Kiddle: Child-friendly, Google-powered search site bans words including 'bisexual' and 'transgender'

The site — which is not affiliated to Google — is intended to help children navigate the internet, but could be cutting them off from important advice and support

A new search engine aimed at children blocks words such as “bisexual” and “transgender” and says that they are “bad words”.

The search engine uses Google’s technology by allowing people to search in a custom Google search bar. But it is meant to keep children safe, by excluding words that could be damaging to children.

Many of those words lead to pages that could be useful to children, however. And sites related to sexuality, gender and other important topics are still being missed.

The site also still allows people to see adult content when searching for words like Pamela Anderson, and does not filter a story about a Danish radio host killing a rabbit.

The site says that its search results “are either handpicked and checked by our editors or filtered by Google safe search”. That process means that people “get kid-oriented results without any explicit content”.

If the site finds “bad words”, then the “guard robot” will pop up and warn children, the site says.

But that same warning comes up for a range of inoffensive — and often important — terms.

It could be that those terms are often used as categories within pornographic sites. But that does not appear to be the primary way that they are shown or used in Google, with both offering a combination of help, support and news when searching for them.

A Google search for “bisexual” shows up pages helping people understand their sexuality, a Wikipedia page about what the word means, and articles about media and scientific understandings of bisexuality.

It could also be that bisexuality is being banned because it includes the letters “sex” in the middle. But that isn’t the case for “transgender”, which is also banned.

A search for that word shows up articles of a similar kind to that for bisexual. The top link is Wikipedia, and the rest of the first page is made up of advice from organisations like the NHS and GLAAD.

As well as filtering out words, the site uses big, clear fonts and thumbnails, added privacy and results that help decide which articles might be best for children, the site claims.

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