Helping younger children stay safe while searching for valuable information on the internet can be challenging. Here are some tips to help students search for information as well as some search engines exclusively for younger children.
Choose your search terms carefully. Be precise about what you are looking for, and use phrases and not full sentences.
Add more words to narrow a search. Use Boolean searches to narrow your topic with quotation marks. There's a big difference between the search term “gopher” and “habitats of gophers in North America.”
Use synonyms. If students can’t find what they're looking for, have them try keywords that mean the same thing or are related.
Search within a site. Typing the word site: (with the colon) after your keyword and before a URL will tell Google to search within a specific website.
Add a minus sign. Adding a minus sign immediately before any word, with no space in between, indicates that you don't want that word to appear in your search results. For example, "Saturn -cars" will give you information about the planet, not the automobile.
Kid-friendly search engines
Protecting students from unsafe content is the most important reason for using search engines made specifically for kids. These search engines filter out inappropriate content and are also visually appealing to kids. We suggest you explore the following:
Boolify: This site is a graphical search learning tool so it's not only a search engine but it teaches strategies for searching by using puzzle piece images to illustrate how to put words together for effective searches.
Kids Click: A free web search site designed for kids by librarians with kid-friendly results. For grades 2-5.
Safe Search Kids: This is a custom search engine using Google’s Safe Search features with additional filtering to block more potentially harmful material than if you simply use Google. It is fun, colorful and easy for kids to use.
Google Kid Search: This is another safe search engine powered by Google for Grades K-8. However, please be aware there are ads on this site.