The new Kiddle Search Engine is ‘protecting’ teenagers from learning about sex, sexuality and the human body.
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Readers of this blog will be aware that attempts at anti-sex censorship are usually dressed up as ‘child protection’. You might remember, for example, the ‘porn filters‘ that were rolled out by ISPs to protect the little dears from all that horrible pornography; yet in practise blocked everything from sex education to drug information and self-harm support: things that are vital for teenagers to access.
Again, the current government consultation on ‘protecting children online’ is actually aimed at preventing everyone – including adults – from accessing porn that doesn’t comply with UK censorship laws.
In short: when you hear ‘online child protection’, you can expect the exact opposite: defining teens as ‘children’ and then blocking access to vital information and resources is NOT protection: it’s abuse.
So when the new ‘child protection’ search engine from Kiddle turned up, I was suspicious. And, it turns out, rightly so. As Jane Fae writes in Gay Star News (link below), the search engine believes that any terms related to homosexuality are unacceptable. This is not accidental. Searching for ‘LGBT’, for example, returns:
“You have entered an LGBT related search query. Please realize that while Kiddle has nothing against the LGBT community, it’s hard to guarantee the safety of all the search results for such queries. We recommend that you talk to your parent or guardian about such topics”
But the restrictions aren’t confined to gay or trans issues. Searching for ‘breast cancer’ returns:
“Oops, looks like your query contained some bad words. Please try again!”
We live in a country so determined to stop teens seeing nipples that they can’t learn about breast cancer. This isn’t child protection: if a young person is old enough to search for LGBT information, they’re old enough to read the results. To tell a young person exploring their sexuality to “talk to your parent or guardian” is beyond insensitive.
Read Jane Fae’s article here: The new ‘Kiddle’ search engine for children is homophobia at its most creepy and dangerous – Gay Star News