SafeSurf Internet Rating System Receives Broad Support From Online Community

February 28, 1996

Ray Soular or Wendy Simpson
Web Site:

Van Nuys, CA -- Over twenty thousand Internet sites, as well as Microsoft and other software companies are supporting the SafeSurf Internet Rating System, announced Wendy Simpson, president of SafeSurf, a parents' online organization.

"SafeSurf has pioneered a voluntary solution for making the Internet safe for children. They are continuing in the right direction by supporting the PICS standard," said Scott Berkun, Program Manager at Microsoft. "We will support the SafeSurf system, along with other PICS compliant rating systems, in future versions of Internet Explorer."

An easy to use form located at the SafeSurf Web Site (http://www.safesurf.com/) has already enabled thousand of sites to rate themselves based upon their content. "Our easy-to-rate form is giving the Internet community the opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to self-regulation and responsible publishing," stated Simpson. "We could not be more pleased with Microsoft's commitment to families online by their support of the SafeSurf Rating System."

The Internet rating system was introduced by SafeSurf last year as part of its efforts to create a safe "cyber-playground" for children. Soon after, an industry effort, known as PICS (Platform for Internet Content Selection), asked SafeSurf to assist them in designing and establishing an Internet protocol for labeling content. SafeSurf has now expanded their original rating standard to comply with the PICS protocol and is designing the PICS testing server at MIT.

The PICS protocol provides software and browser companies with a common method to read all rated content. The end result is that parents will be able to designate viewing levels according to the age of their children and their own personal standards. The system now gives parents the tools needed to set the computer to only accept material they have determined is appropriate for their family.

However, in order to be universally accepted, the PICS protocol needed to be easy to grasp by even the most inexperienced Web publisher. SafeSurf resolved this issue by creating a special form that not only generates the necessary code and rating automatically, but sends this information directly to the users e-mail box with exact instructions on how to place it in their Web document. This enables anyone to rate their site, regardless of their understanding of how the system works.

Along with Microsoft, the SafeSurf Internet Rating Standard is also supported by Net Nanny Ltd.'s Net Nanny, Microsystems' CyberPatrol, Teachersoft's InterGO, and SolidOak's Cybersitter.

For more information on the PICS effort please contact Jim Miller, jmiller@w3.org
Created 01 March 1996
Last updated 01 March 1996