May 31, 2012

Dear Otto: Where Can I Find Kid-safe Images?

tech questionsDear Otto is an occasional column where I answer questions I get from readers about teaching tech. If you have a question, please complete the form below and I’ll answer it here. For your privacy, I use only first names.

Here’s a great question I got from a reader:

I am a computer lab teacher and teach grades 1-5.  I can really use some advice from others. Do you have a good place for students to go and get images that are appropriate – I teach grades 1-5  and Google even with strict settings as well as MS Office clipart have some inappropriate images  that come up from searches

I wrote a post about this almost a year ago. I appreciate that you’ve reminded me it’s time to revisit. This is harder than it should be. I use Google as a default because it is the safest of all the majors, not to say it’s 100% kid-safe. I spent quite a few hours one weekend checking out all of the kid-friendly child search engines (Sweet Search, KidSafe, QuinturaKids, Kigose, KidsClick, Ask Kids, KidRex, and more), but none did a good job filtering images. Content–yes, but images dried up to worthless for the needs of visual children.

So I went back to Google and tried their Safe Search settings. Normal Google search is set to moderate. For schoolage children, they can easily be set to Strict (check out this video on how to do it).

For some, even ‘strict settings’ isn’t enough. Take the opportunity to teach students about internet safety, about what to do if they encounter something they shouldn’t, about never straying from assigned website. There’s no way to protect children 100% from the world around them. Better that we give them the tools to survive and thrive, prepare them for the day we won’t be there to protect their back.

For a list of copy-right free images, check my post here.

For more research websites for kids (beyond images), click here to go to my tech class internet start page. On the right side, if you scroll down, you’ll see a box of links to good, solid kid-friendly websites.

PS–here’s a video on using the Google safe settings:


Anyone have a great solution to this problem? Please share.

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Jacqui Murray is the editor of a technology curriculum for K-sixth grade, creator of two technology training books for middle school and three ebooks on technology in education. She is the author of Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy midshipman. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, Cisco guest blogger, IMS tech expert, and a weekly contributor to Write Anything. Currently, she’s editing a thriller for her agent that should be out to publishers this summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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