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Definitions

Contracts with Kids discuss and set up rules for computer use.

Time Limiting limits time online.

Filtering & Blocking limits access to some sites, words, and/or images.

Block Outgoing Content prevents kids from revealing personal information online.

Browsers for Kids do not display inappropriate words or images.

Kid-Oriented Search Engines perform limited searches or screen search results.

Monitoring Tools alert adults to online activity without blocking access.

There are both pros and cons to keep in mind when using these types of tools.

Please Note: GetNetWise staff gathered this information from the companies that make these tools. We cannot guarantee the effectiveness of these products, nor do we endorse any products.

Other Information

How ISPs are Helping -- Many Internet and online service providers also offer safety solutions by selling or including these tools with their services and adopting "Acceptable Use Policies", or "Terms of Service Agreements".

Web Ratings Systems -- Many companies that produce Web sites voluntarily rate and label their sites, using a system knows as "PICS" (Platform for Internet Content Selection).

Internet Issues in the Community -- When children use the Internet in school or in a library, their experiences will be different than when they are at home. Libraries and schools may have different rules for Internet use than your family, because they must serve the needs of diverse children and families.

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Home / Tools for Families / Pros & Cons of Filtering / Kids' search engines

Kids' search engines

These are free Web tools, called search engines that both parents and children can use to search the Net for sites that are interesting or entertaining, with the security of knowing that the results of their searches will almost always be appropriate for families. Some kids' search engines rely on filtering schemes to filter out inappropriate Web pages, while others have preselected lists of good content that you can search through.

Precision

Kids' search engines sometimes define their content through the use of a filtering tool. In those cases, the results can only be as precise as the tool being used. In other cases, the content comes fom preselected lists, compiled through human review of Web sites, that are highly precise. It is important to remember, though -- kid-safe search engines do not filter Internet content in general, just the results that come up when you enter a search. Search engines alone cannot prevent Web users from visiting inappropriate sites, but they can encourage children to do otherwise.

Control

Whoever maintains the engine often has almost total control over its functioning. Sometimes parents can toggle various settings, but final authority over how the engines work, or over the ways in which Web pages are filtered, is often out of their hands.

Scalability

Search engines' scalability will vary along with the ways in which they find appropriate Web sites. Those engines which use preselected lists will take time to adapt to the influx of new sites, while those which use an on-the-fly sort of filtering scheme (such as keyword-based filtering or another form of rapid filtering) will usually be able to deal with them without any problem.

Physical safety protections

Kids' search engines can only redirect your children to positive content; they often can't protect your child's emotional or physical well being should they venture away from the sites suggested by the engine.

Functionality costs

Even the most expansive search engines cannot comb more than a fraction of all the Internet's resources -- the Internet is simply too big, and is growing too fast. Kids' search engines by definition take a narrower approach to the Internet's content, and as such, they are often less powerful than some of their larger, more fully functional brethren, although they are a good deal more safe for kids.

 
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