Yes, I'm afraid Wikipedia has a Pornography Problem

Oct 01, 2012

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Wikipedia is an Internet icon and great resource of information on a variety of topics. For the most part, articles are well-researched and have legitimate sources. And many articles include helpful maps, images, photos, or drawings.

This plethora of information is great when articles discuss benign subjects, but what about the articles on subjects like sex or body parts? The images accompanying these types of articles are often explicit photographs. As a result, just like Playboy, kids aren't going to Wikipedia for the articles any more.

Wikimedia Commons, the image-hosting arm of the Internet encyclopedia, reveals that virtually all of the top visited pages are sexually explicit.

The challenge is that most web filtering products don't block Wikipedia because it has been pre-categorized as a reference site. But over time, Wikipedia has become a site filled with very inappropriate material and children know it is usually pre-approved by most web filters.

Wikipedia was recently approached by a company offering to provide a web filter to keep the content appropriate for kids. Unfortunately, Wikipedia has not yet taken action.

Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia, agrees that a filter is necessary. “We ought to do something to help users customize their own experience of Wikipedia with respect to showing images that are not safe for work,” Wales wrote in mid-July, opening up a discussion of just how to do that.

In the meantime, Net Nanny uses technology called dynamic content filtering. This means that each web site you request to visit will be reviewed for content before it is presented on the screen. This dynamic categorization is very important when accessing Wikipedia sites.

If parents are concerned about their children stumbling onto inappropriate material on Wikipedia, or any other site, try Net Nanny.

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