President Clinton recently announced his strategy for making the Internet child-safe and family-friendly. Read the details of his plan-and check out a handful of Web sites that'll help you provide a safe Internet experience for your students.
On July 16, President Clinton announced a strategy for making the Internet "family-friendly." The President's plan calls for a joint effort by government, industry, parents, and teachers to ensure that "the Internet will be both safe for our children and the greatest educational resource we have ever known."
"We all know and we've heard the horror stories about the inappropriate material for children that can be found on the Internet," Clinton said in his remarks. "But the computer industry is developing a whole toolbox full of technologies that can do for the Internet what the V-chip will do for television."
"I think it's fair to say that history will evaluate the Internet as having sparked a revolution in information perhaps every bit as profound as the printing press," Clinton said. "For today, at the click of a mouse, children can tap into the resources of the Library of Congress or a great museum, and they can communicate with classrooms around the world."
He cited NASA's Pathfinder Web site, which has had 27 million hits since July 4, as one example of how the Internet can bring together people.
Clinton announced that Netscape Communications has committed to add family-friendly controls to the next release of its Internet browser. Those controls, in the form of a special filtering technology known as the Platform for Internet Content Selection (PICS), will allow parents to choose from a variety of rating systems to block sites that are inappropriate for children. Microsoft, producer of another popular browser, already offers such options. Together, Microsoft and Netscape account for more than 90 percent of the browser market.
Most commercial online services and Internet providers currently offer customers filtering software that enables parents to block out objectionable material; and many of them offer the software for free.
Clinton also announced that many of the online search engine companies-including Yahoo, Excite, and Lycos-have agreed to make it easy for Web site developers to rate their sites appropriately. As new sites apply to be part of those directories, they will be asked to label any material that might be objectionable.
"I want to thank Yahoo, Excite, and Lycos for this important commitment," Clinton said. "You're helping greatly to assure that self-labeling will become standard practice. And that must be our objective."
"The Internet community must work to make these labels as common as food safety labels are today," Clinton concluded.
Article by Gary Hopkins
Education World® Editor-in-Chief
Copyright © 2006 Education World