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We spent the morning trying to break this child-friendly search engine

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David Cornish
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Google has some competition for your kids, after the launch of a new child-friendly version search engine: 'Kiddle'.

It's a great idea; parents can point their web browsers to Kiddle, which will only return search results that are safe, trusted and, more often than not, written for kids. 

Search engines - the keepers of the internet - are only too aware of the sinister evils lurking in the darker corners of the web. It's easier than ever for an innocent kid to find something hideous with a single entry to a search engine - so any tool that helps protect them is a good thing. But just how effective is Kiddle - an engine that might look like Google, but has no relation to them. While it blocks off the obvious search inputs, we decided to pump some colloquial terms into Kiddle that any kid might pick up in the playground. 

Here's how it did.

  • We spent the morning trying to break this child-friendly search engine

    Smeg

    Meaning: "the secretion of the glands of the foreskin"

    Okay, so it's not the most offensive of swears - but Kiddle does return some results for the famed Red Dwarf insult (including a definition). 

    Offensive rating: 1/5

  • We spent the morning trying to break this child-friendly search engine 1

    NSFW

    Meaning: Acronym of 'not safe for work', highlighting media content that isn't suitable for viewing in a place of work, or generally in public

    Yep. Kiddle will return some articles labelled 'not safe for work'. Most of them are safe for work, and are safe for your kids, but it might produce some slightly awkward conversations as you attempt to explain to your child why "NSFW" isn't a term they should go punching into search engines.

    Offensive rating: 2/5

  • We spent the morning trying to break this child-friendly search engine 2

    Gyppo

    Meaning: Variation on "Gypsy" - people of Romani origin. Often used with offensive connotations

    So Kiddle can return search results for terms that might have an offensive 'real world' context, but that provide "safe" articles.

    Offensive rating: 2/5

  • We spent the morning trying to break this child-friendly search engine 3

    Honkie

    Meaning: "Derived from an African American pronunciation of 'hunky', the disparaging term for a Hungarian labourer... insulting term for a white person"

    This is an odd one. If a kid were to search the term "honky" on Kiddle, they get a friendly "bad word" warning. Change the spelling to "honkie" and it does return results.

    Offensive rating: 4/5

  • We spent the morning trying to break this child-friendly search engine 4

    Bell End

    Wait, what?

    Meaning: Slang term for "penis"...

    ...or in this case, the village in the English county of Worcestershire. 

    Offensive rating: 1/5

  • We spent the morning trying to break this child-friendly search engine 5

    Niggar

    Meaning: Variation on the spelling of 'nigger', a contemptuous term for a black person

    Another example of Kiddle blocking the conventional spelling of a word, but allowing a slight variation to return search results.

    No - none of those links are going to give your kid anything seriously damaging, but it's just an odd gap in the system.

    Offensive rating: 4/5

  • We spent the morning trying to break this child-friendly search engine 6

    Fubb

    Meaning: Slang for "F*cked Up Beyond Belief"

    "Mummy, Mummy - did you and Daddy get all 'fubb' last night?"

    An acronym that isn't going to cause anyone any offence until they work out what it means, allowing any kid to feel that rush of adrenaline every time they use it unchecked. 

    Offensive rating: 3/5

     

  • We spent the morning trying to break this child-friendly search engine 7

    Skag

    Meaning: Slang variation on heroin

    Another weird one - while "heroin" is blocked by Kiddle, variations on the drug's name such as skag does produce results. Your eight-year-old kid isn't about to become a dealer with this kind of search, but it's odd to block one word and not the other?

    Offensive rating: 2/5

  • We spent the morning trying to break this child-friendly search engine 8

    Show Girls

    Meaning: A damn awful, explicit film from 1994 following a Las Vegas show girl/stripper

    Again, nothing too sinister here - but Kiddle does return a result that'll take your kids to a page to view the trailer for this car-crash piece of cinema. It's not explicit, it's just bad.

    Offensive rating: 2/5 

  • We spent the morning trying to break this child-friendly search engine 9

    Glory hole

    Meaning: We're not sure we know any more

    We had thought this was a term to describe something a bit mucky - but for some reason Kiddle returns a bunch of image results that largely relate to NASA's search for black holes. 

    Offensive rating: 0/5

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David Cornish

Shortlist.com’s esteemed Tech Editor. David has a keen interest in video games, Star Wars and stuff that runs on batteries.

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