Kids learn basics of research on
by Jinny Gudmundsen,
Most kids who use the Internet are wizards at e-mail and
instant messaging, but their cockiness wanes when faced with
doing Internet research. Many aren't sure where to begin.
Here's a primer on how to start Internet research.
Searching with young children
When searching with young children, start with a kid-friendly
search engine. A search engine is an Internet tool that scans
Web sites to find specific information. When you type in a
query, the search engine is able to glean relevant sites and
present them to the youngster. Kid-friendly search engines are
designed to shield children from inappropriate material and
present sites that are easily understood by children. These
are some of the best:
Ask Jeeves for Kids
This search engine uses "natural language" so kids can type
their queries in language typical of the way they speak. For
example, a child can ask "How does a microwave oven work?" and
the search engine will return a page from
that answers the question.
This search engine is embedded in a site that also serves as a
portal to many other kid-friendly sites and games.
Ithaki for Kids
This is a metasearch engine because
it taps into several search engines simultaneously to return
findings. By using Ithaki for Kids, kids will be searching
seven kid-friendly sites or search engines including
Yahooligans! and Fact Monster (
Ivy's Search Engine Resources
At this site, children can type a search request to eight
different kid-friendly search engines without leaving the
site. This site also has links to numerous other kid search
sites and Web guides for kids that were researched by a
grandfather for his granddaughter.
As children get older and are able to comprehend more
sophisticated issues, their research needs can outgrow the
returns of a kid-friendly search engine. When this happens,
try Google ( www.google.com
), an excellent general search engine. Google consistently
ferrets out relevant sites and users aren't barraged with an
When the research topic is more specialized, head to
www.noodletools.com ). This site offers a set of free
research tools to help kids choose the best research strategy.
By clicking on the "NoodleQuest" tool, kids will be asked
seven questions about their research. After checking boxes
indicating whether they are kids and telling about the types
of media they are seeking and the timeliness of the
information needed, the tool returns a recommended research
strategy with links.
NoodleTools also offers the
"Choose a Search Engine" tool that provides a chart showing
different ways to approach information.
The Columbia Encyclopedia is free at Encyclopedia.com (