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Sheila Dembowski column: Search engines steer children to appropriate websites

10:24 PM, Nov. 21, 2012  |  Comments
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There are many search engines that guide students to age-appropriate websites for children. Too many times we find ourselves "googling it" when there are much better options for elementary-aged students.

On the Riverside Elementary web page, we have a section devoted just to kid-friendly search engines. In this month's column I'll share with you search engines for children and teens. Here are a few examples:

Sweet Search (www.sweetsearch.com) searches only the 35,000 websites that its staff of research experts and librarians and teachers have evaluated and approved for students. They constantly evaluate our search results and "fine-tune" them, by increasing the ranking of websites from organizations such as the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian, PBS and university websites.

For younger elementary students, search engines such as www.yippy.com or http://duckduckgo.com/ help children find both relevant and easier to read content.

Infotopia (www.infotopia.info) is an academic search engine specially designed for students, teachers and homeschoolers where it accesses only trusted websites previously evaluated by librarians and teachers. It is recommended for kindergarten through grade 12.

On KidsClick! (www.kidsclick.org) children and parents can find information on more than 600 topics. This site was created by a group of librarians not to filter bad sites from children but rather to guide them to good sites.

Factmonster from Information Please (www.factmonster.com) is a good search engine for children from ages 8 to 14. It is maintained by the editors of "Information Please," and it is a mixture of educational and entertainment information. This site does have "pop-up" advertising, along with games and puzzles.

Looking for images? Instead of googling images and holding your breath that nothing inappropriate pops up, try Gogooligans.com (http://www.lures.info/childrens_search/gogooligans.html)

You also can visit my library blog at Riverside Elementary School for even more suggestions at http://collaborationisthekey.wordpress.com

There are so many amazing websites that are appropriate and educational for children. Try out one of these sites today.

Sheila Dembowski is the media specialist for Riverside Elementary School and a local author. She can be reached at sdembowski@dce.k12.wi.us or her blog at http://collaborationisthekey.wordpress.com

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