When Little Kids Google

My 3-year-old niece and 6-year-old nephew just discovered Google.

It’s funny how technology so rapidly changes the world our kids grow up in. When my kids (14, 16, and 18) were young… Google was unknown! Mid-90’s web searches were AOL, Yahoo, or Web Crawler. (Remember those? I used Alta Vista.)

The 90’s computer gaming experience was much different as well. Young kids didn’t play as many online games; they played CD-roms. I remember a rack of kids CD’s by our computer: Jumpstart Toddler, LarryBoy, and Disney Princesses.

No need for that now. Everything a kid needs is online.

I was talking with my brother Thom last week and he told me, “I just taught Aidan (6-years-old) to Google!”

“Seriously?” I asked, “What does he Google?”

Thom sighed. “He doesn’t get it yet. He searches using the logic of a 6-year-old. The other day he typed: the red guy in Captain America.”

I laughed.

“Or yesterday, he Googled a car that a kid can drive. He actually found one!” Tom chuckled. “It was like $1,000 bucks. Aidan asked me,  ‘How many books would I have to read to earn that?’”

Thom and his wife Amy have spent a lot of evenings snickering while watching the kids play on the computer.

Thom and Amy have a designated computer the kids can use, complete with every cyber block known to mankind to keep out unwanted content. But they still monitor the kids browsing. I would to. It sounds pretty entertaining!

The other day Aidan’s little sister Elise (age 3) was giving Aidan suggestions of things to search for. “Look up hair dryers for kids!”

Aidan found quite a few.

Elise liked Aidan’s search for the red guy in Captain America, so she suggested her own query. “Look for Captain A-girl-ica.” (3-year-old reasoning)

Thom also taught Aidan to use the phone in the last few weeks. “He calls me every 5 minutes now!”

Thom is a pastor in a small town. He’ll now be in meetings at the church and his phone goes off. Caller ID: HOME.

“Hello?”

“Uh… dad? Uh… how do you spell rhinoceros masks?”

I guess that’s what Thom gets for teaching his kid technology.  🙂  Wait till Aidan discovers iTunes and YouTube. (Have you ever taken a quick tour of the Top 10 songs and videos at just a click away?)

It’s fun for me to see the innocence and creativity of my little niece and nephew and how they are interacting with technology.

So what about those of you with young kids? What guidelines do you set for that age?

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; Sex Matters; The Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket; and youth ministry books like Ministry By Teenagers; Connect; and the 10-Minute Talks series. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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5 Responses to When Little Kids Google

  1. adam mclane says:

    Yes, our kids Google stuff. (And Wikipedia and YouTube)

    We observe a couple of rules in our house.
    1. Kids use digital devices in public spaces of our home. (No bedrooms, closed doors, etc.)
    2. When you stumble across something inappropriate… move along.

    I think you and I would agree that it’s better to teach our kids how to interact with the crap that’s out there than it is to be an ostrich parent. (Stick your head in a hole and wait until they move out.)

    Yup, there is scary stuff out there. Satan is active in our world. But I’m not going to hide my kids from the great stuff this life offers for fear of the bad stuff this life offers.

  2. Joshua Gerber says:

    Our 17 month old son is already able to turn on and unlock my iPhone. We are going to be in a world of hurt when he gets older and into technology more. But I guess he is a fast learner like I was. When I learned to walk and get out of my bed, the first thing I learned how to do was turn on our TV and VCR to play my video.

  3. Itsme says:

    Yeah…I’m 14 and when I was younger my parents didn’t monitor what I searched as they thought I was innocent and couldn’t do much harm. How wrong we’re they. When I was 7 I remember accidentally clicking on an inappropriate website. There was no porn, just writing. It was really confusing. I didn’t understand it as no one had told me anything, so ended up thinking r*pe ment whip (??? Don’t know how that turned out??? ) but later on that year googled it and found out. It was scarring reading that as an 8yr old 🙁