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Category: Stuff for Your Brain

How We Talk Like Animals

You wave at your buddies, signaling them to come close. You’re walking home from school, smell fried chicken and pick up speed. Your friend doesn’t see you across the park, so you whistle. You know that a girl or boy that you really like will be at the school dance so you make sure that you are wearing your good jeans.

Those are all examples of how you talk like animals talk.

We humans have developed ways of communication that go beyond how animals talk. We can exchange ideas about dreams and the future and technology. Animal communication tends to be geared to survival; that is, escaping predators, signaling the readiness to mate or about finding food.

We are animals and although we have evolved to create this marvelous thing called “language,” we still have the instinct to respond to “non-verbal signals.”

Consider crabs. They are known to wave their claws to signal to a potential mate. This is similar to you outstretching your arm and waving at friends.

Smells are very strong with animals, directing them to good eating, just like you with fried food. The scent animals use most commonly are created by pheromones, a hormone some animals secrete. These pheromones alert others about a perfect mate or of an approaching predator. Your male dog uses pheromones when he raises his leg to mark his territory.

Bird songs are whistles that speak a thousand words. They can be used to call their babies, alert others to danger and to scold an intruder. But humans also use whistles.

Primitive peoples are known to use whistling before using words. New Zealand aboriginals use whistled tones to talk to the dead. You use whistling to call your friends over.

Dancing is another method that animals use to communicate. Bees dance to signal not only the presence of food, but how good it is. That is called the Waggle Dance. Other animals dance as a method of communication—like humans. Think about that at your next school dance.

Elephants tell other elephants that they want to play by winding their trunks around each other. Gorillas communicate anger by sticking out their tongues.

Peacocks use their spectacular plumage the same way that girls, boys, men and women do: to show that they are attractive and worthy of attention.

From the beginning of life on earth, animals evolved and survived and went on to raise generations of little animals—and that includes us. We are long removed and advanced from animals in many ways. In other ways, we are bees dancing about food.

Remember that the next time you make a face at a friend who is about to say something stupid.

You wave at your buddies, signaling them to come close. You’re walking home from school, smell fried chicken and pick up speed. Your friend doesn’t see you across the park, so you whistle. You know that a girl or boy that you really like will be at the school dance so you make sure that you are wearing your good jeans.

Those are all examples of how you talk like animals talk.

We humans have developed ways of communication that go beyond how animals talk. We can exchange ideas about dreams and the future and technology. Animal communication tends to be geared to survival; that is, escaping predators, signaling the readiness to mate or about finding food.

We are animals and although we have evolved to create this marvelous thing called “language,” we still have the instinct to respond to “non-verbal signals.”

Consider crabs. They are known to wave their claws to signal to a potential mate. This is similar to you outstretching your arm and waving at friends.

Smells are very strong with animals, directing them to good eating, just like you with fried food. The scent animals use most commonly are created by pheromones, a hormone some animals secrete. These pheromones alert others about a perfect mate or of an approaching predator. Your male dog uses pheromones when he raises his leg to mark his territory.

Bird songs are whistles that speak a thousand words. They can be used to call their babies, alert others to danger and to scold an intruder. But humans also use whistles.

Primitive peoples are known to use whistling before using words. New Zealand aboriginals use whistled tones to talk to the dead. You use whistling to call your friends over.

Dancing is another method that animals use to communicate. Bees dance to signal not only the presence of food, but how good it is. That is called the Waggle Dance. Other animals dance as a method of communication—like humans. Think about that at your next school dance.

Elephants tell other elephants that they want to play by winding their trunks around each other. Gorillas communicate anger by sticking out their tongues.

Peacocks use their spectacular plumage the same way that girls, boys, men and women do: to show that they are attractive and worthy of attention.

From the beginning of life on earth, animals evolved and survived and went on to raise generations of little animals—and that includes us. We are long removed and advanced from animals in many ways. In other ways, we are bees dancing about food.

Remember that the next time you make a face at a friend who is about to say something stupid.

A Letter from Your Computer

Kids Computer Safety

Dear Human. Thank you for taking the time to listen to me. After all, we spend a lot of time together. Together, we explore the big, wide world. We play, we learn and we visit with friends. But I need to be honest with you. There are some things you do that make me feel bad.

I don’t like it when you click on bad and ugly pictures.

They make me uncomfortable and sometimes when you look at ugly pictures, I get hurt. The people who post that gross stuff also stick viruses in the picture. By clicking on those pictures, you can accidentally download a virus which could make me sick.

If I get infected, I’d have to go to the computer doctor to get fixed. While I’m being repaired, you won’t have me to play with. I’d miss you. Please, watch out for gross pictures and websites with creepy names.

I know you want to watch that new movie that just came out, but think before you click. Streaming and downloading sites are filled with all sorts of malware. When you steam a movie or download that show, you could also be downloading spyware or phishing software.

Some stranger far away can then look inside of me and take your pictures and emails and videos. Then can even break me so bad that I can’t play with you anymore. Please, take care of me. Don’t stream or download unless your parents have a subscription with a business they can trust.

Also, I don’t like it when you use me to hurt others.

It might seem like fun to you or a way to show friends how clever you are, but those mean words sting. I’m your friend, not some goon you use to push people around. Please, be nice when you use me. Be polite. Remember, computers are supposed to better the life of humans, not bully people around.

I’m your friend. I’m your study buddy. I’m on your gaming team. I’m the tool that can take you all the way around the world while you sit safe in your home. Let’s share the world together. Think before you click.

Yours truly,
Your Computer.

P.S.  My friends—your cell phone and play station—wanted me to remind you that they feel the same way that I do.

Dear Human. Thank you for taking the time to listen to me. After all, we spend a lot of time together. Together, we explore the big, wide world. We play, we learn and we visit with friends. But I need to be honest with you. There are some things you do that make me feel bad.

I don’t like it when you click on bad and ugly pictures.

They make me uncomfortable and sometimes when you look at ugly pictures, I get hurt. The people who post that gross stuff also stick viruses in the picture. By clicking on those pictures, you can accidentally download a virus which could make me sick.

If I get infected, I’d have to go to the computer doctor to get fixed. While I’m being repaired, you won’t have me to play with. I’d miss you. Please, watch out for gross pictures and websites with creepy names.

I know you want to watch that new movie that just came out, but think before you click. Streaming and downloading sites are filled with all sorts of malware. When you steam a movie or download that show, you could also be downloading spyware or phishing software.

Some stranger far away can then look inside of me and take your pictures and emails and videos. Then can even break me so bad that I can’t play with you anymore. Please, take care of me. Don’t stream or download unless your parents have a subscription with a business they can trust.

Also, I don’t like it when you use me to hurt others.

It might seem like fun to you or a way to show friends how clever you are, but those mean words sting. I’m your friend, not some goon you use to push people around. Please, be nice when you use me. Be polite. Remember, computers are supposed to better the life of humans, not bully people around.

I’m your friend. I’m your study buddy. I’m on your gaming team. I’m the tool that can take you all the way around the world while you sit safe in your home. Let’s share the world together. Think before you click.

Yours truly,
Your Computer.

P.S.  My friends—your cell phone and play station—wanted me to remind you that they feel the same way that I do.

Four Really Scary Things

Aliens won’t swoop down and grab you for experiments. Zombies will not eat your brain. And that dark shapeless thing that lurks beneath your basement stairs?  Well, all sorts of monsters may run through your mind, but the fact is – they don’t exist.

Most kids live nice, safe lives. Yes, there are REAL dangers to that exist in the world but here are four things that you should really take precautions for in your everyday life.

Invisible Creatures. One of the biggest dangers for kids are tiny monsters that you can’t even see. Every year, thousands of kids go to the hospital because of sickness caused by germs and bacteria. Luckily, you can beat those SCARY THINGS very easily. The most important thing to remember is to wash your hands often. When these creatures do hurt you, listen to your parents and stay in bed. Sometimes a good night’s sleep is enough to get rid of those monsters.

Household Whoopsies. Simple accidents send thousands of grownups and children to hospital every year. Slipping in bathtubs, grabbing a hot pot off the stove, playing carelessly with sharp objects or matches—accidents can happen anytime, anywhere. You don’t need superpowers to beat a Whoopsie. All you need to do is follow basic rules, like watching out for water on the bathroom floor, respecting knives, being careful around hot pots and, most importantly, listening when your Mom or Dad gives you a warning.

Automotive Accidents. Everyone loves the power and speed of a car or truck. Vehicles take you to exciting places—and sometimes to the hospital. You probably know someone who was hurt badly in a car accident. Luckily, there are actions you can take to prevent this SCARY THING. First, always wear your seat belt. Keep your eyes open and on the streets when riding around. When walking, look both ways before crossing the street. Cars and trucks are fun and useful when people think about safety.

We live in a world full of huge, dangerous animals. You have probably cowered as you watched a movie where sharks take huge gaping bites out of swimmers. You’ve watched kids chased by velociraptors and people crushed by giant snakes. The truth is that the most dangerous living creature to humans is the mosquito. Yup. That little buzzer has hurt more humans than any other living species. They can carry illnesses that they inject when they sting. Most mosquitos aren’t very dangerous; they’re mostly annoying. But don’t just ignore them. Use bug spray when playing in grass or in the woods, especially around ponds or lakes.

Monsters with chainsaws, hungry great white sharks, creatures under your bed—these can be scary, but unless you get a role in a movie, chances are they won’t bother you. The real SCARY THINGS that can happen are things that you can beat, if you think and act with safety in mind.

Aliens won’t swoop down and grab you for experiments. Zombies will not eat your brain. And that dark shapeless thing that lurks beneath your basement stairs?  Well, all sorts of monsters may run through your mind, but the fact is – they don’t exist.

Most kids live nice, safe lives. Yes, there are REAL dangers to that exist in the world but here are four things that you should really take precautions for in your everyday life.

Invisible Creatures. One of the biggest dangers for kids are tiny monsters that you can’t even see. Every year, thousands of kids go to the hospital because of sickness caused by germs and bacteria. Luckily, you can beat those SCARY THINGS very easily. The most important thing to remember is to wash your hands often. When these creatures do hurt you, listen to your parents and stay in bed. Sometimes a good night’s sleep is enough to get rid of those monsters.

Household Whoopsies. Simple accidents send thousands of grownups and children to hospital every year. Slipping in bathtubs, grabbing a hot pot off the stove, playing carelessly with sharp objects or matches—accidents can happen anytime, anywhere. You don’t need superpowers to beat a Whoopsie. All you need to do is follow basic rules, like watching out for water on the bathroom floor, respecting knives, being careful around hot pots and, most importantly, listening when your Mom or Dad gives you a warning.

Automotive Accidents. Everyone loves the power and speed of a car or truck. Vehicles take you to exciting places—and sometimes to the hospital. You probably know someone who was hurt badly in a car accident. Luckily, there are actions you can take to prevent this SCARY THING. First, always wear your seat belt. Keep your eyes open and on the streets when riding around. When walking, look both ways before crossing the street. Cars and trucks are fun and useful when people think about safety.

We live in a world full of huge, dangerous animals. You have probably cowered as you watched a movie where sharks take huge gaping bites out of swimmers. You’ve watched kids chased by velociraptors and people crushed by giant snakes. The truth is that the most dangerous living creature to humans is the mosquito. Yup. That little buzzer has hurt more humans than any other living species. They can carry illnesses that they inject when they sting. Most mosquitos aren’t very dangerous; they’re mostly annoying. But don’t just ignore them. Use bug spray when playing in grass or in the woods, especially around ponds or lakes.

Monsters with chainsaws, hungry great white sharks, creatures under your bed—these can be scary, but unless you get a role in a movie, chances are they won’t bother you. The real SCARY THINGS that can happen are things that you can beat, if you think and act with safety in mind.

Wally and Wuzzy

Social media can be fun, but can feel strangely cold. Time spent in the real world with friends can make you stronger and happier. See how a furry friend made a difference in a boy’s life even after the puppy was gone.

Wally was tiny,
born quiet and calm.
People made him feel funny,
Made him run to his mom.

Strange kids made him cry
And new places were scary
And any adventures
Made poor wee Willy wary.

His mom and dad wanted to find him a friend,
A buddy to help him grow up.
They went to the pound, took a good look around—
and brought Wally a fuzzy, cute pup.

He called the pup Wuzzy and loved him a lot.
With Wuzzy, wee Wally felt strong.
Other kids came a running,
They asked Wally questions,
And Wally could hang all day long.

Wally and Wuzzy grew up as a team.
Wuzzy helped Wally make pals.
After years little Wally got older and cooler,
He made good friends with guys and—GASP—gals!

But his best bud of all was his fuzzy old friend
Who stood by his side those hard years.
But Wuzzy got older and soon life made him tired.
Wuzzy had spent his dog years.

And one hard, dark day, the vet checked Wuzzy’s heart,
And said Wuzzy’s last day had arrived.
With tears and with anger, with a huge aching soul,
Wally kissed his dear friend good-bye.

For the first time in years Wally’s felt all alone.
He tapped out his grief in a post.
“My best friend is gone and has left me so empty,
I feel like a sad, living ghost.”

Replies started coming.
Some typed “Buck up, pal.”
Others said, “Chill.”
Others just wrote, “Feel so bad.”
But the words were just letters
Typed out on a screen.
And they left teenage Wally still sad.

The postings, he thought, were meant to be kind,
But something about them felt cold.
His missed his warm Wuzzy, his muzzle and tongue
And how his dear friend had made him bold.

He logged off his computer and braved the outdoors.
He went to where Wuzzy had played.
A friend ran to him, heard his sad story
And shared his dog—Flip–for the day.

Wally liked his computer and going on-line,
But knew that when life felt this low,
Postings and likes were okay for a while,
But really didn’t ease his deep woe.

Going out to the park, watching other dogs play
Seeing people who loved Wuzzy, too,
Made Wally feel like he belonged in the world.
Their memories, pictures and stories so true
Filled Wally with strength and made him feel bold.
The real world that he shared with his pal
Touched him from his bones to his heart.
Time spent together remembered and shared
Meant that the two would never be apart.

Life on-line was fun, that was true,
But dog breath and tongue licks and
Catching thrown balls
Were better than posting and likes for his wall.

Wuzzy was never on-line in his life.
He never once posted or hit the button to “like.”

But Wally will spend the rest of his days
Remembering the buddy who made him feel brave.

Wally and Wuzzy
By T.S. Paulgaard

Social media can be fun, but can feel strangely cold. Time spent in the real world with friends can make you stronger and happier. See how a furry friend made a difference in a boy’s life even after the puppy was gone.

Wally was tiny,
born quiet and calm.
People made him feel funny,
Made him run to his mom.

Strange kids made him cry
And new places were scary
And any adventures
Made poor wee Willy wary.

His mom and dad wanted to find him a friend,
A buddy to help him grow up.
They went to the pound, took a good look around—
and brought Wally a fuzzy, cute pup.

He called the pup Wuzzy and loved him a lot.
With Wuzzy, wee Wally felt strong.
Other kids came a running,
They asked Wally questions,
And Wally could hang all day long.

Wally and Wuzzy grew up as a team.
Wuzzy helped Wally make pals.
After years little Wally got older and cooler,
He made good friends with guys and—GASP—gals!

But his best bud of all was his fuzzy old friend
Who stood by his side those hard years.
But Wuzzy got older and soon life made him tired.
Wuzzy had spent his dog years.

And one hard, dark day, the vet checked Wuzzy’s heart,
And said Wuzzy’s last day had arrived.
With tears and with anger, with a huge aching soul,
Wally kissed his dear friend good-bye.

For the first time in years Wally’s felt all alone.
He tapped out his grief in a post.
“My best friend is gone and has left me so empty,
I feel like a sad, living ghost.”

Replies started coming.
Some typed “Buck up, pal.”
Others said, “Chill.”
Others just wrote, “Feel so bad.”
But the words were just letters
Typed out on a screen.
And they left teenage Wally still sad.

The postings, he thought, were meant to be kind,
But something about them felt cold.
His missed his warm Wuzzy, his muzzle and tongue
And how his dear friend had made him bold.

He logged off his computer and braved the outdoors.
He went to where Wuzzy had played.
A friend ran to him, heard his sad story
And shared his dog—Flip–for the day.

Wally liked his computer and going on-line,
But knew that when life felt this low,
Postings and likes were okay for a while,
But really didn’t ease his deep woe.

Going out to the park, watching other dogs play
Seeing people who loved Wuzzy, too,
Made Wally feel like he belonged in the world.
Their memories, pictures and stories so true
Filled Wally with strength and made him feel bold.
The real world that he shared with his pal
Touched him from his bones to his heart.
Time spent together remembered and shared
Meant that the two would never be apart.

Life on-line was fun, that was true,
But dog breath and tongue licks and
Catching thrown balls
Were better than posting and likes for his wall.

Wuzzy was never on-line in his life.
He never once posted or hit the button to “like.”

But Wally will spend the rest of his days
Remembering the buddy who made him feel brave.

Wally and Wuzzy
By T.S. Paulgaard

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