We may fight our hardest to swim against the tide and minimize our children’s exposure to the internet as much as we can, but let’s face it, it’s a battle we will eventually lose, if we haven’t already. While watching Peppa Pig videos over the net, they may inevitably click on a link that was not supposed to be there and cause them to see things they can’t unsee, or worse, proudly tell all their little friends about their new discoveries. School papers are soon going to be a part of their lives and since libraries are sadly seeing less and less foot traffic these days, the internet will soon be a big part of their lives, as much as it is a big part of ours.
That is why parents all over the world are breathing a little easier these days as Google launched Kiddle, a safe search engine designed for kids. Now, the chances of our kids stumbling upon Justin Bieber’s “pre-sorry” activities, or Taylor Swift’s unsavory cat fights will be significantly minimized.
To make it more conducive for kids, Kiddle’s layout is more fun, with a space-like background and a robot below the search bar. Search results come with large thumbnails that serve as visual clues for kids to differentiate among the results. It also uses large Arial fonts for easier readability. What’s more, Kiddle does not collect personal information and all logs are deleted every 24 hours.
According to Kiddle’s About page, it assures safe search for kids as it filters explicit or deceptive content. When your kid searches for a certain subject, the first 3 results will display content which are handpicked and checked by Kiddle editors. The next 4 results will display sites which have content which is written in a way kids will easily understand, also handpicked and checked by Kiddle editors. The next 8 results and onwards, will be famous sites written for adults that may be harder for kids to understand, but will offer only expert advice. These are filtered by Google safe search.
I gave the search engine a spin and entered unpleasant terms kids might learn from jerks at school, such as “penis” and “asshole” or words they may pick up on TV such as “intercourse” or “divorce”.
For the first three unsavory words, an angry looking robot appeared and displayed a message that says, “Oops, looks like your query contained some bad words. Please try again!”
For the word divorce however, the first three results yielded an article from PBS Kids Go!, offering simple explanations on the topic, and friendly advice like “things will get better”. The next was an article from Encyclopedia.com explaining what goes on in a divorce and what effects it has on children. I liked the third search result the best. It showed a video from Sesamestreet.org of Elmo, Rosita and Abby Cadabby drawing pictures of their homes. Abby drew 2 pictures—one with her mom and one with her dad—saying she has 2 houses because her parents were divorced. Gordon was there to explain that sometimes, things don’t work out even if parents try and try, and so, they decide not to be married anymore.
After this test drive, all I can say is I’m impressed! Thank God for Google for having our backs and making steps to grow with its patrons, especially anxious anti-internet parents like me. I love Kiddle already! I can rest better at night knowing that there is a way for my kids to search the web and there are concerned people in Kiddle making sure that my kids only get kid-safe, but essential and useful information.
Have you tried Kiddle? Tell us what you think in the Comments.