Thanks for this URL.
This news doesn't surprise me, though.
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Interesting article on Kids.us at CircleID. The author says only 2,000 names have been regged and only 7 sites are online. Doesn't look like the hoped for spillover effect for .US recognition will come from kids.us at this rate.
DNJournal.com Rook's Rise: How a 10-Year Journey Helped 2-Year-Old Rook Media Become a Domain Monetization Darling
Thanks for this URL.
This news doesn't surprise me, though.
Under Watchful Eyes, kids.us Domains Ramp Up
by Carolyn Jabs
Sooner or later, nearly every parent wishes for a magic wand that will protect young children from things that aren't good for them. That's especially true on the Internet, where nothing but a mouse click separates even the youngest children from pornography, gambling, and other adult vices.
For the past decade, librarians, legislators, teachers and parents have all struggled to make the Internet safe for kids without infringing the rights of adults. Little more than a year ago, Congress decided to take another crack at the problem by creating a kids-only domain called kids.us (www.kids.us).
Domain is a technical word referring to a website address. The most familiar type of domain is .com for commercial, but there are others such as .org for non-profit organizations or .edu for educational institutions. The first website with the kids.us designation appeared in September 2003.
http://Smithsonian.kids.us is a hopeful harbinger. it's crammed with content that is both intriguing and educational. More kids.us websites are expected to come online in the next year, and a full directory will be available at www.kids.us.
Since the debut of Smothsonian.kids.us, a few more kids.us websites have been launched. They include
. http://firstgov.kids.us - Maintained by the Federal Citizen Information Center, it provides "links to federal kids' sites along with some of the best kids' sites from other organizations all grouped by subjects."
. http://space.kids.us - A site for kids interested in the solar system and space exploration, it includes photos, a coloring area and brief descriptions of heavenly bodies, astronauts and facets of space exploration. Christian Zouzas, Chelmsford, MA real estate attorney, maintains the site.
"My day job is a real estate attorney, but my passion is in the virtual real estate!" Zouzas told MetroKids. "I have presently about a dozen kids.us sites in production, from music.kids.us and games.kids.us to news.kids.us and weather.kids.us."
. http://stnicholas.kids.us - Developed by the St. Nicholas Center in Holland, MI (www.stnicholascenter.org). The center is dedicated to "discovering the truth about Santa Claus," namely, that Santa derived from the 4th century Turkish bishop St. Nicholas.
The introduction of kids.us websites has been slow, because websites can't simply request addresses with these letters. Instead, they have to apply for the designation by meeting specific standards designed to protect kids. Here are some of the restrictions:
. Decency. Sites won't be allowed to use language that's obscene or profane.
. Education. At least some of the content on the site has to teach kids something useful.
. Privacy. The owner of the web site promises not to collect information about kids who visit the site. Content. Sites cannot include content that promotes violence or includes hate speech of any kind. Material about weapons, drugs, alcohol, tobacco and gambling won't be permitted either.
. Connectivity. If sites include e-mail, chat, instant messaging or message boards, they will be supervised to be sure the content is appropriate for children under age 13. Also, sites won't be allowed to include links that would take kids to websites without the kids.us address
Says Christian Zouzas of space.kids.us, "I think the kids.us extension has got to be the biggest and brightest development since dot-com debut. Why? Due to the fact that a parent does not even have to monitor sites ending in kids.us because they are constantly monitored and regulated by NeuStar."
NeuStar, Inc. is the private firm selected by the U.S. Department of Commerce to monitor the kids.us domain. The company describes itself as a "trusted, neutral, third-party provider of mission-critical database and clearing house services to the communications industry."
Obviously, the kids.us rules provide important protections against some of the most serious dangers kids can encounter online. Parents, however, need to be aware of the new system's limitations.
First, it is designed to protect children under 13. As every parent knows, that covers a huge amount of developmental territory. Games that are stimulating for a 10-year-old might be hopelessly frustrating to a 5-year-old. Even with the kids.us designation, parents will have to be sure that what children are doing online matches their stage of development.
Also, kids.us guidelines don't limit commercial messages. Over-commercialization has already infected some kid-friendly web sites, though none with a kids.us address. Many of the most colorful and appealing sites have underlying agendas that involve selling candy, toys, sweet cereal, soft drinks and various forms of entertainment.
This is problematic because most child development experts agree children under age four can't readily distinguish between advertising and content. Even first and second graders don't always recognize commercials, especially if they utilize characters familiar from other contexts. Tweens who might be more ad-savvy in some settings often go into a "flow" state when playing online games, so they too could be more susceptible to commercial messages
On kids.us websites, advertisers won't be allowed to lie to kids, but they will be able to include games that incorporate products or spokespeople associated with products. As a result, parents will still have to decide which commercial messages are benign or even helpful and which undermine family values.
Other Web Areas for Kids
At this point, limiting kids to kids.us sites will cut them off from other valuable areas of the web. A large number of kid-friendly websites aren't likely to apply for the kids.us designation because they can't afford the fees or won't be able to meet the rules about supervision. One solution is to direct young children to specific websites that have been chosen by a trusted editor. Here are three reliable sources:
. Great Sites for Kids (www.ala.org/parentspage/greatsites/amazing.html). Here you'll find hundreds of sites selected by the American Library Association and organized by subject matter.
. Surf the Net with Kids (www.surfnetkids.com). Includes websites about topics that interest kids, selected by a journalist who has a syndicated column with the same name.
. Berit's Best Sites for Kids (beritsbest.com). Features sites that are both educational and fun, rated by a librarian.
As elementary age kids become restless with pre-selected web sites, steer them toward a search engine designed for kids such as www.yahooligans.com, www.surfsafely.com or www.ajkids.com.
Even though kids.us isn't a magic wand, parents should be on the lookout for websites with those letters at the end. At the very least, these new sites will protect kids from obvious online perils. At their best, these sites could create an online haven where parents can, with a clear conscience, say to their children "Go play!" ?
Carolyn Jabs is a freelance writer specializing in online content.
In a way, this the kids.us plan is an oxymoron for the web. By definition, a "web"site links to other websites for navigation. Without being able to link outbound, is it truly a "web" site? It's kind of more like a cul-de-sac site.
Another problem I see is that until you can easily set up a browser to only allow kids.us sites, many parents aren't going to let the kids at the computer because the
Saturday cartoons have pounded .com into the kids heads.
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