MetaSurf is a new software tool which enables parents to block hundreds of millions of adult webpages for their children without compromising their browsing experience.
MetaSurf was developed by MetaCert, a San Francisco-based company which helps consumers to find out more information about the content on a website and its suitability, before you visit a site.
MetaSurf's entire focus is on ‘sexually explicit content’: the content that every parent is concerned about when their children are accessing the web from computers, mobile phones and games consoles.
MetaCert's technology constantly crawls sites that contain sexually explicit content. It then automatically labels them and other adult sites to which they link. With hundreds of millions of classified adult webpages, MetaCert has labeled more pages than anyone else worldwide.
MetaSurf works by alerting you before you enter a labeled site by placing a tiny icon beside each search result. Crucially, it also enables parents and carers to set a pass code which must be entered to progress through to the site. It also blocks children from accessing pornography from within social networking sites such as Facebook, without blocking the entire site.
This easy safety control may be used to protect anyone wishing to avoid pornography or seeking to protect others from viewing it - including vulnerable adults.
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international community that develops open standards such as HTML to ensure the long-term growth of the Web. The fact that MetaSurf is based on open standards means that it’s easier for technology providers such as Microsoft, Apple and Mozilla to adopt across all platforms, including in gaming environments.
The free family safety software:
1. protects children from stumbling across - or deliberately accessing - pornography
MetaSurf alerts users with the label ‘Adult Entertainment rather than ‘Sexually Explicit Content’. MetaCert believes that ‘Adult Entertainment’ is a more appropriate term to use when creating labels that children are likely to see. This also gives parents and carers the opportunity to discuss the concept of appropriate and inappropriate areas of the Internet.
2. allows schools, care homes and education authorities to restrict access to pornography at the administration level
When children and young people are looked after by others, parents and carers expect that they will enjoy the benefits of a safe environment where they are free from harm. That includes the Internet. MetaSurf allows schools and education authorities to restrict access to websites that contain pornography, greatly enhancing the safety of pupils under their care and control.
3. allows parents to make more informed choices about their children’s browsing
Mandatory labeling of websites carried out at source - without any effort needed on the part of the adult webmaster - empowers parents and all individuals wishing to avoid pornography to do just that. The likelihood of accidental or inadvertent access is greatly minimized.
4. highlights adult websites inside search results, minimizing inadvertent access
Many websites used by children contain links to websites with pornography. Often, there is no indication that clicking on the link will take the user to a site containing inappropriate adult material. Using its labeling system, MetaSurf enables websites to be identified and flagged as containing adult material, reducing the risk of a child being exposed to pornography.
Critically, this applies no matter how the user tries to access a site – whether they’re on a search engine, a social networking site such as Facebook, or typing in the address in the URL bar.
5. identifies if a website is safe to open in the workplace or public environment
MetaSurf can be used in all environments in which it is necessary to protect others from inadvertently viewing adult material. Clicking on links inside an email at work can sometimes lead to an embarrassing situation. With the safety control enabled, MetaSurf displays a warning message as soon as the browser is loaded and stops pornography from appearing on the screen.
MetaCert recognizes that adults can make informed decisions about the content they wish to view in their households and is committed to an individual’s freedom of expression. MetaSurf offers adult consumers the opportunity to enjoy a safer, privacy-sensitive environment. MetaSurf takes privacy very seriously and does not track or hold any information about users of the software.
A user can be comfortable in the knowledge that they are visiting - and perhaps purchasing access to - websites that are appropriately labeled and hosting relevant content. They are not visiting sites that may appear to offer access to adult material but which, in fact, do not host this content at all. By accessing labeled sites, adult consumers can be confident that the relevant material is available on that website.