An Alternative to Government Regulation and Censorship: Content Advisory Systems for Interactive Media
C. Dianne Martin
The RSACi system was developed to provide parents and consumers with objective, descriptive information about the content of an Internet site, allowing them to make informed decisions regarding site access for themselves and their children. (RSAC home page)
There are now over one million online users below the age of eighteen. A recently pronounced goal in the United States for the National Information Infrastructure (NII) is to enable it to provide a level of education to all students that surpasses the highest levels of education available today. Throughout the history of the NII, education and research were key motivations for the development of the technology, first as the ARPANET, then the Internet, the NREN, the NII, and as part of the United States Department of Education project GOALS2000. Many recent initiatives have focused on the educational capabilities of these networks for K-12 students. In addition, a significant reason for the presence of young people on the Internet has been the explosive growth of online services and Internet access, especially through services such as America Online (AOL), CompuServe, and Prodigy. Ironically, this surge of new users has also brought an increase in the availability of adult-oriented content and services, much of which is considered inappropriate for young people.
In addition, the rapid adoption of the World Wide Web (WWW) as the most popular Internet browsing platform has meant that the types of material available on the Internet have expanded from a primarily text medium to a whole range of media including graphics, sound, animation, and full-motion video. Thus, the potential impact of the Internet, both