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XXX coming to an internet screen near you

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CHARLOTTE, NC  (WBTV) - A recent study shows nearly 80% of kids under the age of 5 use the internet on a weekly basis.  

Many think that the internet is better, or safer, than the television because you can load a kid-friendly, educational site and tell them to watch or play there.  However, a potential internet naming change might actually put pornography and disturbing graphical images only one mouse click away from those kid-friendly sites. 

There is an organization that manages the internet called ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers).  This organization created the extensions you use today on the internet such as .com, .biz, .net, and .org. 

They are close to approving a new extension, this time it is .XXX.  On the surface, this sounds like a great idea, move all that porn off of .com and segregate it under .XXX but WBTV's Cyber Expert, Theresa Payton, explains why it might not exactly work this way and what you need to do to protect your kids.

THE PROPOSAL:

A recommendation is under review at ICANN, to move all pornographic images over to one domain name, .XXX.

WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT:

  1. There is time to voice your opinion, ICANN will vote on this in their June meeting.
    1. You can contact your elected officials with your concerns, or let them know you like the idea.
    2. You can write to ICANN to register your comments and concerns.  There will be a report written and posted on the internet for a 45 day public comment period

WHY THIS MIGHT BE A BAD IDEA:

  1. Porn is out there now but not aggregated under .XXX which consolidates porn and almost creates almost a sense of legitimacy.
  2. Most of the popular online sites are for kids.  Internet savvy surfers and child safety advocates are concerned that the porn industry will link their .XXX sites to popular .com site names or popular searches to gain traffic and advertising revenue.  This is a practice done today but might increase once they are segregated out to .XXX as they try to increase number of visitors.
  • Example:  One of the top 10 searches currently is a kid favorite, singer Justin Bieber.  Do a search and you get a lot more than just the actual Justin Bieber including adult content not appropriate for kids. 

5 FAST TIPS TO PROTECT YOUR KIDS:

  1. Talk to your kids and give them a safe zone – let them know that if they tell you they accidentally see porn, you will not get angry with them.
  2. Use your internet browser filters to help filter out graphic or adult content.  Most browsers offer this under their Tools section.
  3. Keep the computer in a public space in the house, not the bedroom.
  4. Consider screening or computer monitoring services such as Norton Online Family or McAfee Family Protection.
  5. If the .XXX extension is approved later this year, block .XXX access using your browser security settings.

WEB RESOURCES:

To follow the latest developments or to post comments on the .XXX extension proposal you can visit ICANN at http://www.icann.org/en/public-comment

A recent report that reviews the digital media habits of young kids, called "Always Connected:  The new digital media habits of young children" can be found at http://www.joanganzcooneycenter.org/reports-28.html

           

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