The following children’s search engines and portals are briefly introduced in this article:
Two favourites are selected from these, which seem to be particularly suitable for taking their first steps on the Internet with primary school pupils.
Nowadays, working with the computer is indispensable and the use of the Internet as a source of information is an important medium to keep up to date. It is therefore of particular relevance to start promoting the new medium “Internet” at an early age. Unfortunately, in the World Wide Web, as in real life, one does not only encounter good things. Links can easily hide dangers for children, be it sexual, pornographic or violence glorifying, from which they need protection. The development of children’s websites, which include search engines specially developed for children, is an attempt to ensure this protection. They have a similar structure to the adult search engine “Google”, but are only intended to store and call up certain pages that are safe for children and of educational value. In the following report, various children’s sites with search functions are presented and evaluated with regard to their security of the search terms, their commercial orientation as well as their offer and their visual design.
Blind Cow: Favorite 1
The website www.blindekuh.de is a website for children aged 6-14 with an integrated search engine. Its name goes back to the well-known children’s game “Blinde Kuh”. The project of this search machine was created 1997 by Birgit Bachmann and is honorary to today.
Bright brains: Favourite 2
The website www.helles-koepfchen.de is similar to the “Blinde Kuh” with numerous offers such as games, news and information for children. In terms of its particularly good graphic design, it receives one more plus point than the “Blind Cow”. It is aimed at children and young people aged 8-16.
Here, too, strict criteria apply for the inclusion of new websites in the search engine. The editorial staff carefully checks every page that is to be called up by “Helles Köpfchen” to see whether it meets the requirements for inclusion.
www.milkmoon.de is a website with a search engine aimed at children aged 7-14. There is also a lot of information, games and other suggestions for young people. It finances itself exactly like bright little head over advertisement, which is immediately noticeable with the Durchstbern of the side. Pages that are included in the search engine are also subject to strict selection criteria. They must correspond to the requirements of the protection of minors.
www.trampeltier.de is one of the children’s search engines, but is by no means recommended for children. The site is littered with advertisements that finance it. There is more advertising than information for children on this site. The “Bactrian camel” is neither visually appealing nor particularly safe.
www.fragfinn.de is aimed at children aged 6-12. This website was welcomed in 2007 by the German Chancellor under the initiative “Ein Netz für Kinder als erste geschützter Surfraum für Kinder in Deutschland” (A network for children as the first protected surfing space for children in Germany). The site offers a lot of games, information, news and the chat “Seitenstark”. The search engine on www.fragfinn.de has a so-called whitelist, in which only harmless websites for children that have previously been approved by media educators are stored.
Fragfinn also offers software that uses this whitelist to set up a comprehensive content check for children on the PC. The content filtering software is presented here in more detail in our practice text.
In a comparison of the various search engines, the “blind cow” and “bright brain” score best by far in terms of safety, quality of search results and pedagogically valuable offerings for children.
When using “Milkmoon” and “Frag Finn”, however, you should be more cautious. Advertising links on www.milkmoon.de can lead to internet shops and on www.fragfinn.de security gaps can occur here and there with regard to the links called up by the search engine.
“Trampeltier” is to be evaluated as “unsuitable for children” with regard to safety and quality of the search results (links for advertising products are very frequently listed here) as well as not very appealing with regard to design and offer of the website.
In general, the use of children’s search engines, which I got to know through the Intel course, to introduce children to the safe use of the Internet can be a good thing, as long as you as a parent or teacher have studied the subject extensively and know about possible dangers.
Before you, as a responsible pedagogue, have your children’s pages on the Internet researched by your guardian, it would be best to have a look at them yourself beforehand. The offer is large and as could be shown in this article the providers differ.