Few weeks ago my daughter was searching for geometric shapes on Google while I was cooking dinner in the kitchen. 5 minutes later I came to check how her search was going and was chocked to see that she was far away from geometric shapes. She had at least 9 different tabs open and was stuck on watching a weird dude on youtube holding a cigarette and explaining about people of different shapes and sizes. ???!!!
So when Kiddle - the new friendly kid search engine came out I was super excited to check it out and see if it's really that safe for kids. I have been doing some testing and checking for the last few days and here is what I think. There are few things I liked about Kiddle and few I didn't. Make sure to read my final conclusion.
Things I liked about Kiddle Search Engine
I like that "bad words" are blocked on Kiddle. When your child types "butt" or ''genitals'' there will be a cute robot and a sign saying: "oops, try again". Most common ''bad words'' are blocked, however if you are persistent you can find some overlaps there finding words that should be blocked.
You can request certain sites as well as specific keywords to be blocked. The request form says that they will take action within 1 business day. I have been testing Kiddle for few days now and I can tell that some words have been removed from the ''bad word'' list, while some have been added, so I think the editors are taking in consideration on what people are suggesting.
Search results (especially Video tab) doesn't link to Youtube directly, even if you type Youtube. It's a big plus for us, because my kids are drawn to this platform and always end up watching videos on youtube withing 30 seconds on using any sort of device.
I was relieved that you can't reach social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram and others while using search Kiddle.
I liked that when search results come up most of them have large picture thumbnails. This is a big plus for my daughter who has started reading recently and isn't as fast and fluent yet. It helps her narrow the search a lot faster when she sees the picture first.
While I am sure there are ton of ways to bypass this kid friendly search, however if your kid is under ten and not a computer genius he most likely will not be able to "hack" the system.
Things I didn't like about Kiddle Search Engine
There are still ads on the site.
While they say they don't collect any personal date, the search is powered by Google custom search and uses Google cookies to serve search results. To avoid that you have to opt out of Google cookies.
I believe that there will be times when kid will still need to go to Google, because Kiddle blocks some pretty legitimate words and phrases that kids might need to research for homework or just for learning purposes without bad intention. Let's say ''uterus'' or ''sexism" is on the ''bad word'' list.
Is Kiddle safe for kids? Final conclusion
As a mother of 3 I think Kiddle is safe enough to use for kids. I enjoyed using it and loved the search results that came up. They were well filtered, bringing more interesting and never seen before information, quite different from Google search. However, there is never a good idea to let your child browse the internet without your supervision, even if they use child friendly search.
I will let my kids use Kiddle search engine, but I will be in the room.