Google Arts & Culture
Is Google Arts & Culture Safe for Kids?
A complete app review for parents.
What is the Google Arts & Culture app?
Description: Google Arts & Culture is about exploring various cultures, people, and places influential in shaping the world we know today. Though the app has been around since 2016, it gained popularity, most recently, due to an update that allowed users to take selfies which Google would then attempt to match with art pieces from museums around the globe. Aside from the fun selfie feature (which, right now, is only available in the U.S.), users are able to virtually explore museums and spaces around the world, search for artists and collections, and read inspiring stories of current people impacting their communities today.
Corporate website: https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/
APP Store rating: 12+
What do parents need to know about the Google Arts & Culture app?
The app makes learning a little more fun. With VR growing in popularity, the idea of being able to “step into” spaces from around the world with an app is exciting and interesting. It provides a sense of adventure and education to the user but costs much less than traveling there in person.
Geo access is necessary to use one of the features. The “Nearby” feature exists for users to be able to find museums and cultural events near them. The app can make recommendations to users when the location is turned on.
The app has faced criticism for being racist. With people from many different ethnic backgrounds, some have expressed disappointment that the app doesn’t show much support of their history. A reviewer from Mashable stated, “It doesn’t work very well for people of color and includes few artists from Latin America or places outside of Europe. So, if you’re Mexican-American, like me, and you’re looking to have some fun with the app… well, good luck!”
Art and expression can sometimes show a provocative side to life. While many of the photos, art pieces, and stories in the app wouldn’t be offensive or shocking to some, because it’s art, parents just need to be aware of some tasteful nudity.
There is a hidden doorway to a Google. A hidden Google search bar can be accessed through both the “Terms” and “Privacy” section of the app. At this time, Covenant Eyes is the only solution that monitors hidden Google searches on iOS devices.
The bottom line: Is Google Arts & Culture safe?
Knowing your kid’s maturity level is key. There are some pretty cool aspects we really like about this app; users can “explore” the world of art in a fun way. But, with most good things, there can be risk too. Exposure to some of the content or material for some twelve-year olds might be a bit too much.
If you choose to let your child use this app, plan to have continued conversation about the art they’re viewing and things they’re reading in order to offer a framework for thinking and analyzing this information in a healthy and positive way.