SweetSearch

Website review by
Erin Brereton, Common Sense Media
SweetSearch Website Poster Image
Student search engine gives kids credible, relevant results.

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 5+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this website.

Educational value

Kids can learn about using credible online sources. SweetSearch only offers pre-screened sites in search results, and kids can access web search tips to learn why they should use verified sources and look for publication dates. Links to other sites in the SweetSearch network provide more than 1,000 biographies and information on writing one; info on what happened that day in history; and science, news, and vocabulary terms. SweetSearch supplies valid, reputable websites that can help kids learn about a variety of topics.

Positive messages

The site's search capabilities encourage kids to be inquisitive and proactive about learning.

Violence

Searches turn up WWII pre-execution photos, bayonet killings in 1937 in the Chinese Republic, and other fairly graphic fare. However, the images appear on history- and news-based sites and are mostly presented in a non-gratuitous manner.

Sex

Type "sex" in the search field, and you'll get results that involve animal reproductive habits, articles about banning sex offenders from libraries, and other news- and research-based content. However, search results aren't strictly filtered to remove sexual content, so with a little digging, kids can find more explicit discussions of sexual acts in online forums and in article comments.

Language

Responses are typically academically based, but search for "s--t" or "f--k" and you'll get synonyms for the words on Thesaurus.com, articles with quotes involving the word, and other news items.

Consumerism

There are no ads on the site, but websites with significant advertising may show up in search results.

Drinking, drugs & smoking

Kids can find articles that describe alcohol and drug use, though most information is factual -- not opinion based. However, SweetSearch pulls from many college and university publications, where recreational drug and alcohol use is sometimes freely discussed.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that SweetSearch is a search engine for students that pulls from 35,000 pre-screened websites to ensure results are valid and credible sources of information. However, among the approved sites are college and university publications, where student writers sometimes publish articles with discussions of drug and alcohol use, descriptions of sexual acts, and profanity. In addition, kids could encounter crime scene photos or disturbing historical images on some of the sites.

User Reviews

Adult Written byDean T. February 19, 2018

sweetsearch leads kids to porn, sugar daddy "dating" sites, and other graphic, adult material

Sweetsearch is often mistaken by teachers and school librarians as an appropriate search tool for young kids, even as young as elementary school. It is poorly f... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old May 21, 2013

sweet search

goooooooooooooooooood

What's it about?

SWEETSEARCH is a trustworthy online information source. The 35,000 sites that appear in search results have been reviewed to confirm their content is accurate and appropriate for student researchers. Most of what kids will find through SweetSearch is age appropriate, although news and educational sites could lead them to images of war and suffering. Searching is pretty much all you can do. The site's design is very simple, and the only other information comes from a few homepage links, which leads to sites like SweetSearch2Day, a daily selection of news, history, and other info, and SweetSource4Me, a search engine for younger kids.

Is it any good?

SweetSearch provides middle and high school kids with a search engine that suggests safe, relevant site options. Research experts, librarians, and teachers have proactively reviewed the 35,000 sites that may appear in search results to ensure they're a reliable information source. Some options are from findingDulcinea, which was created with a similar goal by the same company; others are reputable sites from organizations like the University of Colorado, the New York Times, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Though sites are pre-screened, kids can still encounter opinion pieces and less credible articles. Kids should continue to use critical thinking skills while gathering research with SweetSearch.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about using search engines to find information online. How can you tell if what you find out is from a credible source?

  • Discuss the difference between someone's opinion and fact. If you find information on a website that isn't from a reputable source, should you check another site to see if the information is true?

  • Why would it be a good idea to use a site like SweetSearch to look for information instead of another search engine? What kind of sites might you find that aren't okay for kids?

Website details

For kids who love homework help

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