Safe Searching with Kiddle
A question I often get from parents is, “How do I help my child navigate technology safely?” One of the ways I help students research appropriately in elementary school is by giving them a trusted search engine. I use Kiddle, a safe, visual search engine for kids. Kiddle is powered by Google Custom Search. Search results are oriented for children, which helps narrow down sources when completing research projects in class. Kiddle also filters explicit content so my students can focus on their research.
Kiddle filters search results by providing the safest sites first. The first search results are pages written just for children and selected by Kiddle editors. After the sites that were created just for children, Kiddle will show content that is easy to understand, and also checked by their editors. The last search results Kiddle provides includes safe sites that are aimed toward adult readers, yet still filtered with Google safe search. While some users view Kiddle as negatively limiting information provided to young people, it is still a great tool to guide classroom research for young children who are learning the basics of the web.
I love that Kiddle is a visual search engine with large images next to each search result. These make it easier for children to select results. It is fantastic for English language learners and others who could benefit from a visual cue. There is also the use of large font, keeping it easier for eyes to track along the lines of text. Just like Google, Kiddle also has search options for images, news, and videos. To make this search engine more accessible for my students, I have it bookmarked on every computer and added it as an icon on the home screen of our iPads.
There is even a blocking form where adults can submit keywords to be blocked if one is found in a search. There is also a site blocking form to block inappropriate sites if one should find its way through Kiddle’s filters.
Some search results do come with occasional ads on the sides. Although slightly distractive, the ads are relevant to the topic searched. When I searched “music,” the ad was for “Free 100% Classical Music”.
It’s important to talk to children about Internet safety and appropriate use. I always remind my students that they need to use technology tools responsibly. I talk with them about what to do if something inappropriate happens and how to solve that problem. When students understand boundaries and are familiar with routines, they are well prepared to use technology responsibly.