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Say hello to Kiddle: the child-protecting search engine

Good for blocking breasts and celebgate-related news. Bad for bunnies.

Remember “celebgate” – the widespread hack of hundreds of iCloud accounts which saw the internet flooded with intimate pictures of Jennifer Lawrence, Rihanna and a whole host of others?

Google certainly does. A search for celebgate returns over 360,000 results.

Take that same search term over to Kiddle – the new child friendly search engine that filters out the filth – and what do you get? Nothing. Not a single result.

That’s because Kiddle, which has a Google Custom Search bar embedded in the site, filters out all adult content.

Some search terms return no results while others, such as “spank” or “Pamela Anderson” make the cartoon robot glower from the search engine’s moon-based theme as it tells you that you tried to search for “some bad words.”

“Try again,” says frowny robot.

So I do, using a not-so-safe version of Google search, and, um, yes, I can see how some parents might think Kiddle is a good idea.

But as Sky News reports, Kiddle doesn’t stop everything that might stain the innocence of youth.

Depending on what content discomfits parents, these items might or might not prove problematic, for example:

  • A search on “rabbit” returns a story about a real-life Wallace and Gromit monster bunny stalking a UK village, where it faces a shoot-to-kill policy.
  • A search on “Kardashian baby” delivers a photo of Kourtney Kardashian apparently delivering her own baby, pulling the mucus-slimed miracle out from between her thighs in a scene that’s sure to spark hours of lively dinnertime conversation. Maybe over roast bunny.

Kiddle says that it uses Google safe search or manual selection to ensure that search results satisfy family friendly requirements, as “we filter sites with explicit or deceptive content.”

It also offers the ability for users to request additional keyword or site blocking.

For each query, it returns results in this order:

  1. Safe sites and pages written specifically for kids. Handpicked and checked by Kiddle editors. Typically, these rank as results 1-3.
  2. Safe, trusted sites that are not written specifically for kids, but have content written in a simple way, easy for kids to understand. Handpicked and checked by Kiddle editors. Typically, results 4-7.
  3. Safe, famous sites that are written for adults, providing expert content, but are harder for kids to understand. Filtered by Google safe search. Typically, results 8 onwards.

When it comes to censoring the internet to protect children, we ran a poll a few years ago, asking readers whether it would work.

About 80% of readers said no.

We were, at the time, reporting about the UK government’s criticism of ISPs and search engines: Prime Minister David Cameron had said that they were falling short of their moral obligations when it comes to identifying or removing illegal images of abuse.

Kiddle is different. Kiddle is a curated feed, for kids, that parents can choose to have their kids use, or not, as opposed to state-sanctioned censorship.

What do you think? Is Kiddle a step in the right direction towards protecting our kids online? Does it go too far? Or not far enough? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


All power to them. Maybe it’s not perfect, but it’s a start. As a parent who also works in IT, I know a fair bit of what’s out there and how easy it is for the most innocent of searches (or the easiest of spelling mistakes) to give you results that you really don’t want your kids to see. For example, consider the closeness of ‘d’ and ‘f’ on the keyboard and what that could mean for a child who wants to search for a picture of a duck.

It’s not about abdicating parental responsibility – I work to ensure that my kids are educated to understand there is good and bad on the internet and we combine that with some basic filtering too. However, I cannot possibly check the result of every click, search and word they type before they do it. Anything that helps me to help them gets my vote.


I like the idea. I tried searching for “is it okay to be gay?” and got a block message “You have entered an LGBT related search query. Please realize that while Kiddle has nothing against the LGBT community, it’s hard to guarantee the safety of all the search results for such queries. We recommend that you talk to your parent or guardian about such topics.”
As a kid, if I was questioning my identity, that would terrify me. So, I tried a search for “is it okay to be transgender?” it came up with relevant search results instead. That was a relief. Being a kid who is questioning the gender they were assigned is confusing and scary. At least they can read up enough to find out that they aren’t broken or “wrong” for even wondering about it.
I know kids shouldn’t be worrying about sexuality, but you get a feel for who you fancy at an early age, and not being able to search about being gay or bisexual, but being able to search about gender identity sends a mixed message. It is still a step in the right direction.
I hope they find a way to filter down the “who I am attracted to” questions into something kid-appropriate.


It’s interesting as an option, and options are good. I recently switched the children over to YouTube Kids for fear that they’d inadvertently come across videos that were unsuitable.


I think its a cool tool for parents to use but its not a cure all. Children are a lot smarter than what parents give them credit for. And as soon as they learn how to read there really isn’t much stopping them from just going to another search engine. Parents are the biggest filter when it comes to monitoring what your children are doing/watching on the web. They always have been and always will be.


This is not a complaint, but a question: Why do articles and discussion of this sort only ever consider the needs of parents and completely ignore the much greater needs of schools? Schools can be hit with ruinous law suits when some kid views or downloads something he or she shouldn’t have. They can get into all sorts of trouble if Internet filters are deemed imperfect by some snoopy person or busybody. And, of course, perfection is impossible. I wonder what it will take to solve the squaring of the circle problem schools have: on one hand they are required to enter the Internet age, on the other they risk their very existence when they do, especially independent schools.


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