Wikipedia Littered with Pornographic Images

Mar 08, 2012

Tags: ;

Wikipedia is one of the most widely-used reference sites on the Internet. It's an open-forum site in which information is added and updated by users. Anyone can contribute text or graphics--with little or no credibility. This fact results in users publishing inappropriate content, whether adult, mature, obscene or benign.

Two years ago, allegations of child pornography on Wikipedia were made by co-founder, Larry Sanger. The organization vowed: "we'll do better." Today, the site is still plagued with inappropriate, graphic images.

Since Wikipedia is full of user-generated content, until someone complains, content can remain on the site. Dr. Marcella Wilson, a computer consultant, told "legal pressure may be the only way to protect kids, since Wikipedia is funded by user and corporate donations."

Thus, using Wikipedia can be a gamble. You never know when an inappropriate image will be embedded in the page the search engine pulls up. In essence, Wikipedia use by children is risky.

Jay Walsh, Wikipedia spokesperson, argues that parents and guardians should monitor at all times what kids can view online and says guardians should be the ones to restrict access.

When asked whether the appearance of explicit pictures following random searches is an error, Walsh said it was not a problem. 'These articles contain referenced and documented information about a known topic. These topics may not be of interest or appealing to all people,' he argued in an e-mail.

With this attitude, Wikipedia may remain littered with pornography.

How can you protect your children as they use Wikipedia or any search engine? First, enable SafeSearch functions like Google offers. Also, you should strongly consider installing Internet filtering software like Net Nanny. It blocks pornography regardless of the Web site because of its dynamic content filtering technology.

I work for ContentWatch and all opinions expressed here are my own.