Google Earth Website Poster Image

Google Earth

Zoom in or out, see the whole world on this virtual globe.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids can learn about any place on earth: the ocean floor, the North Pole, Paris, France, the Sahara desert, and more. They can observe places up-close and turn on dozens of layers to reveal interesting things happening on the planet, such as volcanoes, weather patterns, animal tracking, sites for SCUBA diving, or areas where UNICEF is working to improve water quality. Beyond earth, kids can learn about the surfaces and exploration of the moon and Mars. Google Earth has outstanding features, interactivity, and astonishing versatility -- the virtual total package for kid explorers.

Positive messages

Exposes kids to unfamiliar places, inspiring appreciation of Earth's land, oceans, animals, and people.

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Google Earth is an interactive map of the entire planet and beyond, packaged inside a program that you have to download to your computer. (It can slow down other running programs while in use.) It’s easy to dial the program's complexity up or down for older or younger kids. Google Earth reveals images of everything from personal homes to possible military information, and it may be fun (or somewhat unsettling) to find a photo of your own home and neighborhood. Google Earth has an active online community, and, as always, kids should not reveal any personal information in public forums.

Parents say

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What's it about?

GOOGLE EARTH is packed solid with information. Street View provides ground-level images around towns. Layers show weather, track animals, reveal shipwrecks, and more. Let the Tour Guide show points of interest in new places, or use the historical imagery slider to see changes over time. See 3-D renderings of buildings and tree species from around the world. Use tools to draw paths and measure distance, altitude, and area. Take a guided, multimedia tour of Apollo landing sites on the Moon. Kids can even make their own tours with narration, video, and photos.

Is it any good?


A good virtual tool lets you realistically explore things you’ll probably never see in person, like atoms or your brain. With a mega-palette of features to probe land, sea, and space, Google Earth is without a doubt a fantastic virtual tool. Kids can view Earth, measure it, or create and share original content about it (one user shared a tour of regional dialects in the United States -- with sound). It's so much more than a map. The short tutorial videos are a must-see, and, once kids get the hang of how it works, the possibilities are endless. With multiple new versions released every year, you can trust that the program is fairly up-to-date with new bells and whistles always on the horizon.

Families can talk about...

  • Explore some of the controversy that surrounds Google Earth regarding rights to privacy. How do you feel about seeing your home pictured in Google Earth? Talk about GPS tracking and read our advice about how to safely use location services.

  • Discuss criticism of Google Earth as a potential threat to national security. Should Google be restricted from sharing certain information? Why or why not?

  • Some countries have blocked citizens from downloading Google Earth. What do you think about that?

Website details

Subjects:Science: ecosystems, geology
Math: measurement
Skills:Thinking & Reasoning: analyzing evidence, collecting data
Creativity: combining knowledge, imagination, producing new content
Topics:Science and nature
Pricing structure:Free

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 10 years old October 17, 2013

Very Educational!

Education isn't always for kids under five. It is very sufficient for the little explorer at your home! Minors under 7 don't really understand the concepts, but it's pretty nice to have a little exploration with your child!
What other families should know
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Kid, 10 years old September 18, 2013

Good for School!

It's not that bad, CSM. It actually helps you with Social Studies a little bit. I would've checked education for that, but there no check for that.
What other families should know
Great messages
Kid, 12 years old September 17, 2013

Download now! Must-Have this!

I really love this program. You can view photos from all around the world, view streets and house, pin point locations, and even use a flight simulator. There's great visual images from the ocean to land; you can even go on tours of famous landmarks. This is a great site for really any age, you can see land forms, view geography, and delve deeper into the world's countries. This is a must-download for anyone, especially a lover of geography.
What other families should know
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