There have been many posts lately regarding a “new” search engine for children, powered by Google safe search, and cutely named Kiddle. Mrclancy and MissAshleysBlog have both made reference to it in recent posts, so I thought I would check it out.
According to this article on BBC news and this post by Chris Jager on Lifehacker, Kiddle is only connected to Google via its use of safe search only, and the search engine’s editors themselves are responsible for deciding what is or is not “kid-friendly”. This is attracting a great deal of criticism around the Internet. Most of the articles I found that were critical of Kiddle, such as this and this were dated around March 2nd to 4th, 2016, and accused the search engine of blocking searches for words like “menstruation”, “suicide”, or “LGBT”, and instead promoting ignorance over safety. As of today those searches seem to have been “unblocked”, however a search today of terms such as “transgender” and “gay” did not produce any results that I would describe as child-friendly or informative.
As with anything new there are bugs that need to be ironed out, and in the end it is not the job of the people at Kiddle or Google or Yahoo to make sure children are not searching or accessing inappropriate content, but the responsibility of the supervising adult, be it the teacher, parent or guardian. As a pre-service teacher about to embark on a 3-week professional experience posting where I will be implementing ICT into as many phases of my teaching as I can, this has given me something to seriously ponder.
The Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner‘s website, produced by the Australian Government, seems to have some excellent educational resources on internet safety, and I will be devoting some time time to exploring those.