A trade group, backed by industry heavyweights, will introduce a campaign today [Tuesday] that encourages websites to use voluntary electronic tags to help parents screen their children's computer use.
Although support for the voluntary tags, which labels content according to categories such as adult, language, violence and hate, has been controversial, companies like Microsoft's MSN, Playboy, Yahoo and America Online have agreed to them and have begun to label their web properties' online content.
The companies will also ask those who use the portals to do the same, according to a spokeswoman at the Internet Content Rating Association (ICRA). About 200,000 sites currently use the tags.
According to the ICRA, about 84 per cent of teens surf the web for fun, while 55 per cent visit a chat room and 92 per cent communicate through email.
The ICRA content labelling system builds on the pre-existing RSACi system and is the result of an international consultation of industry and academia.
The RSACi system provided consumers with information about the level of sex, nudity, violence and offensive language in software games and websites. It was formally folded into ICRA in 1999.
The ICRA system can be used with Microsoft's Internet Explorer immediately, while other applications are under development.
Board members include representatives from Bell Canada, Bertelsmann, IBM and BT.
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