I've always wondered if I would be able to survive without the Internet. Don't get me wrong—I like to think of myself as a fairly self-sufficient and competent individual, but I know I rely far too often on the magic of Google, both for maps and the answers to life's banal questions. And while the wealth of knowledge is great for school projects and finding the ages of various celebrities, it can sometimes land us in trouble. Think of accidentally opening that X-rated spam email, or clicking a seemingly innocent link that redirects to something you would never want to be stored in your computer's history.
This problem multiplies tenfold when you have children on the Internet. While there are plenty of website filters and parental control apps you can take advantage of, it's hard not to worry something will slip through the cracks when you consider the vast amount of information online. Enter another weapon to add to your arsenal: Kiddle, a new kid-friendly search engine.
While the design and color scheme may remind you of Google, the site is not actually affiliated with the Internet behemoth—it's just powered by Google safe-search technology. The site doesn't allow users to search for words that may be damaging to children (an "Oops, try again!" message appears alongside a whimsical robot), and filters out any unsavory results links from the searches that do go through. In addition, the results are designed to make scrolling easier for little eyes; possible web pages appear in a larger, easy-to-read font alongside bigger thumbnail images.
According to the Kiddle site, results are chosen and filtered by Kiddle editors, and even show up in order of the most kid-friendly to the least (meaning they are websites that would be harder for kids to understand, not that they contain explicit materials). While the blocking feature is not entirely perfect (many news sites note the inability to search words like "LGBT" or "transgender," though I had no issue when searching them on Kiddle myself), it certainly takes a step forward in simplifying the process of making the web a little safer for kids.
Riyana Straetker is an editorial assistant at Parents who has googled everything from the proper use of apostrophes to the world's largest piece of cheese. Follow her on Twitter.