Kiddle, a new child friendly search engine with built-in word blocks, has gone viral. With the aim of allowing parents to rest easy while their young children surf the web, the search engine filters adult content, blocking words such as menstruation, lesbian and gay, and even balls.
Powered by Google safe search
Registered in 2014, Kiddle is powered by Google safe search but has no connection with the tech giant. The parent company is not named on the site, but it is said to have been launched by the Russian founder of a site called Freaking News.
One feature encourages users to participate in the filtering process and asks them to submit a form with suggestions of additional key words they believe should be blocked.
Despite the claim that search results are “handpicked and checked” by its editors, certain anomalies abound, including the blocking of the term circumcision but not of FGM (female genital mutilation), suicide but not self-harm, the actress Pamela Anderson but not Fifty Shades of Grey.
Among other controversies, The LGBT group Stonewall expressed disappointment that terms like lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender are blocked, something Kiddle claims is due to the site not being able to guarentee the safety of such searches.
Kiddle angers LGBT community
“Young people regularly use the internet to find information on LGBT issues,” a Stonewall spokesperson said. “Attempting to stop young people finding safe and age-appropriate content of this nature will force many young lesbian, gay, bi and trans people to seek it elsewhere. This can take individuals down inappropriate avenues which might put them at risk. Kiddle should rethink its approach to blocking valuable LGBT advice and information.”
On the other side of the coin, Kiddle states that it had received complaints “from parents and teachers” before the terms were blocked during early testing stages.
Other content blocking, like the term “sex education” were chosen more for the the illustrations contained within many sites hosting the material than for the content itself.
Kiddle states on their website, “Since Kiddle results are either handpicked and checked by our editors or filtered by Google safe search, you know you get kid-oriented results without any explicit content. In case some bad words are present in a search query, our guard robot will block the search.”
The site adds that the server logs are deleted daily without storing any user data.