Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Keep kids games secure online

There are some fabulous things about the internet; you can look up any part of history you forgot, discover virtual images of the stars, talk to people on the other side of the world (or fence) about a range of topics, access music and art, be au current or de rigueur.

But there is a questionable side effect of access, beyond the obvious addiction element to the bright lights and fast response time. For children, seemingly innocent chat rooms and thinly veiled game clubs bring them in close proximity with virtual folks you hope they never meet in person. This afternoon my son wanted to travel to a land of penguins, snowballs and furnaces and meet his “real time” friend, codename Peppy. Peppy had too much screen time, so he had signed off. My kid was approached by a girl whose feelings got hurt from someone swearing at her, another person asked where they could “get some.” But the thing that made my son really angry was that instead of “playing”, he was was being asked out by another player. He responded that he was too young; they replied they were his age. They continued by asking if he’d ever tried a blind date. He confronted them with the phrase, “ I know you are an adult, leave me alone!” And as they persisted, he attempted to report their behavior using the help button on the site.

Suddenly the “adult” was gone with no trace and no way to report the mis-use of the site. Okay, granted we could use an exclusively child -friendly search engine, but shouldn’t he be allowed to play mini clips or on nick.com without being bugged for a date in elementary school? I am not insinuating that all people with bad manners are predators, but why should he be bothered worrying if a participant in a kid’s site is really a kid or not? Can’t childhood remain fun filled and a bit less worrisome, at least virtually?

21 Comments:

At 3:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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I was searching for Elvis and somehow ended up in your blog, but you know I'm sure I saw Elvis in the supermarket yesterday.

No honest really, he was right there in front of me, next to the steaks singing "Love me Tender".

He said to me (his lip was only slightly curled) "Boy, you need to get yourself a shiny, new plasmatv to go with that blue suede sofa of yours.

But Elvis said I, In the Ghetto nobody has a plasma tv .

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Trying not to include any phallic analogies, Yahoo this week announced that its overall search engine index is much larger than Google’s and is the most in depth index of ‘web objects’ on the search market. On the Yahoo Search Blog, Yahoo disclosed that its index now includes 19.2 billion web documents, 1.6 billion images and more than 50 million audio and video files - over 20 billion items.

Yahoo is usually shy about disclosing the size of its search index, but the Yahoo Search Blog is celebrating its first year anniversary and Tim Mayer thought that somewhat of a retrospect was in order - since Yahoo has grown into its own as a search engine powerhouse over the past 365 days.

From the YSearchBlog : While we typically don’t disclose size (since we’ve always said that size is only one dimension of the quality of a search engine), for those who are curious this update includes just over 19.2 billion web documents, 1.6 billion images, and over 50 million audio and video files.

Note that as with all index updates we are still tuning things so you’ll continue to see some fluctuation in ranking over the next few weeks.

Greg Sterling of the Kelsey Group, however, makes the distinction of quality over quantity What I, Joseph User, care about is accuracy, quality and relevance. The available index does matter in terms of bringing me a sufficient quantity of results. (And if I’m looking for something really obscure, having that thing in the index is obviously important, which may go to size.).

But there’s a major case of diminishing returns—there’s already way too much information online for people to assimilate. Throwing more volume at me does nothing but make my eyes glaze over. What I want is enough relevant results.”

Index schmindex, the moral of the story is what Yahoo has accomplished over the past year and what the next 12 months will bring with not only Yahoo Search, but the Yahoo Publishers Network, Yahoo LinkSpots, Yahoo Pay Per Call, and Site Explorer. What has Yahoo accomplished over the past year? Well, here’s Tim’s rundown :
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