2020 has been an interesting year to say the least, as the COVID-19 pandemic affected many areas of our lives from financial uncertainty to a dramatic decrease in face-to-face interactions. The use of digital communication has skyrocketed this past year as families are using the internet more and more not only for social communication but for remote learning, work and other activities like shopping or watching movies.
During this time, it’s unrealistic to keep kids away from devices and browse the internet. When children are online by themselves, they may search words they think are innocuous, but the results might be pornographic or violent. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people online that use coding to warp search results, so for example, a search that pulls up a site that looks like toys might lead to somewhere inappropriate. It’s important to give your kids guidance on how to search properly, and let them know you’re open to talk if they find something inappropriate. With more people online than ever before and the technology landscape changing on a regular basis, it’s important for parents to understand the safe search options available for their children. Below are some of the best family friendly search sites that came out on top in 2020 and will continue to take the spotlight in the new year.
- Kiddle – Kiddle.co is a web search engine and online encyclopedia that emphasizes safety for young children. After you enter the search word, Kiddle presents the first three results as safe and written specifically for kids and checked by Kiddle editors. The next four search results are not written specifically for kids, but still presented in a kid friendly language. The eighth result and anything else beyond that are still considered safe sites; however, they are written for adults and harder for kids to understand.
- GOFBA – GOFBA is a secure search engine and communication platform that provides the safest internet user experience worldwide. It is the first and only family friendly search engine and mega-site that offers more than 40 million users – including parents and children – with a protected online experience. GOFBA contains many integrated modules including search, chat, news, email, storage, and file transfer. Unlike other big tech and social media companies who are controlling today’s news and giving users fake information, GOFBA offers a real and fair news approach along with a centrist technological ideology to millions of people around the world. GOFBA gives internet users a choice for a safe solution for utilizing the internet by effectively excluding inappropriate material such as violence, pornography, sexual predators, and vulgarity, while also providing an unparalleled level of secure encryption to ensure all data is private.
- KidzSearch – KidzSearch is a visual child-safe search engine and web portal with academic autocomplete that emphasizes safety for children. With safe search technology and additional search term filtering for added safety, results are customized by pushing age-appropriate content higher up. Large thumbnails are provided to make results more visual and easier for children to understand. KidzSearch is used in thousands of schools each day and visited by 14 million people per month. Along with the safe search aspects, KidzSearch also selects news articles that are appropriate for kids that can be “up voted” by the user. They also offer a music service which includes kid-friendly stations.
It’s important to have open conversations with your kids about how they’re using the internet and communicating with others online. Work with your kids to create rules and time limits for using the internet. All of the tools listed above are great resources for parents to utilize as we continue managing work and school remotely amidst shelter-in-place orders. These programs can streamline how you monitor your kids’ internet usage and device habits and create a safer, more secure online space for your kids.