Playing with Kids’ Search Engines

Looking for the best ways of discovering kid-friendly content on the web? Check out our just-updated listings and reviews of Kids’ Search Engines.

It almost goes without saying that allowing children unfettered access to the web is a really bad idea. It’s hard enough for an experienced adult to avoid spam, porn and other unsavory content on the web. Fortunately, there are some outstanding services that not only steer kids clear of the nasty stuff, but also help them find age-appropriate information.

I’ve updated Search Engine Watch’s listings of kid friendly search services to include a number of new, very high quality sites. I’ve also added a section about filtering software, which works across the entire web, not just for search results. Most filtering software provides a fair amount of control for parents to determine what it and is not allowable content.

Here’s a taste of what’s available on that page, describing the filtering options available at the major search engines:

Search Engine Filtering Options

Most major search engines get their listings by crawling the web, rather than through human review and categorization, as with the sites listed above. This means its easy for possibly objectionable material to appear in search results.

As a solution, most major search engines offer some type of filtering ability. It’s meant to keep out porn content and other material that most might not want children to encounter.

These filters are not perfect. Some material does get past them, and some safe material may get filtered out. To understand more about this, see the Harvard Criticizes Google’s Adult Content Filter article that ran in our SearchDay newsletter in April 2003.

Below are tips on enabling porn filters for major search engines.

AllTheWeb: Use the Basic Settings page to enable the Offensive Content Filter option. The only works for searches in English.

AltaVista: Use the Family Filter Setup page.

AOL Search: Doesn’t appear to offer a filter, but enabling Parental Controls might have an impact on web search matches.

Ask Jeeves: Use options for Content Filtering on the Your Settings page or try Ask Jeeves For Kids, listed above.

Google: See the SafeSearch help page for instructions on setting up filtering on a permanent or as-needed basis.

HotBot: Use the Block Offensive Content section of the Filter Preferences page. Note that you may need to set this again if you change from using the default “HotBot” search engine that’s offered.

LookSmart: LookSmart has never accepted adult content for listing within its directory results. However, obscure queries might bring these up in the crawler-based results that are sometimes provided.

Lycos: Use the Block Offensive Content section of the Advanced Search Filters page.

MSN Search: Use the Safe Search Filter on the Settings page.

Teoma: Teoma doesn’t appear to offer a filter.

Yahoo: Set the SafeSearch Filter option via the Search Preferences page.

Want to learn more about kid friendly search services? Visit the Kids Search Engines section of Search Engine Watch.

Search Headlines

NOTE: Article links often change. In case of a bad link, use the publication’s search facility, which most have, and search for the headline.

Sabre Holdings Buys Travel Search Engine
Dow Jones Apr 6 2005 12:24AM GMT
Gore TV Network to Launch in August, Google Tie-In Open this result in new window
Reuters Apr 5 2005 11:27PM GMT
Yahoo goes to the mat to keep Semel
CNET Apr 5 2005 9:49PM GMT
Submitting your site to search engines and directories
Pandia Apr 5 2005 9:47PM GMT
Oneupweb releases an online trademark monitoring service Apr 5 2005 9:39PM GMT
Web Search Companies Hunker Down Apr 5 2005 7:22PM GMT
La France Contre Google
Washington Post Apr 5 2005 7:18PM GMT
Blinkx Integrated Search Tool Turns Three
NewsFactor Apr 5 2005 7:16PM GMT
A Cherry-Tomato Winner Apr 5 2005 5:38PM GMT
Internet Firms Face Legal Test on Advertising Fees
Dow Jones Apr 5 2005 4:45PM GMT
Yahoo AutoLinker
Google Blogoscoped Apr 5 2005 4:39PM GMT
WiFi Search Sites Offer Spring Freedom
Search Engine Guide Apr 5 2005 4:37PM GMT
MSN Replaces InfoSpace With
Media Post Apr 5 2005 4:35PM GMT
Seasonality and SEM Campaigns
ClickZ Today Apr 5 2005 4:34PM GMT

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