Google Targets Children and Launches Kiddle
If you were born in the 80’s or earlier you probably remember going to the library and looking up information in actual books to do your research projects. The thought of your own children researching through google likely freaks the hell out of you, and why wouldn’t it? One search for something as innocent as ‘Justin Bieber’ could lead your kid to a full frontal picture of the pop star. And that’s on the tame end of what could easily be found through innocent seeming keywords.
This is precisely why Google has now launched Kiddle. It’s a safe search engine specifically targeted towards kids, and to ease the fears of their parents. It works by using a filter for explicit or deceptive content. It delivers search results in order of: specifically written for kids, safe content written in a simple way, and finally safe content and famous sites specifically written for adults.
I wanted to see what would happen if I typed in the word ‘nude’ to the Kiddle search engine, and I ended up getting an image of an angry robot telling me I was using bad words.
Another nice function of Kiddle is that it highlights image thumbnails in the search results, along with larger easy to read font, for a more visual experience (especially for younger children). Here is an example of what I saw when I searched ‘horse’:
Kiddle also allows parents to take control even further by allowing site and keyword blocking, so for instance if you really hated Justin Bieber and didn’t even want your child to know of his existence, you would have the ability to block everything to do with him.
One thing that is a bit of a turn off is the kid-centric advertisements on the search results page. I guess this opens up a conversation parents should have with their children about paid content and advertising in the digital world. But it does seem a bit shady to me considering kids are much more susceptible to clickbait.
I certainly am not diluted enough to think that Kiddle is going to solve all the problems parents face with their children online, but it is nice to know that advancements are being made to accommodate a more protected, safer way of searching and doing research.
Now if only Google could figure out how to encourage kids to go outside and play…