Kid-Friendly Search Engines


With the headline Kid-Friendly Search Engines, The Washington Post has repackaged a sales brochure for NetTrekker, an Internet filtering (censorship?) tool aimed at the US Elementary School market.

Too bad the article didn't discuss the social and technical issues involved. The breadth and scope of the tool is not at all clear.

There is discussion of porn filtering; while I doubt elementary school is the best time to be exposed to porn, I have no doubt kids will be exposed to it one way or another. In the pre-digital age, I remember the victorian-era “trading cards” we surreptitiously passed around - serving as an introduction to the human anatomy of the fairer sex for us boys well before our elders thought appropriate.

The NetTrekker web site does give pause for reflection. They note

All resources in netTrekker classic directly support YOUR state standards and benchmarks.

So more is being filtered than just porn? Presumably kids growing up in Texas need to be protected more than those in California?


Kid-Friendly - A Monumental Feat

From the Washington Post...

Their product features a "Report a Site" link that allows users to submit an objectionable site for review and possible removal from the search engine.

Too Late. Doesn't work. The kid has already been exposed and do you think they are going to report it? But, with the editorial control at the front end as they specify they do, hopefully that Report a Site feature is never used. And, who determines what is and isn't safe for kids? I have a 6 year old daughter. While some parents may think one thing is fine, others may not. This is a very touchy subject to say the least, and for many!

Have movie ratings been successful? We all know that rated "G" is the best we are going to get for our children. Then you have PG, PG-13, R, NC-17, NR, X and XXX. As a parent, do you think your 10-12 year old is not going to be exposed to PG-13 and R material without your presence? Come on now, get real. ;)

Let's target the kids that are more susceptible to this and that is the .1-10 group. These days, kids grow up a lot quicker than we did (for those of us 40+). Heck, they know stuff at the age of 12 that many of us didn't even think of until 15 or older. The companies that are going to excel in this area will be those like Disney, Nickelodeon, BBC, etc.

They also understand the magnitude of trying to keep the Internet clean for children -- and are hoping that Yahoo, Google and other mainstream sites will become more responsible with the results they deliver.

Lot's of talk about these days with the SERPs. Lawsuits flying about, many dissatisfied with the way PPC has progressed, etc. The days of the Wild West are slowly coming to a halt. The three majors will at some point in the near future be forced into editorial control of their advertisers. I also believe penalties will become more mainstream and, stiff ones at that. The government will at some point have a direct influence over the Internet. If not the government, then some other recognized body that has just as much power. Can't think of one of those yet. ;)

"Right now, nothing is being done," he said. "Maybe what we're doing can bring awareness and raise an eyebrow with the bigger companies."

Good luck. I really hope that they can have an impact.

I have to be real about the scope of this. It's not just the Internet that I as a responsible parent have to worry about. It's up to me to make sure that I provide a secure environment for my daughter during these critical years. One day she is going to wake up and find that she is a young lady and not Daddy's Little Girl anymore. That's the day I'm worried about. I have a level of control over everything else but that. ;)

Its about

the market. If there is a perceived problem, there are those who will offer solutions.

Back in the day you could pick up Playboy, Penthouse, etc. at the corner supermarket or drug store, social pressure said NO, so just because its there doesn't mean everyone is inclined to keep it THERE.

There is plenty of money on the table in the area of "clean" web services.

Who said the net was for kids?

Other than researchers, the net was built on porn, what do you think inspired the nerds to have kids in the first place?

Even ecommerce was created just as a way to charge people for porn over the net, and THAT's a fact.

So who are these incompetent parents and teachers letting childred loose on the house that porn built?

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