Kids blocked from search engines in web classification

Children under 12 will be blocked from using search engines under a classification scheme operated by ISP tibboh.

Kids blocked from search engines in web classification

The firm has been working in conjunction with the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) to develop a filtration system based on the same principles used to rate films – U, PG, 12, 15 and 18. Parents will be able to set up individual profiles for each child, giving them all customised filters.

Google, Bing and other search engines are blocked to those under the age of 12. “The rationale for this is that even forcing the [search engines’] ‘safe search’ solutions for U, PG and 12, the number of search results that generate sites that would be blocked remains significant,” a tiboh spokeswoman claimed. “This is especially true of many sponsored links. Tibboh provides its own search solution for U, PG and 12 users to overcome this issue.”

A spokesperson from Google said the firm takes child safety very seriously and incorporates text and image filters with its SafeSearch feature, although it admits “no filter is 100% accurate.


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YouTube and social-networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are also classified 12, which tibboh claims is in line with the social sites’ existing T&Cs. A ‘panic button’ from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) will be placed on all web pages using a browser overlay, including Facebook, a feature which CEOP has been unsuccessfully attempting to implement on the social network.

Blogging services will be blanketed with a 15 rating, and classifications of news sites will vary from U to PG.

Three billion sites vetted

Tibboh claims to have vetted approximately three billion URLs to date. The cloud-based system uses a mixture of keywords and image mapping to filter websites, as well as examining “the nature of interlinking” on the site and “the way it markets and presents itself”. Tibboh managing director Phil Dawson said this was because pornography sites “tend to be more aggressive” at interlinking.

Websites that have not been vetted are automatically blocked for those on U, PG or 12 accounts, while 15 and 18 certified profiles can access them until they’ve been rated.

Even 18-certificate accounts will receive some form of “minimal restrictions to certain race-hate and criminal-skill websites, as well as proxy sites”. Tibboh offers no unrestricted service on its network.

Tibboh claims its service has already been successfully rolled out across “the London Grid for Learning and many other educational authorities across the UK, covering more than 6,000 schools and over three million pupils and teachers”.

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