Talking to a group of teachers the other day, we agreed how interactive boards were an amazing resource in the classroom. I mean, who needs flashcards when you have Google Images? Googling visual aid for students, however, can be a tricky business. Especially if you are an EFL (English as a foreign language) teacher like me, and might use this resource quite often, increasing the chances of checking out seemingly innocent words just to realise they have an obscene side. Google is always improving its filters, but sometimes even Safe Search filter fails to prevent students from becoming traumatized or teachers from having an extremely embarrassing experience.
Here are some ideas to help you use Google Images safely and words to avoid searching.
“If something exists, there’s a porn version of it”.
This is important to remember. ANYTHING can turn into porn. Odds are, if you scroll down long enough your Google results, from “Muppets” to “Suffragette”, you will find something disturbing. Most words, however, are safe to search if you don’t scroll down much.
Some words can show unwanted results from the first line of images, though. One fellow teacher found out the hard way that “thick” is also used to describe giant female bottoms. Here are some other unsafe words and groups of words:
Avoid googling words like “big”, “huge” and “enormous”. These usually refer to sexual organs.
Most nationalities can be tricky, and I’d be especially cautions with the words “Asian” and “Brazilian”.
This one leads to a number of inappropriate memes.
It’s relatively safe, but scrolling down can lead to nudist beach pics.
Don’t ever google that. A safe alternative is to Google “octopus” and point out the tentacle. Really, don’t google tentacles… you’re welcome.
You can kind of guess this one, right?
Young, old and mature
Yup, not very safe at all.
I know it sounds obvious, but sometimes you’re just thinking of actual missionaries. It’s not as bad as most of the previous ones, though.
Most Pokemon names (Pikachu, Nidoking, etc) lead to porn for some reason. If you have children, you might want to watch out for that.
This one is pretty safe for Google Images, but so not safe for videos.
By itself, the word is pretty straight forward. It’s a fruit, that’s it. But Google images will show as one or the first alternative options, a Japanese manga (comic book) which is quite sexual. Also, if you google “lemon party” you’ll instantly regret.
Please let me know of any other words that are unsafe to google in class.
And whatever you do, don’t ever… EVER google “blue waffle”.