Kiddle, a website billed as a "visual search engine for kids," was criticized on Twitter this week for blocking certain search terms as "bad words," including "gay," "puberty," "menstruation," and "child abuse."
The website later removed the block on most of these words, instead showing links to articles on these topics aimed at children.
Canadian author Robin Stevenson tweeted this week that the words "gay" and "lesbian" resulted in an error page calling the terms "bad words."
The new Kiddle search engine tells kids that "gay" and "lesbian" are "bad words." So NOT okay. pic.twitter.com/Wtvxejn6Kn— @robin_stevenson
A kids' search engine that lets kids search "genocide" but not "puberty," "gay" or "transgender" is useless. https://t.co/6FNl0b6WqM— @robin_stevenson
Others on Twitter noticed other terms that brought up similar messages
Kiddle. It's like Google for kids! Filters out all the nasty words like, er... pic.twitter.com/wW7xguiqIk— @wordgeeksez
[cw child abuse] OK this search engine is actually dangerous, this is the worst thing kids seeking help should hear pic.twitter.com/yBbDBISBMh— @stavvers
Kiddle later changed the results for some of these terms, but other search results remained blocked
Oh it's even better now. Please ask your homophobic parents about homosexuality pic.twitter.com/TnPegZgU4B— @LuigiThirty
By Wednesday, this message was also removed and users were shown results on the topic deemed appropriate for children
@urwalder WOW. A kid can search info on puberty and periods and actually get useful info instead of being told off! Glad they're listening!— @robin_stevenson
Other users noticed some inconsistencies in what terms it allows and what it blocks. "Suicide" won't give you any results, but "self-harm" will.