Masthead CMC Magazine November 1, 1995 / Page 14


Date: Thu, 26 Oct 1995 23:06:09 -0400
From: Randy Fischer <>
Subject: comment

I read your publishing on the edge article and decided to send
you a copy of something I tried sending out a while back.  I sent
a copy to both Netscape and to Microsoft.  I got a
half-hearted response from Netscape and no response from
Microsoft.  I really think an idea like this must be done before
some governmental body decides to do it for us.  

I also sent a copy of this message to the list of toy suppliers that 
I found and asked them what they thought of this idea.  Almost 
all of them responded positively to the Idea and I believe that
the couple that didn't, did not understand what I was suggesting
or thought that this is already being done some how.  

Here is my proposal:

I am a new Internet service provider and have what I think might
be a good suggestion to help people deal with the adult (over 18
required) type information that is readily available on the
Internet.  This idea came to mind after I helped my 10 year old
kid look up something with Yahoo.  He was interested in toys.
That seems like a fairly safe subject and I suggested that he
enter that keyword into the Web searcher to find out what
information was available.   Well as a parent who would like to
allow my child have access to the wealth of information available
on the Internet, my enthusiasm was reduced when I saw the results
of the search.  There are a lot of toys that I would just as soon
not have my kid wondering about.

I suggest that as a part of the HTML markup language that there
be a tag that could be included on a web page that would activate
a request for a password before the page would be displayed by
the browser.  Then as a parent I could choose to enable
censorship on my copy of Netscape and if a page with this tag is
accessed then a password request could be made.  With that
extension to HTML, the tools would be there to allow parents to
be able to take some responsibility for what their kids look at
on the Web without having to sit and watch over their shoulder.  
Also if such an extension to HTML existed then the people who 
are concerned about the information on the Internet could pressure 
the suppliers of such information to include the tag on their pages.

I know that this is not a complete solution by any means, but
since the Web is a very popular medium to distribute information
and that once a keyword is entered (like toys), sexually explicit
information is within 4 mouse clicks it is very likely that very
young children will be exposed to this information.  A simple 
addition to HTML and Web browsing programs could go a long way to
making the Web a more comfortable place for parents with kids.

Netscape is the obvious leader in Web browsing and serving
technology.  I believe that you would gain a lot of media
attention and praise for a very simple addition to your program. 
Very little would have to be done to suggest that responsible
parents would only use Netscape as their browser because the
tools exits 'already' to protect children.  I also believe that
MOST providers of such information could easily be convinced to
add a simple tag to their pages....

I suggest the following:
Obviously this could be taken a lot further with rating and content type information, but the simplest is probably the best. Randy Fischer
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