Insights into How Our Kids Use Search Engines

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Last year, my twins were trying really hard to describe to me a certain type of dress that each of them wanted. The three of us literally moved from one store to the other in search of those exact dresses. We went home frustrated because each time I pointed at a dress, they said in unison, “No mum that is not the one!” Well, this is not the first time that this had happened.

On arriving home, I decided to help them use the search engines to show me the dresses that they wanted. Surprisingly in less than an hour, we had the pictures of the dresses and the stores that we could find them.

This made me think about many us- do we really understand how kids use the internet? I don’t think so. Here are great insights into how our kids use the search engines:

Use of ‘Kids’ Keywords

As I was introducing my twins to the search engines, my greatest fear was to expose them to the ugly side of the internet. I have always emphasized that they include the term ‘kids’ in all their queries.

So far, this has worked; they only get search results that are suitable for kids. Most websites that target children optimize their sites to include that keyword.

Voice Search Appeals to Our Kids

My twins are so hooked to talking to Cortana, Alexa and Siri anytime that they need to use the search engines. A lot of time I asked them why they prefer it to text search and they said that it is much easier. Most parents can agree with me that their kids love the voice search too.

Google Helps Us to Monitor Our Kids’ Searches

I cannot afford to take chances when it comes to protecting my kids from the terrible things online. Google has greatly been of help. Its recent feature the (Family Link) helps me to link my device to my kids’ phone. It allows me to control what my twins do on the internet and what they see. That is not all, I can also;

  • Restrict what they download on the app store and they cannot access restricted content,
  • I set the daily time that they use their devices,
  • My twins cannot turn off the SafeSearch.

Isn’t this cool? However, the app to run your kid has to have an Android 7.0 or a higher device. You will also need to include your credit card to set up this app. Personally, I like to view these requirements as a small price to pay to have a great peace of mind.

There are Search Engines Just for Our Kids

Popular search engines such as Kiddle and Junior SafeSearch are meant for kids and they are powered by Google. Kiddle is the commonly used where the first three results are picked by Kiddle’s editors. The next four to seven ranks are pages written for adults but the content can easily be understood by kids. The rest is based on Google SafeSearch.

 I have found Kiddle to be very effective since results for searches with inappropriate words do not appear. Brands find it very complex to rank in Kiddle.

Most of Our Kids Use YouTube

YouTube is king for our kids. The type of content that children watch varies with age. Normally, younger kids watch full-length kids’ videos while older children love content with humour.

Sadly, YouTube doesn’t make it easy for brands since the ranking rules are different. Certainly, brands can optimize content on YouTube but it is challenging.

Trusted Sources of Information

Google and YouTube have continued to portray themselves as places where our kids can get information. This is evident from the way our kids trust Google to find games and hobbies.

On-the-other-hand, YouTube dominates guide related and how-to information. I think brands have a great chance to build a great online presence bearing in mind that the content that they create for older people will one day become useful to our kids someday. And if you need more tips on search engines and websites and everything in between – check out this website The Webs Union, these guys can help you out.

Usability

As expected, the strategy in which my twins search for results cannot be similar to mine. Here are the differences:

  • Kids have a lot of spelling mistakes. Pages can consider including common misspellings on the content especially for brands that teach younger children to spell words correctly.
  • Most times, kids click the first result. It is obvious that you don’t expect kids to scroll down the search results. They also don’t know which results are better than the other.
  • Kids are terrible at navigation. I wouldn’t expect my twins to find related content unless there is a clear signpost that directs them to the content.

Now you have the perfect idea on how our kids use the search engines.

I also wrote about: Why You Need to Know What Your Kid is Searching For Online?

 

Becky

Wife, mother, grandma, blogger, all wrapped into one person, although it does not define her these are roles that are important to her. Entering into their 'empty nest' stage in life, Becky, and her husband Roger are learning to live with their youngest away at school more than not. Becky enjoys way too many TV programs but her favorites are normally criminal based or something to make her laugh. Keep an eye out because 2018 is going to be her year!

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