Do you worry about your kids searching on Google or other search engines and what they might find?
You know when you type in an innocent phrase and the search comes up with something that is not even rated appropriate for an adult? This can be very scary for any parent when you have young kids in the house. We all know it is not easy keeping your kids safe when on the internet. I have 3 boys of my own starting with the oldest of 12, a middle child of 10 and the little demon child of 2. My boys love computers, devices or anything tech (makes sense, they are my little minions). So I started thinking how can I help them be a little safer when searching for things online. Then it hit me, there must be a kid safe search engine out there that will work for them. Thus began the search for options to help keep kids safe online. As a tech and a dad I want to share this knowledge with other parents. We have to stick together and help each other out, right? With my research, I came across quite a few suggestions but many of them either did not exist anymore, were not user friendly or were not as kid friendly as they suggested. Now it is 2016 so we need what will work for our kids today, not 4 years ago.
I guess we should get started and share what I have found. Drum roll please… Here are my top 5 kid-safe internet options for 2016!
Criteria I used in my decision:
- Search test words Boob, Sex and Beer (if these come up it is probably a no go for me – Beer is my safe word to test the strength of the filter, so this can show up and still pass)
- Ease of use
First one on the list is Kidtopia. As with most of the options I ran into during my research, this one uses Google Safe search. Kidtopia does an okay job in the filtering department but where it failed was with my search word “SEX”. Nothing too bad – the results that come up look to be more of educational type websites on sex. Of course, I did bump into an ad from Amazon.com which took me to sex toys. If you look at the “About Us” you will realize why it pulled that up. This website was designed by school librarians for elementary school students and their teachers, and I figure the librarians want to make sure they are educated on these subjects. Even though it has some filter issues it is still a good search tool for kids. You should give this one a look.
Next is KidRex, this one is not too flashy and makes searching simple. Love that they use a kids drawing on the front page. The filter is much better so nothing comes up when you type in my test words or any other word a kid might come up with. I feel this is a good search tool for younger kids.
Third on my list is Kidz Search. At first glance I was a little worried that this one would have a bunch of ads. You know what I’m talking about. But after a little time I actually found it to be a very nice kid-safe search tool, plus it did not have ads all over the place. The links on the front are a great way for your kids to find things that they could be interesting in. The filter is pretty good and like all the other sites you can recommend words to have filtered out. Very solid kid-safe option.
- Kiddle (is like google for kids)
Next we have Kiddle search. Now this is pretty much what it looks like – a clone of Google with a good filter to help keep your kids safe. The one thing I like is that the search results use large thumbnails which my kids like too. Visually eye-catching, thumbnails are great for kids. I think this is one of my favorites from this list. This is a must if you like the feel of Google.com search.
Last but not least is Zoodles which I have been familiar with for some time. My youngest has been using this on his tablet for a while now. Now, this is not your typical option in that it is not set up like the others in this list and it is a software download. With some younger kids this is one of the better ways to keep them secure online. It is like placing your kid in a padded room where you can control what they see. Zoodles has wonderful parental controls and a great interface which is very kid/parent friendly. This is recommended for ages up to 8 years old, however, Zoodles is one I would recommend to any parent with kids under 10. A plus is Zoodles will work on almost any device (Mac/PC, Android, iPhone and iPad). It does have a free version so you do not have to pay for the monthly subscription. Here is a comparison between the free and paid versions.
*Special Mention – K9 Web Protection: I didn’t personally test out K9 Web Protection, whose motto is “Protect Your Children”, but this free Internet filtering and parental control software has been around for a long time and earned a pretty good reputation. Definitely another option to consider, especially for slightly older children.
So there you have it, my top methods for helping keep children safe for 2016. Every family is different so make sure to review these yourself before having your kid use them. They all have their positives and negatives but overall these represent good options.
- Further reading: ZipZap – The family browser
Is there something you think should have made the list?