Kiddle search engine homepage with a robot graphic standing on a faraway planet
Guide

Kid-friendly search engines and accessibility

Comparison of popular search engines that are safe, appropriate and accessible for young students.

How do you keep students – especially young students – safe when they are doing online research? Can you prevent students from stumbling across inappropriate pictures and content? Thankfully, there are kid-friendly search engines that block inappropriate word searches and that direct students to sites that are age-appropriate. Since there are numerous kid-friendly search engines available, let’s take a look at how accessible these popular search engines are for students who are visually impaired and blind.  Most of these kid-friendly search engines provide similar search results, meaning that they link to the same kid-friendly resources. This post will consider the accessibility features of each search engine and compare how user-friendly the layout and organization of each search engine is for young students with visual impairments and blindness.

Accessibility features

Top kid-friendly search engines

Note:  The screenshots are all iPad screenshots; some of the websites look different when accessed with a computer.

Update May 2022: Kiddle now has adds that appear after you type in your search, same as kidtopia. Does not have accessible Headings.

Update May 2022: KidRex now has adds that appear after you type in your search, same as Kidtopia. Does not have accessible Headings.

Update May 2022: Kidtopia is a site built by elementary school librarians. Kidtopia is a directory (organized by categories) and custom search engine (which eliminates ‘commercial junk’). The directory has expanded and currently contains 12 categories. Select a category to open up another directory with even more options. Example: Animals is a category on the first directory. Select Animal and then choose from 20 animal-related buttons. Using the directories is an easy process (without ads) for students to find age-appropriate and engaging information.

Kidtopia search engine displaying series of human body videos.Kidtopia Screenshot showing numerous ads before search results.

 Update May 2022: This website does not have good color contrast for some low vision users.

Summary

Kiddle is currently my top kid-friendly search engine, due to the simple, uncluttered design, user-friendliness and the large thumbnails.  However, each of these search engines offers unique features, such as the clear videos on KidTopeia. Unfortunately, the accessibility feature, Headings, has not been fully incorporated into these search engines.

Update May 2022: Unfortunately, Kiddle now has ads (related to your search) making it more challenging to use with a screen reader. The kid-friendly search engines in this post continue to be listed as top search engines. I have looked into the latest kid-friendly recommended search engines and have found that newer ones that make the top lists tend to have cluttered screens and even popup ads.

Please share YOUR favorite accessible kid-friendly search engine!

Note: This post was initially published Feb. 2017 and has been updated May 2022.

By Diane Brauner

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