You and the Internet

Useful information for online researchers

Top search tips

    There are billions of sites on the Internet, so how do you find the ones that are fun or useful? We want your searches for information to be fast and rewarding. Here are 8 tips for using internet search engines to find just the right site for you.
  1. Start with the obvious. Looking for Picasso? Type in "Picasso" instead of modern painters.
  2. Be specific. You get more accurate search results if you ask for "antique lead soldiers" instead of "metal toys".
  3. Consider phrases that would appear on a website. You might think about fun places to go this summer, but will probably get better results if you type in "family vacation destination".
  4. + (plus) searches. Most search engines ignore common words like "and", "or", "is" because they can slow down your results. If you include a common word in your search, put a + sign in front of it, with a space before the +. To find information on World War I, for example, type "World War +I".
  5. - (minus) searches. Sometimes you want information on a word that has more than one meaning: Bass can mean a type of fish or a musical term. Use the - (minus) sign to exclude results you don't want.
  6. For web pages about bass, the fish, type "bass -music" into the search box.
  7. OR searches. To retrieve pages that include any of a group of words related to your main search term, type an uppercase OR between the words. To find information about camping in France or Italy, type "camping France OR Italy". You'll get results for both.
  8. Phrase searches. It's handy to search for complete phrases, or proper names, by enclosing them in quotation marks. Words in double quotes ("I have a dream" or "Martin Luther King") appear together in all the results exactly as you've typed them.
  9. (~) tilde searches. If you want to search for a keyword and its synonyms - words that have the same or similar meaning - add the tilde (~) sign immediately in front of your keyword. For example, to search for food facts as well as nutrition and cooking information, type in "~food ~facts".

Internet safety

For Kids

  • The Internet can be great fun, but it does have both positive and negative aspects.
  • Always get permission from an adult before connecting to the Internet.
  • Never arrange to meet someone you have talked to online, no matter how well you think you know the other person or however curious you may be.
  • If they have your e-mail address some websites will send you lots of junk e-mails trying to sell you things, or messages that make you feel uncomfortable. This is called 'spamming'.
  • When online, keep your full name, address, mobile number, e-mail address, school name and friends' full names secret. Otherwise people can use this information to contact you.
  • Delete any e-mails from strangers or from companies that you don't know. If you open an e-mail that says rude or unpleasant things, you must tell a trusted adult straight away - and don't reply to it.
  • This site doesn't recommend any chatrooms or message boards, but if you do use them, here are some useful guidelines.
  • Chats and message boards are fun, but remember you don't know who you're talking to. Remember stranger danger - you should use the same rules when you're online.
  • When you register or join a new message board or chatroom, make sure you tell a trusted adult about it.
  • Your passwords and nicknames you use anywhere on the Internet should be secret. If you have to, give an online screen name or nickname, never use your real name.
  • If you're upset or worried by things said to you in a chatroom or message board, tell an adult.
  • Don't forget you can always simply leave the website or chatroom if anything makes you feel uncomfortable or worried.

For Adults - Filtering Software

There are many different software packages in the market designed to protect a web user from viewing any material they don't want to.

These register whether a site has unsuitable material on it - such as violent images or adult material - and it prevents the site from loading in your browser.

The settings on this can be altered to filter as little or as much as you want.

Some even offer the option of selecting a list of "good" and "bad" sites - where the "good" sites are the only ones the child can visit.

To help you out, here are some websites of the suppliers of more popular software which automatically blocks or screens material on the Internet;

It's true that objectionable content is available on the Internet, but no blocking software is 100% successful in filtering all "bad" sites. Often blocking software can inadvertently censor genuinely worthwhile information and perfectly "good" sites.

Remember, a determined student can defeat any product that is installed on the local PC, and no software can ever replace a parent talking to a child.

The BBC has some useful information for kids at and the BBCi ChatGuide at has some good suggestions.

The Internet Watch Foundation at may also be useful.

Other useful sites:

Both the UK and US governments have Internet safety websites, with various recommendations that you may find useful.

UK -

Secure browser settings

You can control the content viewable on your Internet browser with various tools, so they only show sites that contain suitable material for your child.

Bear in mind, these settings are very simple to change and can be switched off as well as on.

In the Internet Options tab in Tools on your browser, you can find the Internet Explorer Content Advisor function under Content.

You should be able to select a security or privacy option, which you can set to whatever level you desire.

In Netscape, select the 'Edit' menu and choose 'Preferences', then select the 'Security' or 'Privacy' settings before choosing the level of content you wish your child to have access to.

For detailed information from Microsoft on Internet Explorer, follow this link –

You can get also more technical information here –

Choosing the right site

Each keyword in the book can be entered on any page of the website. For each of these keywords, our researchers have picked a number of other web pages that they think merit a visit.

The websites we recommend add to the information we provide on the printed page, and together the book and website are invaluable 21st century research tools, covering a wide range of subjects.

Multimedia web features can enhance the learning experience, experts in a field can add detail, and topical sites can provide news on developments and discoveries

We've tried to link to pages on websites that are age-appropriate, and that are informative, up-to-date, and accurate. However, we don't have any control over these sites, and content may change. We'll update and check these sites regularly, but if you find any links that are broken, incorrect, or inappropriate, you can e-mail us here

Here are some links to free downloads on the Internet that may help to view or use the content on some of the websites we recommend. (Often you won't need to download these, or you'll be prompted by the sites if you need them)

  • QuickTime Player
    An application for playing, or interacting with, any video, audio, VR or graphics file that is compatible with QuickTime.
  • Flash Player
    A plug-in for viewing content developed in Macromedia Flash.
  • RealPlayer
    A widely-used multimedia player.
  • Windows Media Player
    An application used for viewing audio/video files compatible with Media Player.
  • Java Virtual Machine
    A Java runtime environment, required for the running of Java programs.

These links to different browsers may also be useful if you experience problems.

Parent and teacher advice

In linking to pages on the World Wide Web, we hope to encourage and assist children in online research skills, however we do recommend that younger children are supervised when using the Internet.

We hope our recommended links provide useful information for learning at home and at school, but to directly copy (cut and paste) information from any of the websites we recommend is plagiarism, and should not be encouraged. The content of the websites are often copyright-controlled, and are an information resource that should not be abused.

Your Children Online

To properly protect your children online, you should find out about the kind of things they're interested in on the net, and then you can introduce additional software and browser functions to stop them stumbling across unsuitable sites.

The Internet can be a very positive place for children to explore, and although you and your child should be aware of the dangers, exploring it should be a positive and open activity.

  • Sit with them and offer assistance while they surf; you could create a routine by agreeing a set time each day for them to use the net.
  • If you worry about them viewing unsuitable material, select a number of mutually agreed suitable websites, and put them in a favourites folder.
  • You could even consider putting the computer in a busier room in the house, so they aren't hidden out of the way.
  • Try talking to them about Internet safety and encourage them to be 'smart' rather than dictating rules.

Privacy Policy

For Kids

Hey you! Are you 13 yet? You're not?
Well, then it's your lucky day. You don't need to read all this stuff, just ask one of the grown ups you live with, or your teacher, to do all the work. Ask them to click on this link and start reading for you. If you're 13 already, we're afraid you've got some reading to do.

So, who are we?
I am the editor of this Dorling Kindersley website.

Where are we?
If you want to ask us a question about the website or what we do with things you tell us about yourself:

Write to us at:
The Editor, dkonline
Children's Division
Dorling Kindersley Limited
80 Strand, London
United Kingdom

Or e-mail us here.

Who are you?
You know the answer to this one already, but we don't. So sometimes we will ask you to tell us how we can get in touch with you.

If you plan to send in an e-mail to the site, ask a parent or other adult to check out clause 6 of our General Terms and Conditions and to help you with what you send

You tell us about yourself - then what?
If you come and visit our website then we promise that we won't go telling anyone else the stuff you've told us. That would be pretty rude. The only time we'll share what you've said to us about yourself will be when we've already told you we were going to and you'll be able to tell us "no".

Hey you! You're not 13 yet are you?
Didn't we tell you not to read all this? Aren't you bored yet? Ask an adult to read what's below. They're used to being bored.

For Adults

This website is owned and operated by Dorling Kindersley Limited.

How to contact us
If you have any questions about this website or our privacy policy, please contact us by writing to: The Editor, dkonline
Children's Division
Dorling Kindersley Limited
80 Strand, London
United Kingdom

Or e-mail us here.

Alternatively you can call us 020 7010 2000 or send a fax to 020 7010 6685.

Our approach to privacy

We do not ask users to disclose any more information than is reasonably necessary to enable them to participate in an activity on our website and to ensure that our website is in keeping with our customer's needs.

We do not generally disclose personal information we have collected from you or your child through this website to third parties. We may do so sometimes, in which case we will say so when the information is collected and you or your child will be able to inform us that you do not wish us to do this. This will not stop you enjoying the site, you can simply tell us that you are happy for us to have the information so you can take part in the activities we offer, but that you do not want us to pass that information on.

Besides what we describe in this Privacy Policy, we do not maintain any personal information obtained from users through this website in a retrievable form.

The information we collect and how we use it

When you or your child wants to participate in activities on our website, this is the sort of information we ask for and how we use it:

When you subscribe to receive any of our e-mails or newsletters we will ask for your e-mail address.

On all e-mails and newsletters that we send, we give you the option to unsubscribe should you wish to do so. You can unsubscribe by advising us by e-mail, phone, fax or post.

We only keep the personal information you submit for these purposes until we have made use of it in these ways.

Adults on this dkonline site

We encourage parents and guardians to spend time online with their children and to participate in the activities offered on this site. If your child is younger than 13, we ask you to play an active role in safeguarding his or her privacy when using our site.

Children under 13 years of age

We make it a condition of using this site that no information is submitted to or posted at the site by children under 13 unless we have the written postal consent of their parent or guardian. Whenever a child under 13 takes part in an offer or activity on the site where we ask him or her for personal information we will ask for your consent, which should be sent by post to the Editor at the above address. No information will be processed until the postal consent has been received.

Older children

If your child is older than 13, we will ask him or her to give consent personally if we plan to use his or her information for anything (we will also say what we plan to do with it). Please help your children with this. There is a separate Privacy Policy written for children over 13 which he or she needs to read before using this site and which can be accessed by clicking here.

* NOTE: Dorling Kindersley has made every effort to link to external websites that are reputable, relevant and appropriate, however, DK is not in any way responsible for or able to control the content of these websites. If, however, you do find any broken or incorrect links, or if you find content that you think is inappropriate, or if you just want to send us your comments, please email us.