jwhit at janwhitaker.com
Mon May 25 21:13:27 EST 2009
[also note the mention of where Optus is doing the filter testing and
the end date of the trial. No idea what that has to do with the point
of this article]
Parents warned of Wikiporn risk
May 24, 2009
PARENTS have been warned not to let children use the website
Wikipedia unsupervised after an entry on a popular children's book
was edited to contain pornographic material.
Sexual and violent acts between characters were added last week to
the online plot summary for Mrs Frisby And The Rats Of NIMH, which is
recommended for students in years 5 to 9.
The edited page for the book, on the list for the Premier's Reading
Challenge, was visible for about an hour before it was changed to the
A Sydney mother was shocked to discover the article, after
researching the book for her son.
NSW Parents Council executive officer of communications, Michelle
FitzGerald, said "all parents" should be concerned.
"It is a concern to the council that the internet, if used
inappropriately or not supervised, can lead children into areas where
they really should not be," she said. "It really comes back to
parental supervision on the internet."
Wikipedia's Australian representative, Brianna Laugher, said
vandalism was an continuing problem for the site.
"Wikipedia, in general, is not designed for a primary school
audience," she said. "I don't advise any children to use it before
they have had the pitfalls explained to them."
A NSW Education Department spokesman said the school attended by the
woman's son had not advised students to use Wikipedia as a research
tool. "The department has filters to block inappropriate material on
websites being accessed from school computers."
But website expert Mat Hardy, who is doing a PhD on the use of
Wikipedia in education, said filters generally worked on a domain
basis and would not block sites like Wikipedia. The website used a
program called a "bot", which automatically detects certain triggers,
such as profanity or major edits.
"If [the edited article] was only up for an hour or so, that
demonstrates how robust the system is, even though that is one of the
most obscure articles," Mr Hardy said.
Optus has joined the Federal Government's broadband internet
filtering trial, beginning a six-week evaluation which ends in early July.
The company is the eighth internet provider to join the scheme,
piloting the filter in Sydney and Newcastle households.
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
Our truest response to the irrationality of the world is to paint or
sing or write, for only in such response do we find truth.
~Madeline L'Engle, writer
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