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Why Doesn't 'Google Kids' Exist?

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the won't-somebody-please-think-of-the-children? dept.

Google 561

theodp writes "Slate's Michael Agger wishes there was a website his 6-year-old son could visit on his own to watch amateur Star Wars Lego movies and other stuff he's curious about. 'But I don't leave him alone on YouTube,' he laments, 'because I never know if some strange-ass video will appear in the 'Related Videos' section.' Agger suggests that Google should create Google Kids, a search engine that filters the Web for children. 'Think back to when you were a kid and your parents dropped you off at the library,' explains Agger. 'In the children's section, the only "inappropriate" stuff to be found was Judy Blume's Forever, which someone's older sister had usually already checked out anyway. Similarly, Google Kids would be a sort of children's section of the Web, focused on providing high-quality results based on age.'"

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Google Kids = Legal obligation/legal minefield (5, Insightful)

bazmail (764941) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417538)

One bad video/image slipping through could cause Google a lot of problems. Think wardrobe malfunction x 1,000,000 Its why many companies shy away from this.

Re:Google Kids = Legal obligation/legal minefield (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36417582)

Yeah it's obvious... wiseacre bloggers would pound on it obsessively, looking for the screen shot fodder. So they could announce "Hey, look what 'family fare' Google Kids turned up this time!"

Google's not a charity, either. (5, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417652)

It surely would be a Nice Thing to make a playground on the Internet for kids, but why should Google bother to do it? Go make it yourself if it's such a good idea. "Oh, I don't have the resources to do that," you say. Well... there you go. Google isn't a charity.

Now, YouTube Kids or something like that, maybe you can see something there. (Think, vetted content from the likes of Nickelodeon and PBS, actually rated as 'G' or 'E' or whatever by a real ratings agency.) It's probably easier to get profitable advertising in videos there as well; kids can't be the best at operating click-through ads.

Re:Google's not a charity, either. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36417858)

It wouldn't be a charity. It would be an opportunity. Google gets money from their ads. Everyone knows you gotta hook em early ;D

Operation Google Kids (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36417894)

1. Download innocuous content.
2. Splice porn into amateur Star Wars Lego movies, and other stuff a 6 year old would be curious out.
3. ???
4. Lulz

GTFO the internet Michael Agger.

Re:Google Kids = Legal obligation/legal minefield (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417982)

besides, the norms of what kids should see differ so friggin much, star wars lego stuff still would lead them to videos of han solo shooting first. but if they really did this, they could just as well then go on to make an orthodox jew google which would filter out all the pictures of women. and then they could try to publish a company statement how they believe in "do no evil".

in my local library the librarians never came to me and said "hey you shouldn't borrow that book, it has some human-robot sex!". and if you leave your kids alone with the computer, he'll figure it out pretty soon that he's getting a limited internet experience - and sooner or later you will leave your kid alone with a computer, so eh, deal with it. it's not like it would be impossible for your kid to figure out how to remove the pins from the hinges to bypass the lock on your "adult" box either(and reinsert them back... that one strip on dilbert was pretty spot on. I guess that was less of a problem than using generated cc's to bypass age checks on early pron sites though).

now, could anyone tell what the fuck could internet for 6 year olds even have? dancing jesus?

Web police (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36417548)

Because if they provide search results targeted to kids then they will be expected to be the web police, which is the parents' job. Can you say lawsuits? And that's a huge liability for them. So don't expect it to happen anytime soon.

Why aren't parents actually being parents? (5, Insightful)

trparky (846769) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417560)

Parents use the Internet as a babysitting tool more often than not these days. Then when they find that little Johnny or Judy finds something inappropriate on the Internet they cry foul about it and say that it shouldn't be on the Internet for their kids to find thus punishing everyone else. Or they run to some filtering program to hopefully block the bad stuff and then the kid finds their way around it and then the parent has a fit about it.

How about actually being a parent? Sitting down with your child and help them use the Internet safely is far better than trying to either force the usage of filtering applications or ranting about why the content is there to begin with.

Re:Why aren't parents actually being parents? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36417634)

Really? Your parents never left you alone for a moment?

Re:Why aren't parents actually being parents? (1)

Axino (2126326) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417676)

Obviously you can't supervise your child every second,but that is not what this is about. It's about parents that should take up their responsibilities as a parent instead of trying to put it in the shoes of, in this example, Google.

Re:Why aren't parents actually being parents? (5, Insightful)

wisty (1335733) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417868)

Exactly. They should do their jobs, and pony up for an X-Box. That way their kids can learn to massacare their enemies in a safe and supportive environment, where there is no danger of being exposed to breasts, swear words, or pirated material.

Re:Why aren't parents actually being parents? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36417674)

Have you ever used the Internet? Simple searches for kids cartoons can come up with several pornographic spoofs on the first page, especially when you search images and video. Spam porn is king in those sections.

Re:Why aren't parents actually being parents? (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417704)

I typed in [] to see if someone had already done a YouTube for kids ... and the site is a kids video site.

Re:Why aren't parents actually being parents? (2)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417972)

Kids' video or kids video? Quite a large legal distinction to make before clicking through..

Do you have kids? (0)

fantomas (94850) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417712)

Just wondering if you have kids.....

Re:Do you have kids? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36417818)

Of course he doesnt have kids, he's dispensing paragraphs worth of 'advice' that ultimately boils down to "just be parents, by being with your kids at all times" (thanks buddy, your keen insights are appreciated)

Newsflash, it takes more than just parents (2)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417780)

How about actually being a parent? Sitting down with your child and help them use the Internet safely is far better than trying to either force the usage of filtering applications or ranting about why the content is there to begin with.

And what about plain parental frustration that they can't turn their back on their kids because using Google or Bing can be like playing Minesweeper with porn, violence and /b/ under every bad tile?

The problem is that it's not really possible to say that stumbling upon it is the exception in many cases. If it were, filtering would be so simple that it'd be built into the browser.

Re:Newsflash, it takes more than just parents (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36417888)

The problem is that's your problem and not Google's problem. I honestly couldn't care less about your frustration and Google shouldn't have to, either.

If you don't want your children to view certain sites, it's your responsibility to either see that they don't(which is a very difficult thing to do), or, hey, you could also teach them things like the difference between right and wrong and judgement skills and compassion and things like that so that they'll be good people anyway and it won't matter what sites they're viewing.

Re:Why aren't parents actually being parents? (4, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417800)

It's one thing to have rules and restrictions, it's another to babysit them every moment of their life. You find age-appropriate toys and books and tv series and movies and games, you don't sit shoulder reading in case someone decided to cut to hardcore porn. Like I remember I was asked to help once, the parents had an IM app installed to chat to their grandparents and some friends and family and all that, paid enough attention to who but didn't watch their every move. Well, turns out spambots were sending messages with porn links, and the kids were the age they'd click almost anything. So they asked me for help, is there some setting so they only get messages from people on their friend list. If anyone needed to be added, they'd vet them first.

To me that's a perfectly sane attitude. The Internet is a mix of a whole lot of stuff, some obviously designed for 18+ people. And if you completely deny them web surfing, they will miss out on a *lot*. So you want to find some middle ground where you have some scope of control - like who they talk to on IM, but not everything they ever said. Just like they get to walk public streets but not into strip clubs, it doesn't mean you have to walk them door to door.

Re:Why aren't parents actually being parents? (1)

Axino (2126326) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417902)

It is the parents' job to explain to the child what spam is and why they should ignore it. Parents should educate their children about the dangers of improvident internet usage. They will not be able to monitor their child's every move and if they stumble upon inappropriate material, which they will, the parent has to put that into perspective. Nobody said parenting is easy..

Re:Why aren't parents actually being parents? (1)

brainzach (2032950) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417804)

Being a responsible parent means that you monitor the Internet history and filter out content that you think is unsuitable. You should teach your kids how to use the Internet safely but parents don't have the time to sit over their kids shoulder every moment they want to use the Internet.

well... (3, Insightful)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417564)

This puts Google in the position of being mommy and daddy. What I consider "inappropriate" is unlikely to be the same as the next parent; what this suggests, though, is that everyone gets to deal with what Google decides, and frankly... that's not an appropriate role for a third party. That's the parent's job. If you don't have time for guiding your kids, and you can't seem to come up with rules and behaviors, or use a white-list facility competently, then perhaps you shouldn't be spawning anyway, rather than begging for a third party to do your job for you.

Re:well... (1)

Geoff-with-a-G (762688) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417620)

And when "Google Kids" fails to filter something you consider inappropriate (either because they don't share your views, or just due to the challenges and limitations of determining and filtering content automatically) then lawsuits and bad press ensues. Bad for the Google brand all around.

In general, Google's strategy seems to be focused on providing tons of really great free, best effort services. If Gmail fails to deliver your email one day, it's not like you can sue. If Google Maps gives you wrong directions, [shrug], use Mapquest. But if Google Kids started showing kids porn/violence/subversive material, I think there would be a fair amount of public outrage.

Re:well... (-1, Troll)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417792)

society is composed of many people not least of which are families. families, unlike people without kids, represent the future of the country. as such, i would assert to you that the needs and rights of families outweighs your concerns. simply because your concerns have no future, since you have no kids

there is arguing about idealistic concepts in a vacuum of real world needs and wants

then there is the brutal reality of the situation

and the brutal reality of the situation is that without the breeders you obviously have contempt for, there is no future. you have to make peace with that fact, because it obviously goes against your way of thinking, yet is a fact which trumps your arguments: since you have no kids, your way of thinking has no future, and therefore deserves to be discounted. not logically discounted. naturally discounted. we aren't abstract thoughts in a cloud. we are biological vessels with expiration dates. this cold hard brutal fact represents a fundamental need of society that must be accommodated, or the society simply has no future

what do you value in life? well, without kids, those values will not survive in this world, and therefore have no future: brutal, but truthful

i know my opinion will not be popular on a site of asocial nerds, but i firmly believe that those who have children deserve more accommodation in society, simply because they are shouldering society's future. while others choose to be parasites and live off the benefits of society, without contributing to its future by having kids

yes, i am saying you are a second class citizen if you have the financial capacity to have kids, but choose not to. you don't even need the biological capacity: you can adopt. you don't need a heterosexual orientation: loving gay couples make great parents to tens of thousands of kids in this country

in modern american society, where parents are expected to work two jobs just to keep from losing the house, outsourcing some of that internet filtering effort is a perfectly valid request. and furthermore, the request will be listened to, since families have the balance of power here, as they should, since without them, there is no future for the country

if you are asking why and how this balance of power is obtained, the answer is simple: without kids, your point of view simply dies. i am not making an idealistic argument. i am referring to brutal truth: for all of your vaunted ideals and high complex abstract thoughts, you are nothing more than a crude biological vessel, and you have an expiration date. and you should give some thought as to your replacement. or otherwise, your thoughts will surely die. ugly, but true. if you have not made the effort to replace your soon to be dust vessel, that's a failure on your part. for now you are simply a point of view without a future, because you have no kids. and so your thinking is not logically discounted, but naturally discounted

the wants and desires of adults with children, to me, are more valid and more worthy of consideration, than the selfish needs and wants of those who can't be bothered to have children, out of whatever pathetic social defect that renders you unable to contribute to a family

Re:well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36417916)

society is composed of many people not least of which are families. families, unlike people without kids, represent the future of the country. as such, i would assert to you that the needs and rights of families outweighs your concerns. simply because your concerns have no future, since you have no kids

If you are in Europe or elsewhere just ignore this rant, but if you are American, please cite the section of the Constitution that elevates the status of people with kids. Otherwise you can insert your 'assertion' up your ass. Are the Duggars [] more important than you because they had more kids? What an assinine concept, but not surprisingly one that just happens to elevate yourself over others.

Re:well... (1)

ciggieposeur (715798) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417920)

Fuck you.

And by the way? Isaac Newton, father of classical physics and calculus and a critical part of why this Internet exists that allow you to shovel your shit to a wide audience? No kids. So fuck you again.

And just in case you skull is as dense as your ideas: fuck you.

Re:well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36417924)

Wow. Then there's the diagnosable genetic defect which renders you personally unable to contribute positively to society. A sociopath such as yourself probably should not be allowed to reproduce.

Re:well... (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417960)

i know my opinion will not be popular on a site of asocial nerds

Actually, I'm just amused by it. The irony of someone with this mindset denigrating other people as "asocial nerds"? Priceless.

Re:well... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36417892)

What I don't get, is where this "Oh, this will scar my kids for life." delusion comes from. (Ok, I know where it comes from...)

Nearly everyone I know saw porn, murder, and a ton of stupid shit on TV or talked about it as a child. As a young child even.
It's only grown-ups that are socially conditioned to react in certain ways. Nearly all of them don't even know why.
A child will just see things for what they are. It's your job to give it some hints to why it might be bad or good.
But how will parents, who themselves don't even know why it's supposed to be bad, teach their children those things?

Not showing them the real world at all, is a sure-fire way to hinder their growing up.
Thereâ(TM)s a reason that when I was in a small town in Turkey, a 11 year old boy could tell me everything about politics and how the world is, while a 18 year old in e.g. the USA or Germany doesn't know anything and sometimes even plays kindergarten games. (I saw this myself at school. I was ashamed of even being in a group playing such childish games. While I was thinking about inventions and great things.)

How about we are proud of how quickly our children grow up, and how they can handle complex social and technical topics at a young age? How about that?

Because right now, we're harming them.
And all because of some delusions which originally resulted from rules some mentally ill religious schizos made up, to dominate people. :/

Re:well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36417904)

This is why my wife and I have only one child. One kid, two people and there is always someone to interact with and guide her through a world that, as I recall, is deeply confusing.

Re:well... (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417946)

that's not an appropriate role for a third party.

it is precisely the role of a 3rd party. That's why there are rules on what can be on TV and radio stations at various hours and so on, it's why bookstores and libraries offer kids sections, it's why companies explicitly make media for children. A 3rd party should establish a brand and a trust relationship with it's customers about what sorts of content they can access through this service - whether that is an aggregation or search of content creators or creating there own.

It may not be the role of google though. They seem to prefer to solve problems with computer algorithms, not with people. That doesn't lend itself to kids stuff for the oft mentioned reason that screwing it up can go badly, fast, and it's much easier to sneak stuff past a computer algorithm than a person.

Re:well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36417964)

You clearly have absolutely no idea how difficult it is to do everything in your life and then somehow, magically be able to monitor your children's activity 24/7. It's logistically impossible; your parents certainly didn't do it. The Internet makes everything, from suicide videos to fetish porn, instantly accessible. As a parent, I would love this service.

Short Answer (1)

The Moof (859402) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417570)

The liability. As soon as someone creatively slides adult themed content into the kid-friendly search results, someone will go ape shit. Not to mention the "what you feel is right for my kid isn't what I feel is right for my kid" crowds. Parenting is subjective, and everyone has different opinions of what it entails.

There is innapropriate content on youtube? (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417572)

Really? It's hard to get to see even a naked boobie there. Since he cites "Forever", I guess that's his prime concern. I'm pretty sure there is violence on youtube. I'd be way more concerned about that.

Doesn't youtube also have age verification? Set up an account for the kid and make clear it's a kid.

But of course, actually spending time with your kid and not letting it sit in front of the computer unsupervised is the only thing that would be correct.

Use SafeSearch (4, Insightful)

Arlet (29997) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417574)

I don't want to turn on SafeSearch for when my kids are using the computer and turn it off for me

Create a different user account for each of your family members, and set individual preferences. You'll want that anyway.

If you wannt something like that... (1)

Zarian (797222) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417580)

Make it yourself. Seriously, companies are under no obligation to "Think of the children!". "...was a website his 6-year-old son could visit on his own..." Actually why the hell are you letting your 6 year old surf on their own anyway?

Supervise your own kid (4, Insightful)

js3 (319268) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417584)

You people disgust me. You go through the trouble of having a kid and yet you want to leave the responsibilty to big corporation. If you can't bother to spend time browsing the web with your kid, don't have one.

Re:Supervise your own kid (1)

reboot246 (623534) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417604)

Worse yet, all too many parents are willing to leave the responsibility of rearing their children to government.

Re:Supervise your own kid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36417654)

Comments like this always come from non-parents. True ignorance. You have no fucking idea how much harder life is when raising children. Perhaps the world should just stop reproducing so "we people" won't disgust you.

Re:Supervise your own kid (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36417716)

Maybe you people should die off so people who spend time with their kids, instead of just plopping their kids behind their xbox, cable tv and internet, can survive.

Re:Supervise your own kid (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36417850)

You stupid, childless ignorant fuck. Let me tell you how I spent my day yesterday. My wife takes care of our newborn full-time (i.e., sleep deprived, breast-feeds like 14 hours a day). We have a 3-year old as well, and when I'm home I am essentially a single parent of the toddler. Up at 6:30am. We watch PBS Kids for about an hour while I try to wake up with a cup of coffee. Then from about 7:30am to 11:30am I am playing with Play-Doh, trucks, and an assortment of other toys. Then prepare lunch. Around 1:30pm he takes a 1-hour nap if we are lucky. Up at 2:30pm or so. We take the stroller to the neighborhood park. When I'm lucky I can sit on a bench, maybe browse the web on my phone, while he tools around the playground. But more often than not, he cries for my attention so I give it to him. Get home around 4:30pm. I'm fucking exhausted. I sit him down in front of my laptop to play PBS online for an hour or so. Make dinner. More play. Bath time. Book time. 1-hour going-to-bed routine. Etc etc. I'm 34 fucking years old and don't have the energy of an 18-year old.

I hope you enjoy your old age without a family, you stupid fuck.

Re:Supervise your own kid (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36417770)

Voluntary Human Extinction [] is already an independently motivated idea, so be careful what you wish for.

Re:Supervise your own kid (1)

Jaktar (975138) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417696)

You seem to be of the opinion that either someone watches their kids 100% of the time or 0% of the time. Neither of those is true for any parent.

If there were to be a "safe zone" for kids, I wouldn't trust Google to do it. It certainly seems like an area that's lacking in good solutions.

Re:Supervise your own kid (4, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417844)

There are plenty of 'safe' zones for kids - just not on the Internet.

My parents left me alone at times. They just made sure I didn't have access to the acetylene tank (after that one little incident, anyway). Some things can be kid safe, the open Internet isn't one of them.

Re:Supervise your own kid (1)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417810)

Being a good parent isn't just spending lots of one-on-one time with your kid. It also involves knowing when to step back and let your kid explore on their own and figure stuff out without running everything past you first. Of course, you want to sandbox that experience at first until your kid has a good sense of how to avoid the bad stuff (that is, until your kid is old enough).

Re:Supervise your own kid (0)

jmichaelg (148257) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417880)

Spoken like a person who doesn't have kids. The fact is kids need to roam on their own and develop independence. What the guy is asking for is a search domain where he's reasonably confident his kid will be relatively OK. Something akin to letting a kid roam in the neighborhood but keeping out of the red light district.

It already exists for text as safe-search. The guy is just asking for safe-search for video as well.

Steven Levy mentions in his book, The Plex, that one of Google's early contracts was to provide a family-friendly search service. The requirement was a significant inducement to Google to improve Google's AI component and move beyond the early success Google enjoyed from Pagerank. Though Levy doesn't state it, I presume that contract resulted in safe search becoming generally available.

Re:Supervise your own kid (1)

metalmaster (1005171) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417922)

Trouble having a kid? I lol'd

My guess is that you were the one in 7 billion teenager that was immune to raging hormones. Take a look at daytime TV and its quite apparent that having kids isnt the hard part. Raising them is where the trouble begins

Re:Supervise your own kid (1)

DrDitto (962751) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417986)

You must be one of those perfect parents who can supervise their child 100% of the time. Or that you never resort to sitting your child down in front of a television for an hour or so while you cook dinner or respond to an after-hours urgent work e-mail.

Liability (1)

Fractal Dice (696349) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417588)

What's the business model being proposed? I imagine such a filtered view of the Internet creates only liability when it fails, not any increase of profit when it succeeds.

Come on (5, Funny)

debilo (612116) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417594)

Google kids? Why don't you have a seat over there.

Whose kids? (1)

mcphja2 (661835) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417598)

The problem is that everyone has differing ideas of what is appropriate for kids. If you block the "wrong" thing, you will have various groups up in arms. If you include those things, you will have other groups upset. It's a no win situation for someone like Google.

It's already out there (1)

IICV (652597) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417606)

Google Kids already exists - it's called "spending time with your kids on the computer". It works perfectly, they'll never see anything you don't want them to and as a bonus you'll develop that precious parent-child relationship.

However, it sounds like what the author really wants is a product that would be named "Google Parent", where you plonk them down in front of a computer at age three and then fifteen years later an adult magically emerges. Sadly, that's still in beta.

Re:It's already out there (1)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417840)

It works perfectly, they'll never see anything you don't want them to

If there was ever a sentence that deserved a surreptitious goatse link, it's that one.

Although I suppose it does suggest an idea: a web browser that runs on two monitors, with a 5 second delay so that images brought up on the first monitor don't show up on the second monitor until they've been vetted on the first. (not that that sounds like "quality time with your kid" to me, but who am I to judge?)

Why Doesn't 'Google Kids' Exist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36417608)

Because they're trying to turn the whole fucking net into a kid-friendly suburbia so parents don't have to do their jobs.

And half the dimwits around this site would bring the government in to cure their own various network dysfunctions with spam or advertising or not being progressives or whatever.

The whole thing is going down in flames. They will be licensing the servers and not soon after, they will be licensing the users.

YES! (1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417610)

Because you don have to be a rocket scientist to know that kids like cloying condescending stupid censored crap.

Parents should be parents, not companies. (3, Insightful)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417612)

If he's not old enough to see a lot of the content on youtube, or elsewhere for that matter, then your son shouldn't be on the internet without your supervision anyway. Use the time as bonding time between you and your child. If you are too busy to sit with them while they are on the internet, then have them do something else (play with toys, etc) and only let them use a computer when you are around/have time to be with them. And, even if there were a "Google Kids", how would you keep the kid from accidentally getting out into the "real" internet? You would need a computer/account locked down tighter than an iPod. Moral of the story: the onus of raising your child is on you. Don't try to make Google/the internet/TV/the government raise them for you.

PR nightmare waiting to happen (1)

Florian Weimer (88405) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417622) [] was a manual attempt in that direction. It seems mostly dormant.

There are so many things which can go wrong with such a service, especially if you try to automate it: You might pick up something erroneously. Domain ownership or content changes suddenly. An inappropriate advertisement is included. Google would have to be right every time, or someone will spot the mistake and unleash the hellhounds. Parents are rather nervous about what their children might potentially see on the Internet, even if it is a restricted subset.

I'm also sure that many parents think that Star Wars isn't suitable for six-year-olds.

Bad analogy using libraries (5, Insightful)

fruitbane (454488) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417640)

According to the ALA's Freedom to Read statement, librarians should not be censoring what children read, either. If a child you've dropped off at the library wants to wander into young adult or the regular adult stacks and start paging through books, the librarians should only be stepping in if the book is being mishandled. So while children's content is collected together in the children's area, the child is not prevented from accessing adult materials. You know, because the librarians aren't babysitters and are also not meant to be filters for your children the way you are, being their legal guardian and all.

Re:Bad analogy using libraries (1)

Ricarus (1942244) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417720)

Also, most libraries don't have hardcore porn available, or at least not that I know of.

Re:Bad analogy using libraries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36417846)

Most libraries have "romance novels", Lovecraft novels, and Steven King novels. They may not have *pictures* of hardcore porn, but I'm pretty sure if a picture can mind warp a child, then a long and thorough description of sex, torture, or horror could mind warp a child too. Of course, I'm imagine what mostly warps children is either (a) coming into contact with such material and having parents that either don't or won't discuss the material or parents who actually exemplify that material or (b) parents that directly warp their children. The key element is almost invariably parental involvement or the lack there of.

Re:Bad analogy using libraries (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36417936)

You've never been into the art or self-help sections, have you? There's all sorts of sexual stuff in there, you just need to be clever enough to find it. (and, as a pre-teen, I certainly was)


cnoocy (452211) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417722)

Thank you for saying this.

It is called Strict Search. (1)

pro151 (2021702) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417648)

That is all. That and as stated above, do not use the internet as a baby sitter.

Because Google isn't your babysitter. (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417660)

It isn't up to google to babysit your kids.

Here's a suggestion (2)

fyrewulff (702920) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417666)

Crank up SafeSearch, then use OpenDNS for further filtering, and then actually supervise your kid while they use the internet and inform them of why certain things are bad/scary instead of leaving them alone to deal with it.

Don't wish for a bubble and then wonder why after leaving the bubble they just click on everything.

Plus, you're just going to have the usual issue that one community / city / state's idea of what is acceptable for kids and what is not is going to be drastically different than another community / city / state.

Not going to happen (1)

Desert Raven (52125) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417672)

Two problems with that:

#1 Age appropriate is pretty much impossible to automate. Every entry would have to be human-reviewed, and that's expensive.

#2 What you consider age-appropriate, someone else may note, and vice-versa. It's not objective, it's subjective.

Re:Not going to happen (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417854)

#1 Age appropriate is pretty much impossible to automate. Every entry would have to be human-reviewed, and that's expensive.

No kidding. Poor filtering algorithms lead to stuff like this:

Daddy, why does it say "cu***mber" here, instead of "cucumber" ?

Try explaining that...

Why help Pedo's? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36417698)

IMHO it would become a one stop shop for pedo's , and that would be BAD, M'kay. Nuff said.

Easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36417700)

You wouldn't let your 6 year old wander the street, why let them wander the internet?

Interesting (1)

cshark (673578) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417702)

Not the first time this has been proposed. I know things like this have been talked about in Google, and proposed by bloggers before.

The first time I saw this proposed was here at Slashdot, circa 1999/2000. A Cnet article that proposed exactly the same thing, I believe.
I would be hard pressed to produce the article. The search function here has improved, but it's still not especially grand for finding anything old and useful.

Anyway, my guess as why it hasn't happened would be that Google is ad supported and it's difficult to get children to buy things on their own.

I don't actually know. Please feel free to call me an idiot, but aren't there already sites that do this outside the scope and depth of Google?

Responsibility (1)

inkrypted (1579407) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417708)

Because it's not Google's job. In case you didn't know Youtube and Daily Motion both have family filters, perhaps you should look into using them. I believe it is the parents job to monitor what their kids are exposed to.

Parent outrage creates, parent outrage destroys (1)

RyanFenton (230700) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417718)

Why no special child-censored google? For the same reason the child-censoring market in general is so spotty: It's a fool's game.

Why? Because it's all a game of outrage. You'll never come out with a good reputation in a game of outrage, outside of a tiny community of people who rigorously train themselves to think identically.

Let's take the idea as a simple problem - filtering out the big english dirty words, then allowing a voting and challenge system to establish anything else as kid-unsafe.

The first thing you'll find is that many, many of the people interested in voting in such a system will be intentionally playing in bad 'faith'. They'll go after pet subjects, vote everything as inappropriate, and so on.

So, you add a meta-moderation system, and some safe experts to establish better trends. But then the outrage comes in - outrage that will inevitably consume a huge portion of your audience in several directions. Outrage that their kids aren't seeing the world how they want.

A sparse blacklist can occasionally make sense with minimal outrage, like with YouTube's setup, but start trying to make a completely kid-safe youtube, and you'll find yourself to blame for everything an irrational parent would care to imagine against you.

Ryan Fenton

Google Kids exists. It's called "No Internet" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36417736)

The Internet is an adult place, with adult ideas and adult content. If you want a coddled, cordoned off, "safe place" for your children, keep them off the net. When they turn 18, they can go on.

Or you could white-list a few websites your kids are allowed to go to. At which point, why give them the Internet at all?

The idea of an Internet-wide search engine and a walled garden are opposing concepts. They could be made to work together, but never very well, and the costs of doing so, the limitation of thought and ideas, would outweigh the benefits (none of which I can see).

Re:Google Kids exists. It's called "No Internet" (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417872)

The idea of an Internet-wide search engine and a walled garden are opposing concepts. They could be made to work together, but never very well, and the costs of doing so, the limitation of thought and ideas, would outweigh the benefits (none of which I can see).


because kiddie porn is illegal (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36417738)

oh.. wait ..

Use OpenDNS (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417746)

Their filters are not foolproof, which is impossible, but you can specify by category which things (websites) you don't want accessible on your home network.

There are other products for this purpose such as Blue Coat K9 and Net Nanny.

Looks like most folks here do not have children (1)

assantisz (881107) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417754)

I agree with the original poster that Google should offer a Kid search engine or a kid's version of YouTube. That would be awesome and I am very sure a lot of schools would love this concept as well. That said, there are plenty solutions available that can be implemented on the client side. I have absolutely no stake in any of the following companies but I am a father of three and love what they offer. My kids love Zoodles [] which is pretty much a collection of age appropriate content for kids of all ages. You can find a lot more in the educational arena, like Nick Boost [] or PBS Kids [] . Just pick your children's favorite TV channel and chances are they have a lot of online content for your child to play with. Getting age appropriate content is very easy. Even on the search engine side of things we have kid safe offerings. There is Kid Rex [] and plenty other Google based search engines [] . Last but not least you should make sure your child can only access child appropriate URLs. For that you can choose any of the web browsers and built-in OS mechanisms to restrict web access. My favorite child browsers are KidZui [] and the now defunct Kid's Browser.

The World is not for children..... (2)

acomj (20611) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417756)

The World isn't for children and the internet is part of that world. This is a fundamental thing.

Just as you wouldn't let a child run around un-supervised in a city, you don't let them run around free on the internet. Suburbs were supposed to be a child safe environment, but ultimately they aren't either (I would argue they are about the same as cities, but thats getting off topic).

Some web sites are for kids, but to allow them on the internet they should be supervised.

The internet is not the same as TV where there is much greater control of what is coming in. The internet is all about interacting, while TV is about consuming.

There are services that promise to make the internet "safer" but I doubt they work well. I wouldn't trust them.

Google kids (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36417766)

Why Google? Sounds like an opp for a resourceful parent or group..

Will somebody please think of the children!?! (1)

xheliox (199548) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417768)

Give me a freaking break, would you? Yes, my parents would drop me off at the library, but the librarians never stopped us from going into the 'adult' section. Why? Because that's the job of the parent! Not a librarian, not a teacher, and certainly not a corporation. Raise your children and spend time with them or don't have them at all.

Re:Will somebody please think of the children!?! (1)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417878)

Yes, my parents would drop me off at the library, but the librarians never stopped us from going into the 'adult' section.

Of course, the 'adult' section of a public library has a very different purpose than the 'adult' section of the Internet. I'm willing to bet that your library didn't stock porn magazines, or if it did, that kids weren't allowed access to them.

Being Human (3, Insightful)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417774)

'Think back to when you were a kid and your parents dropped you off at the library,' explains Agger. 'In the children's section, the only "inappropriate" stuff to be found was Judy Blume's Forever, which someone's older sister had usually already checked out anyway.

This is the entirety of the issue in two simple sentences.

First is the fact that the library section is managed by humans. It is not collected programatically. It takes human intervention to select tittles for this unique collection. This is something that Google either simply does not do or tends to avoid. Google's selections are handled by infamous algorithms that, while generally effective, are not without error or immune to manipulation. It was Yahoo that, over a decade ago, hired librarians to try to catalog the web.

Secondly, even with human librarians making selections for the library's children's section, mistakes and interpretation come in to play. Is Judy Blume's Forever appropriate? All the controversy over this particular book highlights the indistinct boundaries of determining the "appropriateness" of material. And the fact that the article's author even raises the spectre of controversy over this particular book highlights the difficulty in managing even a small, distinctly controlled environment much less anything as vast and fluid as Internet content.

last time i checked... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36417776)

Doesn't google and all google services provide a search filter? Last i checked it did..

Here ya go (2)

Tigersmind (1549183) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417786) [] Be sure to still watch em. The internet can go from kids to adult in about two seconds.

I'm 12 years old and what is this? (1)

zill (1690130) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417822)

Being 12 year old, I find this entire discussion incredibly discriminating. It's bad enough that I'm subjected to taxation without representation, but now mandatory censorship?

I'd like to remind you adults out there that the goatex guy and goatex posters are "adults", as are most child pornographers. Maybe it's better to perform censorship on the production end by licensing and regulating the ownership of cameras.

Re:I'm 12 years old and what is this? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36417974)

you dont have rights until you hit 18 dipshit. get over it.

Cultural differences (3, Funny)

Teun (17872) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417856)

Although there's a market for such a 'walled garden' it'll be hard to implement.

Billy Bob wants his son to get an early grasp on the difference between an AK-47 and a M-16 while a parent from Amsterdam might consider instructions on how to grow weed very insightful.
At the same time Fatimah hopes to teach her girl on how to become a martyr, or even worse, Gertrud and Wilhelm want their kids to be comfortable with FKK (Freikörperkultur).

You get my drift.

Your Child Can Turn on The TV Anytime (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417866)

Your kid can watch mayhem and murder and war on TV 24x7, but Gawd forbid he should via the intertubings see a human or vulva or penis, or one sliding into the other . Better put a chastity belt on your little sprat, lest he uncover the horrible vileness of procreative plumbing lurking betwixt his legs.

Why Google? (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417870)

Why should it be Google to do this?

Of course it's parents' job to supervise and make decisions for their kids, but they do delegate that to people they trust. But I'm back to: why Google?

My idea of what's appropriate for kids is very different from John Boehner's, which is different from that of Sheik Sadeq Abdallah bin Al-Majed, who would differ from the standards of that nice hippie commune on the other side of town. Google is not in a position to accommodate all of them (and the many other standards); no one would be happy with the results.

If a group of like-minded people want to idetify a subset of the internet that they feel is appropriate for children of a particular age, they should make that happen themselves. Many of them are. Don't just wish for some government or some authority-by-default (like Google) to do it for you, free of charge. D.I.Y.

Re:Why Google? (1)

brainzach (2032950) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417970)

It isn't any worst than the MPAA putting ratings on movies. Parents don't have time to watch every movie before their kids to see it so they rely on the third party to do it for them. Although it isn't perfect, it is a reasonable guide to give parents information about what is appropriate for their children.

If parents don't like the filters that Google set up, then they don't have to use it just like they can ignore the advice of the MPAA. It is just a tool to make the parents job easier.

So, a less-shitty Yahooligans? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36417884)

Not interested.

Even Google can't do this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36417896)

- No one will ever agree on what should be censored - the target is impossible.
- No matter how happy most parent are, there will always be idiots suing because a random word offended them. Why pay lawyers in perpetuity to defend a free service?
- "Protecting children" pits computers against determined human attackers - I'm leery of letting my son watch youtube cartoons because teenaged jerks like to dub obscene dialog into them. How do you guard against this, short of having a human view the entirety of each video?

It might actually be possible to have a community project - parents watching videos and okaying them, and checking on each other to avoid 4chan pulling something. Even if the site can escape liability by not viewing content themselves, though, we'd still be left with exactly what is acceptable. Should a video concerning evolution be classed as more or less offensive than anime bestiality, for example?

Bad Comparison (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417898)

The important aspect about the library is that it is a walled garden. Anything that comes into a library is catalogues and sorted into sections. There is a specific, generally accepted criteria that defines what is children's literature. Anything that is not categorized does not get in. This classification process does not exist on the internet; nor should it. The contents of the internet is too dynamic to be able to keep such a classification accurate or up to date.

The other issue is that children do not just use the kid lit area. They use reference, history, crafts, etc. In fact they can go all over the library.

Another hit to the comparison is that there is no erotica section in most libraries though it defiantly exists on the internet.

The bottom line is that a library is a pretty 'safe' place for a child to wander around unsupervised and look at books; the internet is not;and never will be.

The poster answer his own question (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417906)

He considers the novel "Forever" to be harmful to children. It is a book aimed at kids to help them understand their sexuality and feelings as they grow into their teens and become young adults.

It is probably not a book a 6 year old would be intrested in but won't harm them as a 6 year old who IS interested in it and can understand the subject matter, is EXACTLY the audience. Young people curious about the emotions happening to them. Who is to say a child of few more years might not be interested? Or a young child observing older siblings?

Where do you start to censor and where do you stop? Ultimately that is partly up to a parent. Nobody else can unless you want someone else to decide what you can watch.

Because for every parent who thinks Forever is bad for kids, there is someone who thinks Anne Frank should be banned or countless other "controversial" books that might give people the "wrong" idea.

Be careful wishing for a censored net, you just might get it.

Anyway, the censored net already exists, you can buy it. They block access to youtube, so you are safe from harmfull influences. Why should google fund a web project that will block itself? Buy some Halal or Christian ISP service. All the filters you could possibly want to make sure you kid never sees anything that might cause it to ask questions.

Simple: Cannot be automatized (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417932)

The area where Google becomes very, very incompetent is whenever you cannot automatize something completely. For example they have legal action pending against them in Switzerland for not reliably blurring out faces in streetview. Why they not just use something like the amazon mechanical turk, or give a small amount of money to anybody that reports a non-blurred face first, is beyond me.

This, however, is exactly the problem with Google: Their accuracy overall is atrocious. Normal search is often cluttered with irrelevant results to the point of being unusable. And lately they have started to search for things I did not tell them to search for, as if they knew better. For most things these days I have to use quotes and pluses. Just think about how much non-kid stuff were left if they did a kid search engine using these same shoddy mechanisms.

So you don't have something else to complain about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36417934)

So evil!

Baidu (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417950)

It sounds like the author's concerns are pretty similar to those the Chinese government has for all its citizens. Maybe an English language Baidu would be a good place to start.

Naive Parents (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417962)

>'Think back to when you were a kid and your parents dropped you off at the library,' explains Agger. 'In the children's section, the only "inappropriate" stuff to be found was Judy Blume's Forever,

What a bunch of hooey.

Judy Blume was never in the Children's Section. She was in the Young Adults section. YA

Also... YA books?

Pfft.... Amateurs. Why bother when you can cruise on over to the Adult section and read the "real books"? I had my own library card at 7, the minimum age. I could check out whatever I wanted. When I hit the tween and teen years, I skipped right over the YA section.

Adult authors warp a young mind? Yes, yes they did. So did Isaac Asimov and a bunch of SF authors among others (I was hot for the "Golden Age" SF stuff at the time), but I certainly found my way over to the books my mom would disapprove of. It's not like there's a Chinese wall between the kid section and the adult sections. It's not like a librarian is going to stop you from checking out the other side. Indeed, all the good SF was on the adult side, and my librarian (RIP, Mrs. Griffith, you are fondly remembered) is the one that turned me on to that genre. My first reference to oral sex in literature was in Poul Andersen's book "Gateway." Larry Niven's permissive sex in the Ringworld saga gave me a new vocabulary word for interspecies sex.

As for "inappropriate," try Virginia Andrews. The incest sex scenes in "Flowers in the Attic" were ... interesting to a 13 year old boy.

Ain't no censorship in a library, parents. If your kid is quiet, he/she can go anywhere and read any ol' thing. It's encouraged.


Use KidZui (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36417992)

It's a free browser for kids with only white-listed content. I have it on my 7 year old daughter's netbook and she loves it. You have the option of creating a parent's account and getting a weekly report of your kids' internet activity. Also when you set it up, you can choose gender and an age-range which changes what is shown on the home page. There's also an option to run it full screen, require a password to exit and to start the program when Windows starts so that your kid can only access what's in the browser.

Myth of Zero (1)

retroworks (652802) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417994)

Did you know that eating dirt is good for kids? Did you know that years of scrubbing hospitals of every bacteria has made them an incubator for resistent staph? It is not the occasional exposure to internet filth that alarms me as a parent. What would bother me would be my kid focusing on it and consuming it in unhealthy quantities. Building a filter to stop all exposure is lazy parenting. What you want is a relationship such that your kids, when they happen on something, talk to you about it rather than hiding it (also called "teaching to the moment"). Our society is constantly assuming that harms from overexposure demonstrate or indicate that zero exposure should be the norm.

Access to porn correlates with lower rates of sexual violence. And this study at a Taiwanese hospital turned up strong evidence that gamma rays (from radioactive rebar inadvertently used in the concrete walls of the hospital) reduced the level of cancer dramatically. [] "A mom's job is to make sure the kids don't get hurt, the dad's job is to make sure they don't get killed." ETC.

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