Kiddle is a website that promises search friendly results for children. (Kiddle.co)
Johannesburg - ‘Child-friendly’ search engine Kiddle has gained a lot of traction on social media on the weekend, but parents need to be aware that it’s not an official Google product.
Kiddle describes itself as a “visual search engine for kids, powered by editors and Google safe search”.
Some commentators and news websites have already mistakenly linked Kiddle with being a new Google product.
However, a search on internet registries reveals that Kiddle.co has not been registered via Google’s parent company Alphabet. Instead, the site’s domain name has been registered via GoDaddy.
There is also no indication or notice on the Kiddle website that it is officially owned by Google.
So how does Kiddle work?
The Kiddle.co website uses an embedded Google custom search bar which strips out adult content search results.
Google ships its custom search bar as code that can be embedded in any website. In other words, Kiddle is basically tapping Google’s search results anyway.
This technology is readily available and users can even switch on SafeSearch on their Google landing pages by venturing into the search engine’s settings.
Google explains the following about SafeSearch on its website:
“When SafeSearch is on, sexually explicit video and images will be filtered from Google Search result pages, along with results that might link to explicit content.”
Parents can read more about using Google SafeSearch by clicking on this link.
Are there any problems with Kiddle then?
Because Kiddle uses a Google's custom SafeSearch search button, parents can expect search results on the website to generally be more toned down.
Also search terms such as ‘sex’ and ‘Pamela Anderson’, for example, reveal blank results.
But some results, which may not be suitable for small children, have been reported by some users of the Kiddle site.
For example, Sky News has reported that a search for rabbit has brought up results about a rabbit being killed by a Danish radio host. Also, reports exist about searches for Vanessa Hudgens revealing “racy photoshoots”.
Kiddle itself explains on its website that “safe sites and pages written specifically for kids” are “handpicked and checked by Kiddle editors” and “typically” appear on search page results “1-3”.
However, Kiddle then goes on to say that the following type of content typically appears on page results 4-7: “Safe, trusted sites that are not written specifically for kids, but have content written in a simple way, easy for kids to understand.
Then for search results on page 8 and onwards, Kiddle says that this type of content is expected to appear: “Safe, famous sites that are written for adults, providing expert content, but are harder for kids to understand. Filtered by Google safe search.”
To keep your kids safe online, be aware that you have other options apart from Kiddle such as site blocking tools and controlling your Google settings.
Have you used Kiddle? What are your thoughts about it.