|If you had a school right next to a busy street, you wouldn't ban cars from the street or tell the kids they must remain in the classroom, canceling recess. You would put a fence around the playground, hopefully keeping cars out and kids in. You define a smaller but safer area for the kids. It is time to do the same thing with the internet... define a first order domain where the content and rules are kid friendly.
Children are encountering sexually explicit, pornographic and violent material on the internet.
- Inadvertently while researching other topics
- By misspellings
- Intentionally, but parents who are not technologically savvy cannot counter the statement “It just appeared in my screen.”
- and Expired web addresses are taken over by pornographers.
- Children can buy alcohol and drugs at websites.
It is technologically feasible to have ICANN (Internet Corporation Assigning Names and Numbers) to issue “.kid” URLs, making them subject to an agreement that the site will maintain standards similar to G ratings for movies and will link only to other sites with “.kid” URLs.
Sites can have multiple URLs… so the White House could be both www.whitehouse.gov and www.whitehouse.kid. The .kid URLs would define an entire part of the internet which would be kid safe. It would also make putting objectionable material into that realm a breach of contract and therefore enforceable with existing laws. Furthermore, erasing the link between the URL and the site could be immediate. It would be equivalent to removing a label saying the site was kid friendly rather than erasing the information from the web.
Any non-G rated material would be a breach of contract. Complaints could be reported by email to internet providers who could erase the address or divert it to a page explaining that the site is in breach of its contract and forward information to a central office that could record them and send them off to the authorities of the jurisdiction in which the ISP exists. The infrastructure for this kind of thing already exists with such things as AOL’s terms of service violations. Search engines already cruise thru the web looking at websites. They could easily detect and report .kid links that go to non-.kid sites.
The joy of this is that there is no constitutional question. It’s more a truth in labeling issue. Nobody is forbidden to publish anything they want to the web. Rather, they agree to a level of kid protection and get a label that could be to their advantage.
One could reasonably expect software vendors to come up with computers or browsers than only go to .kid sites. Service providers could be set up to allow only access to .kid sites.