XXX Domains Don't Really Help

Nov 16, 2012

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keyboard in chainsICANN, which is The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, is an association in charge of assigning and coordinating all web addresses.  Last year, ICANN announced plans to sell a new .xxx suffix for pornography sites

It is commendable to try to prevent kids from viewing pornography, but this action doesn’t really change much. The benefit to ICANN was a bunch of new revenue from the sales of .xxx sites.

The intent of the .xxx domains announced by ICANN was to sandbox all pornography sites under one .xxx suffix, but there are no laws forcing pornographers to switch over to the new name. That means most will simply keep their former .com website names and buy the new .xxx name as well, to keep competitors at bay. 

A new search engine, Search.xxx, has been launched by ICM to search only these .xxx sites. However, the only thing preventing children under 18 from using it is honesty. The site has an age gate that asks users to verify that they’re 18 or older by providing a credit card number, but that is something easily circumvented by a determined youngster.

Search.xxx has plug-ins available to block the new .xxx sites in Firefox and Chrome, with versions for Internet Explorer and Safari on their way. There are also safe search options on sites like Google and Bing where you can block .xxx from popping up in searches. 

Unfortunately, kids smart enough to get around these filters are almost guaranteed to find something unsavory if they type in any web address ending in .xxx. And these filters won’t block out all bad sites, just those ending in .xxx.

Parents concerned about their children stumbling across inappropriate content should look into an Internet filter, which can more completely block inappropriate sites. Parents should also discuss with their kids what to do if they do stumble upon a pornographic site, and make it clear that they are always welcome to talk about anything troubling they find online.

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