The original ICRA vocabulary (deprecated)

This page shows the original ICRA vocabulary, first published in December 2000, along with the definitions and guidance notes.

The vocabulary is available in a machine-readable format as a PICS1 .rat file.

PICS labels generated using this vocabulary are still supported in ICRAplus however any new usage of the ICRA system should be built on the current vocabulary and label generator.

Nudity and sexual material   [Help]

Violence   [Help]

Language   [Help]

Other topics   [Help]

Chat   [Help]


The ICRA descriptors were determined through a process of international consultation trying to establish a system that would give reasonable international consistency. Some descriptors merit additional definitions, because of ambiguities that may arise in the process of translation and to help content providers deal with descriptors that have subjective elements.

General comments

"..images, portrayals or descriptions..." Any presentation including, but not limited to, pictures, no matter how crudely drawn or depicted, written descriptions, oral recitations, and or audio sounds.
Neutral and objective Note that each descriptor aims at being as neutral and objective as possible, which means that if a site contains depictions of for instance female breasts, that box should be checked. If on a large site, only a small proportion of the content contains certain depictions, you may want to consider labelling that section separately.
"..young children..." The ICRA international reference group strongly suggested that the categories should reflect a parents concern for young children. For many members of the expert group, young was perceived as under the age of 12.
If in doubt... ...please try to see the material as you think it would be perceived by a reasonable person without any cultural, religious or other bias, when he or she is to determine whether the material is appropriate for young children. Although the descriptors aim at being neutral, there may material where classification is not obvious. Reply in a way that you feel honestly does not mislead cautious parents.

Nudity and Sexual Material

Erections or female genitals in detail, Male genitals, Female genitals, Female breasts, Bare buttocks
  -combined with-
Explicit sexual acts, Obscured or implied sexual acts, Visible sexual touching, Passionate kissing.
Not only each descriptor, but the combination of descriptors describes the content. Depictions of genitals may exist in a non sexual context (e.g. naturism and nudism).

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Blood and gore The portrayal of blood splashing, pools of blood on the ground, objects or persons smeared or stained with blood.

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No further definition of the language descriptors is given since, by its very nature, language is always changing.

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Other topics

Promotion of discrimination or harm against people: Promotion of discrimination or harm against any group or person by virtue of membership in a group or based on gender, sexual orientation or ethnic, religious or national identity.

Discrimination in this context is defined as treating differently. This is a broad category including but not limited to, advocating ethnic supremacy, gender discrimination etc. The option allows you to mark expressions to which parents may choose not to expose their children.

Material that might be perceived as setting a bad example for young children: This is a range of criteria often found in rating of film and may include a number of actions which depending on the context, could make it a concern for parents of young children. For example: picking locks, theft, urinating in public, bomb making, fraud, vandalism or violations of local customs / laws.
Material that might disturb young children: This is a range of criteria often found in rating of film and may include a number of actions which depending on the context, could make it a concern for parents of young children. For example: material intended to invoke fear, horror, suicide, threats, humiliation, psychological terror, death, suffering, pain, punishment, bullying, abandonment, dramatic accidents, [confusing elements of] irony or parody.

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Chat If the site offers chat, this box should be checked unless the pages, branches or directory containing chat is labelled separately. Labelling branches or pages containing chat separately may be a good idea so children are not barred from otherwise useful material.
Moderated chat suitable for children and teens Note that this category does not say young children and includes teens. Checking this box is a positive statement that all chat that the label describes is both moderated and suitable for children. If some of the chat is unmoderated, do not check this checkbox.
None of the above This box should be only be checked if the site either does not contain chat rooms, or the page(s) or branch(es) containing chat are marked separately as containing chat.

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... appears in a context intended to be artistic/medical/educational... The first part of the statement refers to the intention. Classical painting and sculpture can be assumed to be intended as artistic. Material designed to teach children about sex, would qualify as intended as educational. However...
...and is suitable young for children ... the context descriptor also requires a (subjective) pledge that the material is suitable for young children. Material of an explicit violent or sexual nature, even if intended as artistic/medical/educational, may not be suitable for young children. This additional statement encourages caution when claiming "redeeming context".
Artistic nudity Example
Botticelli's Birth of Venus contains a female breast and that box must be checked as it qualifies objectively. However, as:
  1. the intention can reasonably be assumed to be artistic, and
  2. in many cultures it is not unreasonable to assert that it is suitable for young children,

the artistic context checkbox can also be checked.

Note that if a template provider deems female breasts offensive regardless of context, they can write a rule that blocks female breasts even when appearing in a context. Or they can choose to allow "female breasts" in an artistic context, but block "erections" in an artistic context, thus allowing the Birth of Venus but blocking ancient, artistic depictions of erections. This fine degree of control is only available in templates and not directly to users of ICRAfilter which only allows context modifiers to be applied to all nudity and sexual material, or all violent material in one go.

This material ... only appears in a sports related context Material that satisfy the criteria under violence, but appears only in a sports context, e.g. a site dedicated to boxing but does not contain other depictions of violence.

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PICS, the Platform for Internet Content Selection, was the W3C Recommended technology used by ICRA between 2000 and 2005. For details, see the World Wide Web Consortium website.

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