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Filtering out objectionable content



Many parents express concerns about the type of content that their children can view through the internet. Although Quad-Cities OnlineŽ does not offer any filtering software on our server, there are a variety of services and standards available on the WWW for filtering out objectionable content from a web browser. Keep in mind, however, that none of them are fail safe and the only sure solution is proper education of your children.

RSACi



The Recreational Software Advisory Council on the Internet has established a standard of ratings which web site authors may enable on their sites. These ratings are measured in four areas: sex, language, nudity, and violence.



If the web site you are viewing is rated with RSACi it contains a value from 0 to 4 measuring the severity of its content in those areas. In order to make use of these ratings you, the viewer, must enable your web browser's content advisory settings. In these settings you specify the severity of the content you will allow to be seen. If you go to a web site with ratings that are higher than your tolerance levels, it cannot be viewed without entering a password that you set.



Although this is one of the best filtering solutions available, there are a few caveats. At the time of this writing the only browser that contains the RSACi settings is Internet Explorer. Netscape has stated that its next major browser version will contain the filtering capability. Also, the filtering will only work properly if the author of the web site you are viewing has made the voluntary effort to rate his or her pages - which many have not.



The RSACi standard is growing in popularity, however, and most major web sites have already rated themselves with it. For more detailed information, as well as instructions on enabling filtering in your web browser, go to the RSACi home page at www.rsac.org.

Software packages



Some companies produce commercial software packages that run on your computer and attempt to block unwanted content from reaching the viewer. They accomplish this by various means such as scanning the text of a page for objectionable words or comparing the site's address to a database of black-listed locations.



None of these packages are foolproof to every situation, but some may find them a better alternative to the RSACi system mentioned above. The following is a short list of filtering programs available on the internet. You can find others by doing a search on subjects such as content filtering or child safety in your favorite search engine.





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