Kiddle Is a (Mostly) Safe Search Engine for Kids

Slowly but surely releasing my son on the Internet was not what I liked as a parent. But a child is in fourth grade and not only needs to research topics for school projects from time to time, but also learn how to search for information on the Internet – something he will probably do on a daily basis throughout his adulthood. a life. However, I’m not yet ready to give away all of YouTube or give it free access to Google. So when I heard about Kiddle.co through the Recomendo newsletter, I was intrigued.

Here’s what Recommendo says:

Kiddle.co is an illustrated, large print search engine designed especially for kids. It is powered by Google Safe Search, so only family-friendly results are returned. If “bad” words are entered, you will receive the message “Oops, try again!” I tried to break it down by looking for any “grown-up” words that came into my head. Death told me to try again, Dying directed me to the Death Facts for Children page, which is very interesting. I don’t have a child, but if I did, this would be their home page.

However, I’m too paranoid to take this at face value, so I continued my own search to determine if Kiddle was the solution I was looking for or just another dark, unsafe corner of the Internet. I found it to be … somewhere in between, but leaning towards a good solution. Let me explain.

At first glance, it seems that Kiddle was created by Google itself or is a part of it. The style of the Kiddle logo, right down to the color of each letter, certainly resembles Google. And the Google Custom Search logo prominently appears right below the search bar, but that means any results not hand-picked by Kiddle editors have been filtered by Google’s SafeSearch feature , which helps filter out explicit content. However, this does not mean that Kiddle was created by Google; In fact, the BBC has reported that the connection between Kiddle and the tech giant is not known.

Here’s how Kiddle says search results are validated:

  • First 1-3 results: safe websites and pages written especially for children; selected and reviewed by Kiddle Editors.
  • Results 4-7: Safe, reliable sites that are not written specifically for children, but contain content written in simple language that is easy for children to understand; selected and reviewed by Kiddle Editors.
  • Results 8+: Safe well-known sites written for adults, providing expert content but difficult for children to understand; filtered by Google SafeSearch.

Some search terms are completely blocked, resulting in the prompt “Oops, try again!” error message. I tried “sex”, “masturbation”, “porn”, “circumcision” and “genitals” to no avail (it was all on my work computer, so if I get fired tomorrow, you all know why).

However, in ” Poop ” everything is clear (but in “shit” it is not):

It is not reliable

Kiddle does a pretty serious job of testing safe educational sites for the first page of results. But once you get to the uncontrollable, filtered results, there is a better chance that something inappropriate – like graphics from real-life TV crime shows, as Common Sense Media points out – will slip away. Here’s what else, according to Common Sense Media, parents should know about Kiddle:

The site is designed to block profanity and other questionable words in search results. However, some violent content can still be found depending on the search results, for example, on TV shows or hunters. Searches related to alcohol or drugs return actual results that do not endorse or promote use or abuse. Some search results may lead to sales-oriented sites and may also contain search ads on the result pages. Parents should also be aware that if they come across any questionable websites, they may request that they be blocked. Users can also request blocking of specific keywords.

Common Sense Media rates the site as suitable for children ages eight and older, but only gives it three stars in terms of overall quality and learning potential.

But it can also be too restrictive.

This is not a complaint you often hear from parents, but Kiddle has faced criticism in the past for going too far in the searches they have blocked , including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, puberty, menstruation, suicide, and child abuse. (all of these terms are now searchable).

And for older kids – say, older teens – it will simply be more restrictive than they would like or may have become accustomed to (which, I mean, in a way). They won’t be able to go to YouTube from Kiddle or access many of the popular multiplayer online games.

My conclusion

After researching it and applying it myself, I’ve come to the conclusion that Kiddle is a good tool for kids ages 8-12 (and younger if you watch closely) who use it for educational purposes. … An 11-year-old who is working on a shark report will benefit, for example, by being able to easily find age-appropriate information written specifically for children, as well as photographs (“ kimage ”) that can be uploaded and used for personal or educational purposes.

Kids might learn something interesting learning on a search engine like this, and it will be pretty much safe (with a few exceptions), but it won’t be something they turn to for fun or entertainment, and they might find it. Little. too strict for their needs.

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