Are Your Kids Viewing Porn In School? - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Are Your Kids Viewing Porn In School?

TODAYSHOW.COM - Don't panic, but it seems that your kids might be sneaking looks at porn while in school. At least that's the impression an incident at a Queens elementary school is giving us.

The NY Daily News reports that a group of third-graders at Public School 85 in Queens, New York recently managed to circumvent their city's antiquated Internet filtering software and view "inappropriate" images — almost without genuinely even trying:

"It wasn't porn," said [Principal Ann Gordon-Chang], who learned what happened last month after a parent complained. "The kids typed in 'hot girls' and pictures came up."

Administrators are reasonably certain that it's quite possible that children at other schools managed to do similar things and — despite performing significant upgrades to their filtering software — don't appear overly confident that something similar won't happen again:

James Cox, a computer and information science professor at Brooklyn College, said that no filter is 100% effective.

"There are billions of Web pages," he said. And "sites could cleverly disguise their content so they might not initially appear to be inappropriate."

But he added that the city's filter wasn't very good if a group of third-graders were able to circumvent it.

"However, if any of the kids is clever and has a 14-year-old sibling at home that knows how to hack, there's probably no system that would be secure," he said.

So what's the solution if filtering software won't do the trick? According to Sonya Hampton, Parent Teacher Association president of PS 149 in Harlem, it's to pay more attention to students — in theory, more monitoring and supervision could eliminate a lot of incidents such as the one which occurred in Queens. Unfortunately we doubt that many schools have enough wiggle room in their budgets to allow for that additional supervision. 

That means that for now, you should probably have a talk with your kids about what's appropriate and not appropriate on the Internet. And don't forget to stay informed about what precautions their school takes to prevent indecent material from appearing before young eyes.

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