VRATING - Safe Internet Content Rating system
Finding good Internet sites for your kids can be a challenge. There are lots of wonderful sites out there, but it can take hours of sorting through the junk to find the jewels.
Only one per cent of favourite sites chosen by Canadian students have been specifically created for children or families.
(Source: Young Canadians In A Wired World Survey, Media Awareness Network, 2005)
You can find good sites and specific online content using kid-friendly search engines and directories on the Web. Search engines offer the widest choice of information; while directories focus more on specific topics.
A search engine, such as "Google," is a site on the Internet that searchers Web pages based on their titles, key words or full text. Directories, such as "Yahoo!" are similar to catalogues, where sites are reviewed, selected and then categorized by age and interests and usually provide a range of other services. Many search engines and directories focus on kid-friendly information or filter out sites that are inappropriate for kids. Here is a list of some of the best on the Web.
- Ask Jeeves for kids
A unique commercial search engine that allows kids to search by using questions as well as key words.
- Awesome Library
This non-commercial directory included more than 20,000 sites reviewed by educators. It has a translation service that lets visitors browse in several different languages
- Educational Software Directory
In this directory, volunteers have reviewed and organized more than 23,000 sites into 14 categories.
- Great Web Sites for Kids
This American Library Association (ALA) directory includes links to online resources for fun and learning -- all reviewed and organized by children's librarians.
This non commercial directory lists more than 5000 Web sites hand-picked by librarians.
- Canadian Kids Page
Through this directory users can search hundreds of sites - particularly Canadian ones - by age and topic.
Tips for using kid-friendly search engines and directories
Kid-friendly search engines and directories are not foolproof and offer no guarantee that inappropriate or offensive content will not crop up during a search. They are also not responsible for where your may end up once you leave their site and start moving through other Web pages.
If you use a directory, find out whom it was created by -- is it an established authoritative organization? Check the directory's criteria for choosing the sites in its index. If it is a commercial site, keep in mind that some sites may be included for marketing reasons.
Test several tools to find out which one works best for your family. Search sites offer different features, and each search tool offers a limited number of sites in its results, so use more that one search engine or directory.
Many of the major search engines now offer parental filtering options that help prevent inappropriate sites from appearing in a search.
Some of the best filtered search engines are:
Click on the Advanced Search link. Scroll down until you see the filtering option and click on enable.
Click "Preferences" to the right of the search box, then scroll down and choose a level for "SafeSearch Filtering" - strict or moderate.
Click on "Settings" and then look for the "Family Filter" link.
The Alltheweb filter is enabled automatically. To turn off the filtering, see "Customize Preferences."
Click "Set Preferences" under the search box. Turn on "WiseWatch" at the bottom of the page to enable filtering.
Click on "Advanced Search" below the search box. Scroll down to "Adult Filter" to select your filtering level.
Tips for using search engines with parental filters
Filtering options on search engines are not foolproof and often fail to block sites with objectionable content, while blocking good sites. Check the criteria the search engine uses to filter information and test the filtering options on several sites to decide which one is best for your family.