Author Archives: kidzblog

What is Safe Search and How to Use it.

Safe Search

Safe Search is a Google based program (they call it SafeSearch™) intended to filter out adult material when children are using the internet. It does this by disallowing pages of sites that contain certain unacceptable words as well as by blocking certain websites completely. They also have a very advanced method of looking at images and video to determine if they contain adult content.

SafeSearch works with search engines that have been designed for it, such as, although other engines, including itself support it . However, when KidzSearch is selected as the search engine, SafeSearch is automatically turned on to the highest level of filtering and will always be activated while KidzSearch is being used.

While many people just use and set filtering to Strict, you need to be aware that even Google’s most strict setting is made for a general audience and not focused on children. As a way of dealing with this, KidzSearch provides several additional layers of filtering to make it suitable for kids.  In today’s world, new words and sometimes even innocent words can suddenly have pornographic meanings. KidzSearch has the ability to quickly become aware of these words, including their spelling variations, in their 10,000+ proprietary keyword database. This is one of the main reason 1000’s of schools trust and use KidzSearch on a daily basis, making it the most popular online safe search website.

This is accomplished through continuous field reports by teachers, parents and a proprietary algorithm evaluating what is being viewed and searched. Any search terms found to be leading to adult material are of course put into the database and used for filtering purposes.

SafeSearch is an important tool designed to keep pornography away from students when they research a project or fulfill an assignment on the internet.  You should choose a SafeSearch children’s search engine that provides the best academic results with the highest level of safety. We feel fits this criteria exactly.

School Bullying – A Very Serious Problem


School bullying. Some just say it is part of school life, but for many kids it represents a form of pure mental and physical torture that in extreme cases is enough to result in suicidal acts. Sadly, over 20% of bullying victims actually consider suicide as a way out of it. Victims may also lash out with violence, such as school shootings that are often connected with bullying. Schools definitely need to take responsibility and deal with the situation better. According to, over 3.2 millions kids each year are bullied.  Every day about 160,000 kids are not attending class because of bullying. Close to 20% of all students report being bullied 2 or 3 times each month. 90% of students in grades 4-8 report being a bully victim at one time or another.

Cyberbullying is a newer form of harassment that just makes the problem worse, since it allows a much wider group who may not even know each other to participate in the bullying. Online bullying can take the form of e-mails, text messages, instant messages and chat rooms. Cyberbullies might post private pictures and text about the victim, or in some cases masquerade the identify of the victim and post hurtful things that appear to come from them. The impact of cyberbullying can be very far reaching with the speed that content can spread online. Kids are often scared to tell adults about the bullying with only 1 in 3 of them talking about it.

One of the most startling statistics relates to teachers. Only 4% percent of teachers will intervene when bullying is taking place and a quarter of teachers surveyed see nothing wrong with it! Schools must be held responsible. Parents trust that their children will be properly cared for when they are dropped off. How can we expect students to focus on studying and achievement when they are often afraid to even attend class?

The U.S. Government has even gotten involved and now has an anti-bullying website where they suggest that educators, parents and fellow students all get involved to help stop it. The first step is to try to identify when a student is being bullied. Since most will not tell you, you need to look for signs that may include:

    • Unexplained injuries.
    • Lost, missing or destroyed books, clothing, etc.
    • Students that often complain about being sick, or try to fake an illness.
    • Skipping meals. Avoiding school lunches. Hiding in the library for safety.
    • Difficulty sleeping and nightmares.
    • Declining grades. Not wanting to go to school.
    • Sudden loss of friends or avoiding social situations.
    • Low self esteem.
    • Destructive behavior, such as hurting themselves or taking about suicide.

How Do We Stop It?

How do we go about protecting our children?  We at KidzSearch see two main solutions. The first would be to just police the schools and take action whenever warning signs are noticed. The second approach would rely on better communication. The former approach might be best when dealing with severe bullying. Physical abuse should not be tolerated. Schools need to report them to authorities for further action. While it may seem harsh, it is actually no different than what would take place in any company or business if an employee became physically abusive towards another employee, or even gave verbal threats.

Teachers are often the ones most likely to see bullying and need to take action and report it before it gets out of control. However, the same holds true for any school employee. It should be part of their job description. Those who don’t follow it risk losing their position or other disciplinary action. When students see the serious outcomes from bullying, such as getting publicly arrested in front of others, or perhaps even getting expelled from school, they are going to be much less likely to do it themselves. Perhaps a three strikes law is appropriate, so they get up to two warnings before police authorities are called. However, if a child is getting physically abused by a bully, justification to report it without any warnings seems appropriate for the safety of the student.

Other students should also get involved. Anonymous tip lines can be set up to protect those students who care enough to report it. Bullying rarely happens in isolation, so it is very likely that other students are aware of the bullying and can report it.

While policing may be the only solution for some cases, better communication can also make a difference. There are many organizations, often supported by popular celebrities, that make it seem “not cool” to be a bully. For example, Stop Bullying, Speak Up has students take a pledge that involves

  • Telling an adult when they see bullying.
  • Being friendly to the victims and letting them know it that it is not their fault and that help is available.
  • Encouraging other students to get involved and speak up about bullying.

Assuming there is no physical harm, in some cases empowering the victim to rise above things, such as getting them to understand how weak bullies really are and that things will get better if they just focus on themselves. One can view feedback from fellow students on a KidzSearch forum thread regarding ways to better deal with bullying. One of the most popular answers given by students on this thread was as follows:

“My best advice is to just RISE ABOVE IT.  Focus on your own goals and achievements and just ignore all those losers bothering you. Your day will come and you will shine above them all. They will live a life of shame that they did this too you.”

Perhaps the best approach is a mixture of policing, better communication, and finding ways to boost the self-esteem of bully victims so they are not as likely to be as much of a victim.

Here are some good resources for getting more information about bullying.

Bystander Revolution – Great site devoted to anti-bullying.
 – A site with over 4 million members helping to stop bullying.
 – Government website for getting help.

If a student is being seriously bullied and perhaps possibly thinking about suicide, these are some helpful phone numbers and links they can use. If the issue is urgent, 911 or local police should be called.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1-800-273-TALK or
Important help for anyone in a crisis situation thinking about suicide. Topics they handle include addiction, relationship and family problems, sexual orientation, abuse, depression, and loneliness.

Trevor Lifeline – LGBTQ
Crisis intervention and suicide prevention services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning young people.

Anonymous School Violence Hotline
Student hotline for safe anonymous reporting of threats and violence in school and their community.

Your Life Your Voice
Help with depression, cutting, eating disorders, addiction, violence, sexual abuse, bullying, family relationships, and other issues.

Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline
Support and information for children and those concerned about them.

National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline
Support for teens in relationships.

How to Lock YouTube and Google SafeSearch Results


Locking YouTube and Google Safe Search Results

This article will tell you how to lock both YouTube and Google results so they are safe. It just takes a few minutes to do it.

Locking Google
Create a Google account if you don’t have one.  A free account can be created here.  After you are signed into your account (it only works if you’re logged in), go to the Google Preferences section. Make sure The “Filter Explicit Results” box is checked. Next, click Lock SafeSearch. You will be asked to sign in again to your account. Click the “Lock SafeSearch” button.  It takes a few seconds to complete the locking process. Any searches on will now be safe.

Please note that many people find it easier to just use since it also locks results from any computer and you don’t need to be signed-in for it to work. For added safety, if you want to also make sure adult sites can’t be typed in the browser url, please see our Website Blocking Guide

Here is a video by Google that explains how to lock SafeSearch

Blocking YouTube Results
At the bottom of any YouTube page you will see a Safety dropdown list.  Click on it so it shows “Safety Mode” right under it.  Select the “On” option button and click Save.  You will be asked to sign-in to your Google account if you have not done so already.

You must be signed in to your Google account for the settings to stay.  Close your browser and open it again.  Go to YouTube and scroll to the bottom to verify that Safety Mode is set.  If not, set it again (we had to do it twice to stick).  Your YouTube results will now be safe.  Please be aware that this method is not perfect and based on community video ratings, but it is the best available filtering YouTube offers. We encourage you to try it out and decide for yourself.

If you are using YouTube on a mobile device, select the YouTube logo on the top left and touch the gear icon.  Select “Safety Mode” to enable it.

If you use DNS filtering (see Website Blocking Guide), YouTube results will be automatically set to Safety Mode without requiring a special account login.  However, it only works on designated computers.

Finally, as mentioned earlier, people often prefer just using KidzSearch. KidzSearch Video works on any computer without requiring a special account or DNS settings. KidzSearch provides filtered videos from YouTube and other safe video providers. You can start your search from and then select video results, or start from the main video page.

Below is a video explaining YouTube Safety Mode

How to Block All Adult Websites using Free OpenDNS


How to block adult content using free OpenDNS

Get the Free KidzSearch App Today!

Make Your Kid’s Tablet Instantly Safe with the KidzSearch Free App

We are often asked how you can set up a computer or mobile device so any inappropriate adult sites are automatically blocked. While you can purchase software that does it, it is really easy to set things up using OpenDNS, which is a free internet security service. The entire process just takes a couple minutes to complete. Please note that nothing is 100% perfect, so we still suggest always having adult supervision around when kids are online.

OpenDNS will definitely block porn sites, but certain domains, like that may contain r-rated content will still be available. You can signup for a free account with OpenDNS (home version) and register your IP address with them. Once you do that, it will let you add customized sites to block in addition to the standard ones they supply, like You can also whitelist sites that you want to appear which may be blocked.

iPad, iPhone and Android Mobile Devices

1.) Go to your Settings section and tap on your WiFi icon.

2.) Click on the details section of your wireless provider.  On an iPhone you will see an ‘i’ with a circle around it.  You want to edit the wireless settings for your current provider by tapping on the ‘i’, or whatever links gets you to the DNS editor.

3.) The next step is what will give you automated filtering and it involves changing the DNS settings.  Before you change it, be sure to write down what is currently set so you can go back to regular non-filtered settings if needed. It will be a set of numbers like “”

4.) Click on the DNS numbers and erase them by back spacing. Next, add a DNS provider that filters websites. We like OpenDNS Family Shield. You need to use the following for OpenDNS.,

Enter it  exactly as shown above.  Double check your entry and click return/done when finished.

You might also find that the parental controls on a newer iOS device are good enough so that you don’t even need to use a DNS content filter, but the extra layer of safety cannot hurt.

On an Android Device, including the Kindle Fire, you will need to go to settings / Wi-Fi and then press and hold your current connection for a few seconds. Select Modify Network and be sure Show Advanced Options is selected. Change the IP settings from DHCP to Static. Next, page down the list of options until you see DNS 1  and DNS 2. This is where you would change it to use Open DNS Family Shield (,

Important Note: If you don’t see the Save button, it may mean that you need to re-enter the IP address field. Write down what it currently shows and enter it again. The Save button should appear again.

If you are having problems getting the change to work and have access to the Playstore, there are apps like DNSChanger that can do this for you.  For Kindle Fire tablets, you can try using the WiFi Settings App. An added advantage to using it is that you get protection on mobile carrier networks as well as your home router. Be sure to select OpenDNS as your default DNS and change the IP address after selecting OpenDNS so that the last 3 digits are ‘123’ which gives you family shield protection (, The default OpenDNS settings will not provide full protection with adult websites and mostly just block malware sites, so make sure to change them.

You now have OpenDNS installed which will keep your mobile device safe by blocking any adult sites. You should really also use a Safe Search Engine, like as your default search engine since you need to know what safe sites are available that won’t get blocked by OpenDNS when doing a search. Further, even with OpenDNS, an image search using a site like will still given potentially unsafe thumbnails in the search results based on the terms entered.

For added safety, we strongly suggest also using Parental Settings and blocking all web browsers and unapproved App downloads.  You can usually delete a web browser app by just holding down the icon until an ‘x’ delete symbol appears, or you see a trashcan icon at the top of the screen. Delete the the icon, or drag/drop it into the trashcan. You can do the same thing for integrated search boxes that appear on the main tablet screen. Just hold it down and delete them. You want to remove all possible access to the default tablet web browsing devices, since that is main way kids will get into trouble.

You can then use the Free KidzSearch App as your tablet or mobile phone browser, which will prevent outside website links from being entered directly (sites can only be searched using the SafeSearch engine provided). Installing the free KidzSearch App just takes a minute and there is no setup or signing up for anything.  It will make your setup a lot safer and block adult thumbnail search results. In addition, OpenDNS settings may not work if the tablet or phone is being used on a 3G/4G outside signal, such as if you are away from your wireless home router. The KidzSearch App will give you backup safety when this happens. It is also a lot simpler in case your are not able to configure OpenDNS on your device, even for home use. However, we still suggest always using OpenDNS if possible for added safety.

More detailed instructions for using OpenDNS are available from the OpenDNS Website that covers just about any mobile device, but the process is all the same in that you only need to change the DNS provider.

Alternative DNS Services to Block Porn Sites

The following services can also be used to block adult content. It is often just a matter of personal preference when choosing what is best for you. The procedure is exactly the same as described above, but uses different DNS IP numbers.

Norton ConnectSafe
Primary DNS Server:
Secondary DNS Server:

MetaCert DNS
Primary DNS Server:
Secondary DNS Server:

Primary DNS Server:
Secondary DNS Server:

Primary DNS Server:
Secondary DNS Server:

Locking Your Settings
For extra security, there are numerous apps that will lock your settings so a password is required to make a change to them, such as Mobile Fence. This will keep a more adventurous child from changing the DNS settings. Some of these apps also claim to block adult websites, but based on some testing we did, they were just not nearly good enough in our opinion and still required using the OpenDNS Server filtering to properly block adult content.

App Protection
We also strongly suggest protecting what apps can be downloaded. Just click on the settings menu when in the app store and select Content Filtering. You can then set it to the appropriate level, such as only showing Everyone rated apps. Requiring a password to make any purchases is also a very good idea too and can be activated via the settings menu.

Making your Desktop or Laptop Safe
This is very similar to the change made for safe mobile browsing. You need to change the DNS settings.

The procedure for Windows 10 is as follows:

1.) Right click on the start menu  and select Network Connections. Next, right click on the connection you are using (it must be active with no red cross over it).  Select Properties from this new list.

2.) Look for ‘Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)’ and select it. Click on the Properties button.

3.) Change Obtain DNS server address automatically to “Use the following DNS server address and enter as primary and as the alternate. Click Okay to finish.

On Windows 8 go to  Control Panel -> Network and Internet ->Network Sharing Center

1.) Click on your current Ethernet link.

2.) An Ethernet status box will come up. Click on the properties button.

3.) On the list, select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) located near the bottom.

4.) Click on properties.

5.) Change the bottom selection from “Obtain DNS server address automatically” to “Use the following DNS server addresses:” and enter
as your primary address
as the alternate DNS address.

If you need more details with step by step pictures click here . Information for configuring other operating systems is also available.

Your computer/laptop is now secure.

Flushing Your DNS Cache
You may need to flush your DNS cache for the settings to hold.
First, go to a command prompt window. In the programs run input box (click on the start menu to get to it, or use the “Ask me anything” box for Windows 10), type: ‘cmd’ followed by enter. Next, type ‘ipconfig /flushdns’ and hit enter. You may also want to reboot your computer too. Do not include the single quotes when typing things.

Home Routers
This is for more advanced users, but you can also configure your wireless router to make any device that connects to your router filtered by following these instructions on the OpenDNS site.

Dealing with YouTube
YouTube is a wonderful resource with just about any video ever made on it. Blocking it can be limiting for some people. With OpenDNS set, it will automatically filter YouTube videos so they are in “Safety Mode.”  If you want to restrict YouTube videos without relying on OpenDNS, we have an article that explains how to turn on YouTube Safety Mode.  You will need to decide for yourself if the Safety Mode settings on YouTube are good enough, but it is the best available. On we do not allow YouTube videos and have many child-friendly alternative video sites as good alternatives that are all reviewed safe videos.

You can also choose to use the YouTube App for kids  A negative to this app is that the videos available may not match your child’s interest and they tend to be more commercial in nature. Older kids may find it too childish for them. However, it will give you video safety.

Safe Web Search Engines
Using DNS filtering will prevent adult sites from appearing, but you will still get adult content in the search results, including what might be offensive thumbnails, if you are using a regular search engine, like Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. However, they will be blocked if a child tries to open one of the adult links. A major problem is that you can still get explicit titles and even adult thumbnail images appearing. A better approach is to use DNS filtering coupled with a SafeSearch website, such as  This method will block adult websites that are typed in a browser as well as blocking them from even showing up in the search results. You can also configure to only return SafeSearch websites, but that can get reset if cookies are cleared or if a different device is used by your child. On a mobile device we suggested using the KidzSearch App

Using Browser Plugins to Block Sites
Many browsers, such as Chrome and Firefox support the use of plugins/add-ons to provide more features. They allow you to block specific websites. For example, you might want to block search engines, like,, etc., that are not blocked by OpenDNS, but can lead to bad sites if typed directly into a browser and then used to find adult content. The plugins will allow you to enter them directly and password protect them from being changed. A good free one for Chrome is Block Site, but there are many more that can be found by doing an online search.

Manually Blocking Websites in Hosts Files
You can block specific sites, like YouTube, etc.,  from being viewed on desktop computers by editing your host files. On a Windows computer, open NotePad in Administrator mode. You can do this by right clicking NotePad  and selecting “run as Administrator”. Next, open your ‘hosts’ file using NotePad. It is typically found in C:/ Windows/System32/drivers/etc but it may vary based on  your operating system. The hosts file does not have any extension. like .txt, or icon associated with it. You can also do a search for it.  Scroll to the end of the hosts file and type <website url> to manually block a website. Repeat this for each website you want blocked.


When you are done adding all the sites you want to block, save the changes. If you can’t save it or open the file, it means you are not running NotePad in Admin mode,  The computer will not be able to visit the listed sites. You can add has hash tag ‘#’ before a listing to allow it back as a comment, or just delete the entry.

Note: Some websites, such as and most other safe search engines rely on for the initial results, which are later filtered for safety. Blocking can cause no results on these safe search websites.

Paid Services
In addition to the free options discussed, you can subscribe to paid website monitoring services. One of the largest and most trusted is NetNanny which has been around for over 15 years. NetNanny charges a monthly fee and automatically interfaces with your website browser or tablet. It keeps pornography from appearing on a computer or tablet. You can also limit internet usage time. NetNanny provides usage reports on their interface or by sending you e-mail alerts.  If you have more than one child to protect that may have different filtering needs based on age, you can setup multiple accounts for different children.

Hardware devices, such as Meet Circle give another solution. They provide you with a special DNS router that filters content across all devices in your house. Meet Circle also has a monthly wireless service for protection on the go for tablets. Once the device is configured, all devices connecting to it will be protected, which is a nice feature. One of the disadvantages with them is the relatively high cost and complexity of setting it up.

We still suggest using a kid-friendly search engine with these services, such as KidzSearch, since it will always protect children, even if they are on a computer that is not protected, such as at a friend’s house. They also provide a better search experience with websites that are most suited for kids appearing at the top of the results, larger thumbnails, and many other benefits.

The KidzSearch Story

My name is Eric Thomas. I am a computer programmer and the founder of A few years ago my sister, who is not very technical, asked me to setup her computer so it would be safe for her 10-year-old nephew. I did what many schools use today and installed website blocking software that did not allow any user generated site content to be viewed. I felt like I did a great job and told my sister that she had a safe computer for her son.

The next day I received a phone call from my sister. Instead of thanking me, she was complaining all over the place about how she and her son were completely frustrated by not being able to access useful learning blog sites, or important educational videos. She said that only a very small amount of the web was available and that I ruined her computer. I tried to explain that this was how computers were kept safe, but agreed to look for a better solution.

After experimenting with different approaches, I discovered that Google had a little-known, but wonderful adult filter based on content and not a general blocking policy. It allowed all the important learning content, like educational videos and teaching blog sites, but screened out harmful adult sites. The only trade-off was that it was what some might call pg-13. Another issue was that my sister was not technical enough to always make sure Google had the proper settings each and every time it was used. I came up with a very simple interface to guarantee it would always be on and gave the site an easy to remember name – I also added additional keyword filtering to fill in some of the pg-13 gaps that Google still allowed.Roblox HackBigo Live Beans HackYUGIOH DUEL LINKS HACKPokemon Duel HackRoblox HackPixel Gun 3d HackGrowtopia HackClash Royale Hackmy cafe recipes stories hackMobile Legends HackMobile Strike Hack

My sister was thrilled when she used it and had access to all the important educational content she expected with none of the bad stuff. She did not have to learn how to manage a computer network and only needed to bookmark the site. It worked on any computer she used with nothing to setup. It was also free, which suited her budget!

Over time my sister told her friends about it and I started to see more people using it. A few teachers used it in school too, and then entire school districts were using it. I added requested features, like safe image and video searching, and a special autocomplete with search terms students often use. More things were added later, like being able to customize how it looks, and even a homework help section. I’m proud to say that is now one of the leading school search engines. Explore KidzSearch today and you will see that there is a better way.