Navigating the internet can be a nightmare for parents looking to shield their young kids from harmful content. A new child-specific search engine dubbed Kiddle claims to be a safe solution to this problem, but has been marred by controversy ever since its launch.
Kiddle’s results are sourced from Google safe search and filtered by editors. Note that the brand is not actually affiliated with Google itself, despite its similar colorful logo and layout. While the site doesn’t identify its parent company on its page, a blog post by one of its early testers says it was founded by a Russian who owns a website called Freaking News.
Kiddle claims its results fulfill family friendly standards by getting rid of explicit or deceptive content. It uses large thumbnails and fonts to offer better readability to children. It attempts to provide kid-oriented answers by ensuring the first few which show up are handpicked by editors and written for kids and the rest are safe sites.
However, Kiddle has been lambasted for blocking a number of terms such as LGBT, menstruation, transgender, death, gay, lesbian and suicide. Previously, searching for these did not throw up any results or were classified as a bad word. The brand now seems to have taken in some of the criticism it was at the receiving end of and changed this to a certain extent.
While suicide and death still don’t yield any answers, others such as LGBT and transgender do. Kiddle is clearly still a work in progress and should include results for the first two to help at-risk children find support for their problems. The firm asserts that it doesn’t collect any personal information and deletes its logs every 24 hours.
Our experience with Kiddle
Wet t-shirt, 4chan, hot girl, Paris Hilton, beheading, Kim Kardashian, Islamic state and a string of other ‘suspect’ search terms are taboo for Kiddle. But not Kate Upton or Hilton. If you look for images of people, you mostly get mug shots only. And we’re not sure if the ads visible the right-hand side of the search page are filtered or not.
So let’s just say that parental supervision is the best way to go until Kiddle is refined to a greater extent.