Search engine giant Google plans to roll out kid-friendly versions of its most popular products, such as Search, Chrome browser and YouTube, to attract 12 and younger kids, an age group which is legally restricted from accessing these services.
Google is looking into how it can revamp its services to be both fun and safe for younger children to use. While speaking to USA today, Pavni Diwanji, the Vice President of Engineering at Google said that the push was motivated by a number of employees inside the company having children.
Google’s plan to target young kids will no doubt make the company to have tough times with those who believe that it’s impossible to make the internet safe for under-13s.and that engaging with a company built to sell its users’ adverts could be harmful, but the Mountain View company wants to handle this project in a sensitive way. Google already maintains a Safe Search Kids option that hides any content that isn’t appropriate for kids.
This isn’t the first time Google has made this announcement. Earlier this year, technology website ‘The information’ was the first to report Google’s plans. The website claimed that Google accounts for kids will include a special dashboard which makes it easy for parents to monitor their kid’s online activities. In addition to rethinking about how it tracks their data, Google aims to focus on the kind of content, these kids will be exposed to, while also complying with the US Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Diwanji says that children are already exposed to the technology in schools and at home. So the better approach is to simply see to it that the tech is used in a safe and better way.
Diwanji says creating a safe environment for kids online is one of her greatest challenges, but adds that as a mother of 2 kids she believes in coaching moments for kids, rather than banning them from what they can do. Kids under 12 have to be taught what’s right and wrong and bring families together using technology. The new project could prove controversial as the COPPA has so far imposed fines against 20 companies in its 15-year record for extracting young user information without parent knowledge. The company hasn’t yet scheduled a timeframe for the roll out, but the executives note that they’re going to work hard on the project, hinting that it may take up several months to complete.
Via: USA Today