Google Earth

Common Sense Media says

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

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

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

Violence
Not applicable
Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Sharing and discussion is encouraged but not required in a community forum and on Google+. Kids should be cautious about revealing personal information, and they don't have to participate in any social forums to use Google Earth.

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.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Math

  • measurement

Science

  • ecosystems
  • geology

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • analyzing evidence
  • collecting data

Creativity

  • imagination
  • producing new content
  • combining knowledge

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Easy-to-use tools and no restrictions let kids really “get their hands on” the planet (and beyond). Kids are free to create and explore endlessly, bound only by the limits of curiosity and imagination.

Learning Approach

The experience is completely open-ended. There's opportunity to boost academic skills in all subject areas, and an appreciation for the environment and different cultures helps kids grow into well-rounded adults.

Support

Kids' involvement with Google Earth depends on their mastery of its different tools. Luckily, there are short, step-by-step tutorial videos to support them. There's also an online community for help, discussion, and sharing.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Math

  • measurement

Science

  • ecosystems
  • geology

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • analyzing evidence
  • collecting data

Creativity

  • imagination
  • producing new content
  • combining knowledge

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.

This Learning Rating review was written by Michelle Kitt

Parents say

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Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

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

Genre:Educational
Topics:Science and nature
Pricing structure:Free

This review of Google Earth was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 10 years old October 17, 2013
AGE
7
QUALITY
 

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
Great messages
Kid, 10 years old September 18, 2013
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

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
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

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
Great messages

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