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Are Kids Search Engine Savvy? – 2009 Edition

This morning I read an article in the New York Times titled: Helping Children Find What They Need on the Internet written by Stefanie Olsen. The article discusses that online searches are still challenging for kids even though there are many choices available such as Google, Yahoo, Bing and many others. Some of the challenges identified were the children finding the right keywords to use for the search.

User content sites like Wikipedia are also helpful but parents should get involved to make sure results are valid. Yahoo also has a website for kids called Yahoo Kids. Answers.com allows the user to input a question such as “What are the names of the US Presidents” then an answer is returned. Common Sense Media has a section with website reviews by age.

This made me think back to my post from 2008 titled “Are Kids Search Engine Savvy?” where I included links to some kid friendly sites. In that post I had found a site called “Kid Safe Search sites” that had a site made by Librarians called “Kids Click“.

To solve this challenge, maybe the search engine sites should hire Librarians, parents and kids to show their needs and have that reflected in the programming for the search engines. True to the points made in the New York Times article about children searching on the Internet, my 5th grader starts with image and video searchs and even has “voice” activation working on his MACbook – so the future needs of search should include a multi-platform approach. Bing’s Visual search, Google’s multiple search options and Yahoo’s advance video searches are good examples.

I will start to look at other new kid friendly sites as well to update my 2008 post. More to come..

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