How many of us have left their kids to their own devices on Google and come back to find them open-mouthed, staring at some inappropriate content? Just me?
There is a massive different between the search results of Miley Cyrus circa 2010 and Miley Cyrus circa 2013. You know what I mean? And the whole reason we’re leaving kids with phones/ipads/computers is so we can get dinner cooked or talk to our friends for five minutes without being interrupted.
Enter Kiddle. It’s the new search engine just for kids, powered by Google Safe Search. It’s not owned by Google but it’s clearly based on the Google design, and it’s as easy to use as Google.
Tech Times reports Kiddle comes up with search results hand-picked by editors to make sure they’re appropriate for children. The first three results will always be curated, safe sites specifically for children. The next few results feature sites that are more tailored to adults that are still safe but perhaps tougher for younger kids to understand.
Kiddle’s About section promises children will be totally safe using the site. They clear their logs every 24 hours and they don’t collect any personal information. We had a crack at entering some less than savoury words in the search box and the Kiddle cross-looking robot politely but firmly told us to try again.
I don’t think my younger kids have reached the stage where they search for “bum” and “boobs” online just yet but I’m sure those days are coming fast, and I want to be prepared. My kids will Google anything. If they have a question about why snow is cold, who was the first person to fart in space, or what colour underpants are the most commonly worn in the world, they don’t bother asking me, they’re straight onto Google. It’s only a matter of time before they start asking questions that walk a fine line, and the results start to get super dicey.
Saving Kiddle as the homepage on my kids’ iPads won’t stop all terrible content from getting through, but if they develop the habit of asking Kiddle rather than Google, at least there is an extra layer of protection there.
Because in a happy-clappy ideal world, kids would read books to learn things, they’d talk to their parents and go outside and experience the world for themselves. They’d pay attention in school and borrow books from the library. But the reality is, for better or worse, the internet is part of our lives. It’s scary and at times damaging but it’s also wonderful, and a useful learning tool.
Kids will use the internet to do school assignments, to talk to their friends, and to look up Justin Bieber. The best we can do is offer them the tools that will show them Justin Bieber singing and behaving like a relatively normal human rather than boozing, running around with strippers with his clothes off and behaving like an enormous tool.
Sure, Kiddle may be responsible for a whole generation thinking Justin Bieber is awesome, but it’s a price worth paying for our children’s online security, don’t you think?