Do Your Kids Trust the Internet Too Much?

I was having lunch with my boys yesterday and a funny thing happened. I started to question whether young people are at risk of putting too much trust in what they see online, and specifically the search results that Google serves up.

It was a scene that plays out over and over again in our connected society. I asked my older boy, who is 16 and a long-time soccer player, if he had seen the Robin Van Persie header yesterday in the game vs. Spain.

Here it is, by the way.

He said that he hadn’t seen it, and I Googled “Van Persie header” on my phone.

The first couple of results for the autocomplete, and the Google search itself, were something like “Van Persie header Arsenal”, which I assumed had happened in a game vs. his former team Arsenal at some point, but it wasn’t what I was looking for. Kid one was looking at the search results as I did it, and said, “That was probably a better header.”

Hmm. If it was him searching, he might have stopped right there. There is certainly some value in looking for something and instead finding something else, but it pales in comparison to finding exactly what you’re looking for.

It makes sense to talk to your kids about what they’re seeing online, and making conscious decisions about whether it’s accurate, and actually what they’re looking for. Even information indexed by Google is sometimes false, often misleading and can lead you astray. Searcher beware.


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