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The Best Kid-Friendly Search Engines

The Best Kid-Friendly Search Engines

Best Kid-Friendly Search Engines

Do you have an inquisitive child who loves looking things up online? That’s great! But, as parents we know the Internet contains information that’s not age-appropriate for young kids. Heck, the Internet contains things many of us would prefer not to see ourselves!

This list of kid-friendly search engines lets our young learners explore topics they’re interested in while protecting them from content they’re not ready to see.

Search engines for kids typically offer a selection of kid-friendly content including videos, games, and activities. Some kid-friendly search engines provide a closed environment with no access to the wider Internet. Others use a search filter to insure age-appropriate results.

Kid-friendly search engines are like training wheels for the Internet. They certainly don’t replace parenting. But, I certainly recommend using them while you are teaching your younger children how to search the Internet safely for information. Your kids will outgrow them. So use this time to teach your kids about safe, responsible online behavior.

Internet Safety Guidelines for Families

  1. Be sure to keep computers and devices in an open area of the home.
  2. Teach your kids to “click away” if they come across inappropriate content online.
  3. Be sure to let them know to tell you if they see anything upsetting or pornographic in nature.

Doing so gives you the opportunity to grab the URL from the browser history and block it or make appropriate changes to filters you are using.

Now that you have some basic guidelines in place, let’s look at how kid-friendly search engines work!

How Do Kid-Friendly Search Engines Work?

Some search engines for kids are self-contained and are COPPA certified. But, Google powers many of the search engines for kids. The difference between a regular Google search and these search engines for kids is they employ Google’s SafeSearch™ which screens for sites that contain explicit sexual content and deletes them from search results.

Google SafeSearch™ checks keywords, phrases, and URLs. SafeSearch™ isn’t 100 percent accurate, but it should eliminate most inappropriate material. I want to note, any of us can (and should) add Google’s SafeSearch™ to the devices our children are using as a common practice.

In addition to Google SafeSearch™, most kid-friendly search engines maintain their own database of inappropriate websites and keywords. This is called a Google Custom Search. The best search engines for kids keep a hearty updated custom search. And, they have a spot for reporting, so users can report any inappropriate content that makes it through both Google SafeSearch™ and the Google Custom Search they have in place. They want to know about issues so they can refine their custom search and prevent it from happening again.

We now have our family Internet guidelines in place. And we understand a bit about how kid-friendly search engines for kids work. So, let’s dive in and learn about some of the best search engines for kids!

Best Kid-Friendly Search Engines

Kido’z

Ages: 4+

Kido’z is a great option for younger kids. It’s FREE and available for both iOS and Android. There is also a direct file download, although I did get a notification warning me of possible security risks when I downloaded the file.

Kido’z is a password-protected, self-contained browser that when launched takes over the entire screen. It blocks your child from accessing any inappropriate content and instead offers a variety of kid-safe sites, games, and videos. With Kido’z, parents are in control of their child’s media usage.

Kido’z doesn’t just offer a kid-friendly search engine; they offer parental controls, so you can select, add, and delete content from your child’s browser. The controls also allow you to keep track of your child’s Internet usage. Kido’z comes with ad and in-app purchase blockers and is COPPA certified.

Blocks Ads: Yes

Blocks In-App Purchases: Yes

COPPA Certified: Yes

Ability to report inappropriate websites for removal: Yes

 

KidRex

Ages: 6+

KidRex is free. Kids will love the hand drawn dinosaur design of the site. In fact, what I love most about KidRex is that it’s not cluttered with distracting buttons and ads. It’s perfect for kids who are easily distracted. You will find ads, but these ads are at the bottom of the page. And, these sponsored links are always kid-friendly.

KidRex uses a combination of Google SafeSearch™  and Google Custom Search. They also have a webpage removal request tool. So users can report websites that need to be added to the list of inappropriate sites.

The simplicity of KidRex applies even to the way they handle a search which would normally pull inappropriate content for a child. KidRex will simply block the request and a message, “Oops!, Try Again” is displayed.

Blocks Ads: No

COPPA Certified: No

Ability to report inappropriate websites for removal: Yes

Family Digital Media Agreement

KidsSearch

Ages: 5+

KidsSearch is designed to be used with libraries and schools. It’s also perfect for home use. Kids will find KidsSearch a valuable search engine for researching topics. Like KidRex, KidsSearch uses Google SafeSearch™. They also add a custom search feature which screens outbound links using filters.

My favorite feature of KidsSearch is that kids can easily search by what they want to find: web, pictures, videos, games, and more. And, they do this all while allowing NO ADS. That’s a big deal! If your child has their own computer, consider setting KidsSearch as the default browser homepage.

KidsSearch uses feedback from the community. If you find a bad or inappropriate link, report it.

Blocks Ads: Yes

COPPA Certified: No

Ability to report inappropriate websites for removal: Yes

 

KidzSearch

Ages: 10+

KidzSearch uses Google SafeSearch™ to provide safe, adult content-free search results for kids. But, Google SafeSearch™ doesn’t catch everything. So, KidzSearch uses Google Custom Search to screen out curse words, and sexually explicit search terms.

One feature that makes KidzSearch stand out from other search engines for kids is they use filtering algorithms to detect super sneaky methods some kids use, like leet, to try to override filtering. Leet uses numbers and symbols which closely match the shapes of certain letters to override filtering. For example, the number “1” can be used for the letter “i,” and “5” can be used for “s.”

Although Safe Search and Custom Search are in place, it’s still possible for kids to stumble upon graphic details from articles taken from news sites. Also, be aware KidzSearch does allow ads on every page.

In addition to its search capabilities, KidzSearch posts education-related news and links to educational games. Kids can also post homework questions on a message board and access an online encyclopedia with over 20,000 articles.

My favorite feature in KidzSearch is Boolify. Boolify is the best visual tool I’ve found to teach children how to properly use a search engine. It does so by helping kids understand the use of Boolean operators in their online searches.

Boolify gives users colorful jigsaw pieces. These pieces can be dragged to the center board to construct a search. It’s a fun way for kids to “see” how their search can yield better results when they begin with their main keyword, and then modify it by dragging the other pieces like “And,” “Or,” “Not,” etc. to combine it with other keywords. If you’ve never learned how to narrow down your searches, try using Boolify on KidzSearch as a family!

And, because kids are often searching on mobile devices, KidzSearch has an app! It’s available for Kindle, Android, and iOS users. That’s right, all devices.

Blocks Ads: No

Blocks In-App Purchases: No

COPPA Certified: No

Ability to report inappropriate websites for removal: Yes

 

Kiddle

Ages 4+

Kiddle is not owned by Google. It makes use of Google’s Safe Search like many other search engines geared for kids. But it’s not owned or operated by Google, despite the Google-like appearance.

Search results are listed numerically. Understanding Kiddle’s numerical listing is key to using it as a search engine. I’d recommend Kiddle for kids who are a bit older.

1-3 are sites which have been hand picked and checked by Kiddle. These sites are safe for kids and are written for kids.

4-7 are sites which have been hand picked and checked by Kiddle. These sites aren’t written specifically for kids, but the content is written so kids can understand it.

8 & up are sites filtered with Google Safe Search. Content is popular for adults. So kids will find expert content on a topic, but it might be harder for them to read and understand, depending on their age.

Blocks Ads: No

COPPA Certified: No

Ability to report inappropriate websites for removal: Yes

 

Kid Info

Ages: 6+

Kid Info was started by a teacher as a resource to help kids with homework. Kids, teachers, and parents can find quality Pre-K-12 educational websites, videos, and PowerPoints which coincide with K – 12 curricula.

The site is organized by specific subjects for different grades, so it’s easy for kids to find age-appropriate tutorials and skill-builders. In addition to subject help, Kid Info also links to reference resources, including online atlases, calendars, and current events, as well as “fun sites” that link to kid-safe entertainment like magic tricks, puzzles and games, sports, and more.

The links are checked weekly to remove any broken or inappropriate content.

Blocks Ads: Yes

COPPA Certified: No

Ability to report inappropriate websites for removal: Yes

 

Fact Monster

Ages: 9-14

Fact Monster is a reference site for young students. It includes fun facts, homework help, and cool games and quizzes. However, it’s part of Information Please and does allow for safe searching. So, it’s definitely worth including in my list of Best Search Engines for Kids. Fact Monster is beautifully organized by subject area, so kids can quickly access the information they need.

Each subject area includes links to quizzes and games for special features and reinforcing skills. The Homework Center provides help on assignments and also provides tips for improving writing and study skills. Kids can also search the site by keyword with the onsite search tool.

One feature I love is Fact Monster shows kids exactly how to cite any article they use on the site.

Kids will find Daily Features, Cool Stuff, Games, and Quizzes, which make learning fun. But, they’ll also see a variety of ads on the site. The ads are age-appropriate, but can be a distraction for kids as they try to study.

Fact Monster is COPPA compliant. So parents can feel secure in knowing the information for their kids under 13 isn’t being harvested and shared with others.

Blocks Ads: No

COPPA Certified: Yes

Ability to report inappropriate websites for removal: No

It’s always a safe practice to supervise kids when they are searching online. Using one of these kid-friendly search engines is better than tossing your young child onto Google, Safari, or Firefox unfiltered. But, do so understanding search engines and filters for kids are a tool for families to use. They are not a parent.

 

 

The Best Kid-Friendly Search Engines
Do you have an inquisitive child who loves looking things up online? That’s great! But, as parents we know the internet contains information that’s not age appropriate for young kids. This list of kid-friendly search engines lets our young learners explore topics they're interested in while protecting them from content they're not ready to see.
#parenting #backtoschool

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