. If you upgrade your Firefox browser to the Firefox 4.0 version, go to your Firefox "Tools" menu and select "Add-ons" to launch the Firefox Add-ons Manager, and then click the "Remove" button to uninstall the AOL Safety Toolbar.
AOL Safety Toolbar offers two levels of web filtering so parents can choose the appropriate level for their family.
The "Moderate" setting allows all websites except those that appear to contain inappropriate content (content that may not be appropriate for persons under 18 years of age, including sites that feature or promote pornography, violence, alcohol, gambling, hate or drugs).
The "Strict" setting only allows sites that are confirmed to be family-friendly. Family-friendly websites are reviewed by our editorial team, which examines and monitors sites over time before classifying them as appropriate for all ages.
Every family is different, so we offer you a choice of what should happen when your child attempts to visit a site with inappropriate content.
If you choose to "Block" inappropriate websites, a Content Alert page blocking access will be displayed when an attempt is made to visit a site with inappropriate content. This is the default setting. Your child can send you a request to allow them to access the site, or you can grant them access immediately by typing your AOL Safety Toolbar password in the permission box on the Alert page.
Families with more mature children may opt to present the "Warn" page when an attempt is made to visit a site with inappropriate content. Your child will be presented with a page warning that the material on the site may not be suitable for them, but will be given the option to continue to that site anyway. Don't worry - if your child visits the site that he/she has been warned about, you'll still see that visit recorded in the Activity Report.
You can switch between Block/Warn at any time by clicking on the "Settings" button in the toolbar, entering your password, and changing this setting.
Note: If you have changed this setting to "Warn", the "Block This Site" button in the toolbar will continue to add the website you've selected to your custom Blocked Sites list; however, your child will now be presented with the "Warn" message when attempting to access a site on this list.
If you come across a website that you want to make sure is blocked for your child when web filtering is turned on, just click the "Block This Site" button in the toolbar and enter your password.
You can also block sites that your child has visited, or allow sites that have been blocked, from within the Activity Report.
To view or modify AOL Safety Toolbar's Blocked and Allowed sites lists, please follow these instructions:
Step 1: Click the "Settings" button on the toolbar and enter your password Step 2: On the Settings page, click the "Custom List" tab in the navigation menu Step 3: Edit the websites you want to block or allow with AOL Safety Toolbar by adding, removing, or moving the site(s) in the block list or allow list
When you block or allow a website, your instruction will be applied to that site's entire domain. For example, if you block www.harmfulsite.com/badmessage.html, all of www.harmfulsite.com will be blocked, including sub-domains of that site such as http://pictures.harmfulsite.com.
You can change how often you receive your Activity Reports by email any time by following these instructions:
Step 1: Click the "Settings" button on the toolbar and enter your password Step 2: Change the frequency of your Activity Report emails (options: Daily, Weekly, or Never) Step 3: Click "Save Settings" at the bottom of the page
AOL Safety Toolbar incorporates powerful dynamic filtering that is employed with the "Moderate" filtering level. Websites are evaluated in real-time using page analysis to determine if the page contains objectionable content - even if the page was posted just minutes ago.
Yes. You can choose the "Warn" option in the Settings area (click on "Settings" on your toolbar and enter your password). This option will warn your child about potentially inappropriate content but will not block them from proceeding. You will still receive reports about what sites your child has visited.
See "What do the "Block" or "Warn" settings mean?" for more on the differences between Block and Warn.
If you forget your AOL Safety Toolbar password, click any button in the toolbar to bring up the Sign In prompt. Click on the "Forgot Password" link in the pop up window. If you enter the wrong password when turning off web filtering, you will also get the Sign In prompt with the Forgot Password link. In the next screen that displays, enter the Password Security Question answer that you selected when you set up the toolbar.
AOL Safety Toolbar offers robust reporting including sites visited and sites blocked (or warned) with number of visits and date of last visit, sites your child has requested your permission to access, and numerous alerts (such as when settings have been changed). You can view these reports at any time by clicking on "Activity Reports" in the toolbar and entering your password.
You may choose to receive reports by email either daily or weekly. Each email report lists the most recent websites visited and blocked, as well as any pending requests from your child and alerts regarding changes to your settings. You can view these reports at any time by clicking on "Activity Reports" in the toolbar and entering your password.
It's easy to view each page that your child has visited when AOL Safety Toolbar is On:
Step 1: Click on the Activity Reports button in the toolbar and enter your password Step 2: The Visited Web Sites list will be displayed alphabetically by domain Step 3: To view all the pages visited within a single domain, click on the "view all pages" link to the right of the domain name. The list will expand to display all of the individual pages visited.
The Visited Websites report displays all pages visited when web filtering is "On" for the past 30 days.
Note: You can change the sort order of your Visited Websites list by clicking on the triangles next to "Website", "Visits", or "Last Visited"
If you are not receiving your Activity Reports by email, check the following:
1. Make sure AOL Safety Toolbar is still installed on your browser(s). If your toolbar is simply hidden from view, you should still receive email reports. If your toolbar has been disabled, you will need to re-enable it. Check your browser's help area to learn how to re-enable toolbars that have been hidden or disabled. If the toolbar has been uninstalled, you may re-install it by launching the aolsafetytoolbar.exe file if you saved the aolsafetytoolbar.exe file to your computer when you previously downloaded the toolbar. The AOL Safety Toolbar is no longer available for download. If the toolbar is still installed and enabled, check the items below.
2. If the toolbar is installed and enabled, go to "Settings" and make sure that the frequency of your emails is set to "Daily" or "Weekly". Also verify that the email address stored on this page is the email address you want to use.
3. Depending upon whether you have selected to receive daily or weekly emails, Activity Reports are sent at about 12:00 midnight for the prior day (for daily reports) or at about 12:00 midnight on Sunday (for weekly reports). If your browser is not in use at that time, Activity Reports will be sent the next time your browser is started.
4. Check your email spam folder to make sure messages are not being quarantined.
5. If you have set your email options to block all emails containing images, Activity Reports will be blocked. Please refer to your email provider's settings and options.
If you clicked on the "I did not request activity reports from AOL Safety Toolbar" link in your Activity Report email, you can easily re-subscribe for these reports by taking the following steps:
Step 1: Click the "Settings" button on the toolbar and enter your password Step 2: Enter your email address and re-type it to confirm Step 3: Select the frequency of your Activity Report emails (options: Daily, Weekly, or Never) Step 4: Click "Save Settings" at the bottom of the page
You should start receiving your Activity Reports again by email (within 24 hours if you have selected to have them delivered daily). For more help, please see the question on this page titled "Why am I not receiving my Activity Reports by email?"
To turn off web filtering when an adult is browsing, simply click the "On/Off" switch in the toolbar and enter your AOL Safety Toolbar password. Parents can turn off web filtering so they can freely browse the internet without AOL Safety Toolbar filtering websites or recording their activity. Web filtering will remain off for as long as that browser window is open, or until you turn it back on by clicking the "On/Off" switch again. By default, web filtering will be turned back on automatically when you close and re-launch your browser. (You can de-activate this safety feature in the Settings page).
Note: When web filtering is turned off, no browsing activity is recorded in the Activity Report.
For Internet Explorer, go to the "Add or Remove Programs" Controls Panel in Windows and click the "Change/Remove" button under the AOL Safety Toolbar program listing.
For Firefox, go to the Firefox "Tools" menu and select "Add-ons" to see options to remove or disable the AOL Safety Toolbar.
If you have set up more than one Windows User Account, and are using Internet Explorer, uninstalling the AOL Safety Toolbar for one User Account will automatically uninstall the toolbar for all other User Accounts on your computer. If you are using the Firefox browser, please be sure to separately uninstall the toolbar for each Windows User Account on your computer.
You will receive an email alert notification whenever AOL Safety Toolbar is uninstalled. The AOL Safety Toolbar is not available currently for download. If you previously downloaded the toolbar and saved the aolsafetytoolbar.exe file to your computer, you may launch that executable file to install the toolbar.
AOL Safety Toolbar is set to automatically notify you whenever a new version is available to download and install. You can manually check if a newer version is available by doing the following:
Step 1: Click on "Settings" in the toolbar and enter your password Step 2: Click on the "Check for Updates" tab in the menu
If a newer version is available, you will be given the opportunity to download and install it. If you have the latest version, you will see a message that no updates are available. When you install the newer version, AOL Safety Toolbar will remember your existing settings so you do not have to go through setup again.
To respond to a child's request for permission to access a website, follow these steps:
Step 1: Click on "Activity Reports" in the toolbar and enter your password Step 2: Click on the "Requested Web Sites" tab Step 3: Select websites from the requests list and click on "Allow Selected" to grant your child permission to always access the site(s), or click on "Decline Selected" to continue blocking access to this site
If it has been more than 30 days since the request was made, your child will need to ask for permission again. Alternatively, you can add the website to your child's "Allowed" list by following the instructions for "How do I customize which sites my child can visit or not visit?" in the Settings section above.
You can choose the "Warn" option in the Settings area (click on "Settings" on your toolbar and enter your password). This option will warn your child about potentially inappropriate content but will not block them from proceeding. You will still receive reports about what sites your child has visited.
See "What do the "Block" or "Warn" settings mean?" for more on the differences between Block and Warn.