I have to admit, I haven’t been keeping up on search tools for kids. So when a colleague popped GoGooligans into my del.icio.us account I thought I’d take a look.
The first thing that I noticed was a note saying they were keeping track of all my searches and matching it to my IP address. Supposed to scare our kids into behaving? I don’t know, it probably would have worked on me as a 5 year old, but that was a different era and at that age I remember thinking the police were going to arrest me for breaking a light bulb so I’m not a good judge of how paranoid the average child is these days. I suspect a lot less so than I was.
Overcoming the 5 year old in me, I trotted out the old “mars explorer”, “breast cancer”, “essex county” and gloversville searches. All but gloversville were blocked. So “love” is finally an ok word, that used to get blocked by filters too. But no hope for the kid wanting to know something about breast cancer, exploring mars or even about the geography or economy of Essex County.
I continued on to the version for older students. It has a nice drop down box to let students select from over 30 specific news, encyclopedia and other reference type sites. That’s very handy. But still a search for “breast cancer” limited to the WebMD site was blocked. Totally counterproductive.
And finally the thing that left me with a totally creeped out, queasy feeling? A link that says “hey kid … click this button when your parents or teacher aren’t looking!!!” Which does a popup box saying “Your parents or teacher may not be watching you right now. BUT WE ARE. So stay on task, study hard and be a good student. Strive to be successful.”
So, I’m not a parent of young children, maybe I’d like this search engine if I were. But I think I’d be using Yahoo Kids with them instead.
What are some other tools that people are using with younger kids these days?