I’m hearing rumours that some thought is being put behind implementing web ratings on all websites just as all movies have a rating. Not only would this be colossally stupid, it would be impossible to enforce. And for those 2 reasons, I don’t think it will ever happen.
I’ve heard some stupid things before: For example, I was working for a company that had a backhoe tearing up part of the parking lot with a cement mixer off to the side. A co-worker came into the office and asked “Do you know what they are doing out there?” Without missing a beat, another co-worker promptly told him they were hunting elephants with snow shovels in the parking lot. At that point the first co-worker just stared blankly at us all and still couldn’t piece everything together and come to the realization that they were repaving the parking lot.
Applying web ratings to all websites would be just as absurd as that previous example. I know age verification on websites is practically fool proof these days. I always take the few seconds it takes to specify my birthday as 01/01/1950 to get onto websites that have the gaul to ask for it. 86.5% of all users of those websites do have a birthday of January 1st. While that statistic my not be accurate, I bet it’s not far off. Or are we going to rely on parents to filter which sites their kids can browse to? While I’m sure some parents would do a great job, 86.5% of them have no idea which sites their children frequent.
Applying these web ratings would be about as impossible to implement as hunting elephants with snow shovels. While my content may be PG right now, there is always the possibility that I’ll get a new author who likes to throw around 4 letter words like there is no tomorrow. Also, while my content may be appropriate for young eyes, I don’t monitor / filter any comments placed on this site to the degree that would be needed.
Rating a movie is one thing, but trying to place those ratings onto a Web site is ridiculous. There are too many people providing too much content on too many sites for it to make any sense. In other words, the Web, unlike film, is not a controlled environment.
I’m all for protecting kids from dangers in the world, and the Internet has plenty of it. But trying to apply generic ratings to the multi-faceted Web is ridiculous.