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How Content Gets Classified


Before you begin building your digital toolbox, you need to understand who (or what kind of automated tool) is classifying Internet content and what criteria is being used in the technology you have chosen to use. Classifying content may be done by content providers, third-party experts, parents, through surveys or votes, and by automated tools.

  • Content providers: ICRA and SafeSurf are examples of PICS rating systems designed to be used by content providers.

  • Third-party experts: Filtering companies use teams of information specialists, parents, and teachers to assist in classifying content.

  • Local administrators: A parent, teacher, or other "administrator" can decide what type of content should be accessible to children under his or her supervision.

  • Automated tools: Some companies have developed automated tools to classify content as the user requests it.
Classification schemes are designed to identify content that is "good for kids" and/or "bad for kids." It may be classified on the basis of:
  • age appropriateness

  • specific characteristics or elements of the content

  • who created the content
With the appearance of more and more Web sites every day, new content must be classified so that software tools that utilize classification information can stay up to date. Some products and services are continuously updated and are easy for users to quickly update. Others require users to manually download updates.

© 2001 by Donna Rice Hughes. Request permission if you wish to reprint or post.