Google’s Search Engine
What It Is:
Google is a tech company that does a lot of things; its search engine is the biggest one on the net.
What It Does:
Go to Google.com and it’s your window into the world wide web. Type something into their search box and Google will show you all the websites where you can find what you’re looking for.
Google is the top Internet search engine by far. Sure there’s Yahoo and Bing, but Google commands over 70% of all search traffic; on mobile devices, 90% of users use Google for internet search. Clearly they’re doing something right, and with 2013 revenues of over $37 Billion, their right-doing is making them a ton of money.
Would My Child Want It?:
They’re probably already using it. A recent U.S. study says kids spend an average of 6 hours a day online—a staggering amount of time. And when they’re looking for something online, most kids use Google to find it.
What Should I Watch Out For?:
There’s no doubt that Google is a great tool for finding what your kids are looking for online. As with any search engine, there is a downside. You wouldn’t think of Google as a site packed with explicit content, but type in any term and up come the results in detail. To make matters worse, your kids can search for just images or videos related to the explicit search term they typed in. Now they have a whole screen full of whatever they want to look at without ever going to that site. Google does have a SafeSearch feature, but that can be easily turned on or off, so the search is only safe if you want it to be.
These same concerns hold true for the Google search app for mobile devices.
What We Think:
Great tools, like Google search, can have their flaws. It doesn’t mean we don’t use them. If we’re aware of the flaws we can talk to our kids about them and put some safeguards in place to help protect them like installing internet filtering software on our computers.