ICRA - a webmaster's view
ICRA - the basics
ICRA is about choice not censorship.
As a web author, we invite you to use our system to describe, that is, label, your online content in a way that can be processed by computers. The system is designed to be as objective as possible: ICRA makes no value judgements at all about any content.
Users, principally parents of young children, then apply their own judgement in deciding which sites should and should not be available in their homes or workplaces. This is done by means of software that can read and interpret the labels found.
What's in it for you?
Labels are there to help you describe your content for the benefit of parents and children. However, there are a variety of benefits to you too:
- Labelling with ICRA is a positive declaration that the protection of children is important to you. Labelling with ICRA is a clear sign of good online citizenship and responsible practice.
- The ICRA system is a classic example of self-regulation. By adopting it, you're helping to avoid burdensome government regulation.
- Filtering software is now commonplace, with many ISPs offering filtered access to the internet. ICRA labels offer content providers the means to describe their content themselves and thus directly empower parents to make choices about what their children can and cannot access.
- ICRA labels are part of a global effort known as the "Semantic Web." That is, a system to make sense of the mass of data available online. Your label is created using the same technology used for things like RSS news feeds. As more and more tools are developed to make the semantic web a reality, labels can play an increasingly important role in making your content visible to users.
What do I have to do?
Labelling a website is a two-stage process:
- Fill in the ICRA questionnaire. This generates a file that you upload to your website.
- Add tags to your web pages that link your content to your labels.
If you're familiar with using stylesheets you'll be familiar with the general approach. Neither the link tags nor the labels file is visible to users but can be read by filtering software. If you so choose, you may then add one of a choice of ICRA graphics or a text link to show that you have labelled your site.
How much does it cost?
Is it difficult?
No. Absolutely not.
You may like to take a quick look at the instructions for applying labels. There are many ways of doing this, from simple methods for first-time webmasters, to more sophisticated methods for more advanced users. Please see the links at the bottom of the page.
Protecting Kids with DigimarcTM
As well as using the ICRA system to label your web site, if appropriate, you can also label your individual images as having "adult content." The Protecting Kids with DigimarcTM scheme allows you to add a persistent watermark-like flag to your images which will stay with the images wherever they go on the internet.
What else can I do with a label?
As the webmaster of one or more sites labelled with ICRA, you are eligible to join the organization as an Associate Member. This can help to boost your online visibility by having a link from this (high traffic) website and your overall marketing opportunities by association with many of the leading names on the internet. All we ask is a modest annual subscription but more importantly that you label your site(s) and help us to promote self-labelling to others.
For more details, please see the Associate Member page.
Still more uses...
In addition to being read by some filtering software, ICRA labels are also used directly by the following independent organizations.
ChildSafe InternationalTM, (CSITM), works with multiple agencies to create a major incentive for web developers, companies, schools, libraries, and general users to label the content of their site and get their web sites rated via an ICCSTM certified rating system such as ICRA. In addition, we help to ensure that labelled websites are ICCS certified and the label of their web site content is consistent with their ECRiTM rating seal, under the globally recognized iWatchDogTM Programme.
The purpose of the surfsafely.com directory is to create a market driven incentive for web developers to voluntarily rate their own content using and to provide families a single point of reference to find labelled sites allowing them to use filters effectively.