This weekend we heard of the newly launched kid-friendly search engine, Kiddle.
We rejoiced that perhaps there was finally a place for our kids to safely navigate online research for school reports and their endless barrages of questions we can’t answer. (What are teeth made of? What happens if you pee your pants in space? What animal is the dumbest?)
With a familiar-feeling, colorful logo, Kiddle describes itself as a “visual search engine for kids, powered by editors and Google safe search.”
According to the About page, the top returns are hand filtered, pulling out “explicit or deceptive content” and accompanied by large thumbnails and an easy to read arial font. They are up front that they do not collect any personally identifiable information and that logs are deleted every 24 hours.
Yes, the word “Google” is included. However, the company, which is based in the US and the Netherlands, is not owned by Google. (Despite repeated false reports.)
That’s fine. Not a deal breaker.
However, with all due respect to these very human editors, after giving it a test drive, I’m relatively unimpressed.
Searches for vagina, dung, penis, balls (I thought for sure I could slip this one by) and sex are returned by a disgruntled robot saying, “Oops, looks like your query contained some bad words. Please try again!”
But type in “weiner,” and the Google served ad is for Crackle’s streaming offering (and arguably Keenan Thompson’s most embarrassing work) the R-rated movie “Weiners.” Which, as it turns out, can be summed up by IMDB’s plot keywords “breast” “female nudity” “female frontal nudity” and “road trip.”
WHERE ARE YOU NOW, MR. ROBOT?
Another pain point happens to be celebrities who may or may not have appeared in their own versions of Girls Gone Wild. Pamela Anderson and Paris Hilton are both “bad words,” while certain Kardashians are searchable, but produce articles with admissions of sex tapes. (COUGH*Khloe*COUGH)
Also worth noting kids, be sure you choose murderers over spoiled socialites for your biography reports if you’re using Kiddle.
Finally, if your curious kid were to want more information about homosexuality, gay people, or breasts, the same mascot offers, “Sorry, can’t help you with this query. Please try again!”
You know what? Come to think of it, maybe I’d rather tackle these kid questions instead.