I am the founder of KidzSearch and this is the story of how it got started. A while back, my sister, who is not very technical, asked me to setup her computer so it would be safe for her 13 year-old twins. Being technical, I installed website blocking software that only allowed certain pre-screened websites. I felt like I did a great job and told my sister that she had a safe computer for her kids.
The next day I received a phone call from my sister. Instead of thanking me, she was complaining about how she and her twins were completely frustrated by not being able to access useful learning sites, many fun safe sites for kids, 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 made 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 the actual content and not a general blocking policy using handpicked sites. It allowed all the important learning content, including new sites that come out on a daily basis, but screened out harmful ones automatically. 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. As a solution, I came up with a very simple interface to guarantee it would always be on and gave the site an easy to remember name – KidzSearch.com. I also added additional keyword filtering to fill in some of the pg-13 gaps that Google still allowed.
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, including one of her kid’s teachers. Later, entire school districts were using it. I added many 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, a safe version of Wikipedia designed for kid’s reading levels, safe music, and even a homework help section called KidzTalk. I also developed an App version to keep tablets and mobile phones safe. I’m proud to say that KidzSearch.com is now one of the leading school search engines. Explore KidzSearch today and you will see that there is a better way.