First discuss the types of websites that are out the there by discussing different web extensions. .com is typically for commercial use, .org is usually a non-profit organization, .gov is reserve for government websites, .edu is for schools, and then there are all of the different country endings like .ca for canada.
Once they understand the types of websites they are ready to perform a search. First have them search for something very broad, like ocean. They will notice a LOT of hits. Then if they narrow the serach to ocean animals, they will notice less hits. You can then continue to narrow down the topic to exactly what you are looking for and see how you find more and more relevent sites.
Now that they know how keywords work, you can start teaching them about qualifiers. A search for Indian Ocean Animals yields a very high search result, but if you put quotes around the phrase it will make sure the words appear in that specific order on the site and therefore yield much fewer results that have the exact phrase you are looking for.
After you have shown your children how to search on the internet you want to make sure they are still staying safe online. Most kids today do a great amount of Google Image searches. Google has an amazing index of images all around the web, some great shots, and some you would not want your kids to see! Google has some safe search features you can turn on by clicking on Settings in the top right corner of Google’s webpage. You can see the dropdown for “SafeSearch on”. Just click “filter explicit results” so that it’s check marked.
To make sure it STAYS that way, you can lock the SafeSearch to “on” by clicking the “cog” icon next to the SafeSearch button and selecting “search options” From there you can lock the setting with your Google account.
It’s important that not only do you put these filters in place, but you should also have conversations with your child about things that they may come across online. Practice with them exactly what they will do when they do see something they don’t think they should have. Help them to know it’s OK that it happened, and that it’s important to talk to you about it when it does. Unfortunately, with the world we live in, it IS going to happen at some point. The better prepared they are for when it does, the better chance you have of it not becoming a problem later on. Have the hard conversation with your young child. I promise it will be worth it in the end.
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