Internet safety is one of the most pressing concerns for parents and educators alike. It is important that we consider safety measures to protect the innocence of our youth. To assist you with this important task, I have compiled a list of five child-friendly search tools that go the extra mile to ensure your kiddos are not exposed to inappropriate content. I have also included what I think may be some of the limitation of Safe Search Kids, KidRex, Kid Friendly Search, Infotopia, and Kids Click.
Safe Search Kids
Safe Search Kids is a search engine by Google that provides your child/student with safe alternatives for finding appropriate content including images, videos, and even games!! One of the neat things about this site is that it is also available as an application for phones - this is great for knowing that the content children are searching for away from home and school is being filtered to eliminate unwanted content. I really appreciate the steps Google has taken to not only provide you with these options, but they also provide an amazingly detailed tutorial on how to get started. This is also one of the possible drawback to this site - it can take a bit of time to set up for optimal content filtering.
Kid Friendly Search
This has to be one of my favorite search platforms for kids. This is not really a search engine - it is more a portal to quality, content specific content. If a student wants to get help with their math, they can simply click on the Math link and it will take them to a page that has high quality sites useful for building their skills. This site also has a link to a number of search engines that are student friendly for when kids are ready to complete a broader search for content on the internet. Another neat feature of this site is Fun Activities page where students can go to do anything from making puzzles or improve their typing skills. I also found the Sites for Teachers link useful. One of the downsides to this site is that a fair number of the links require you to set up accounts or even pay for the content.
Another great site is Infotopia. Infotopia combines the best of both worlds - internet safe search using Google's SafeSearch and a compilation of quality, content specific sites. Using Infotopia, students also have access to opinion polls, reference materials, current events/news, and language learning sites. In my opinion, Infotopia is more geared toward upper elementary through secondary students. One limitation of Infotopia is that it would be a bit difficult to navigate for the younger kids or students require more direction.
Kids Click is a really neat site created for kids and their parents by librarians. One of the fun features about Kids Click is the Dewey Decimal Search section toward the base of the first page. Students can click on the number categories used by the Dewey Decimal system and follow the links to learn the number/content association of the system through investigation! Students can also use the embedded search field to find safe content. One other neat feature on this site is the Digital Media search link that takes you to specific content useful for educational purposes. While the content on KidsClick is thematic and detailed, the search engine itself is also powered by Google's SafeSearch which does not make it a significant alternative to the other Google powered search engines.
Well, that does it for my top five kid friendly search engines. If you have any that you feel is a cut above the rest and that is not on my list, I would love to see your comments below!