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Promoting Online Safety: The Home-School Partnership


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House Votes to Curb Misleading Web Site Names

Legislation making it a crime to knowingly use innocent-sounding Web site names to lure children to adult-oriented materials was overwhelmingly approved by the U.S. House in late March, 410-14. The bill (H.R. 1104), known as the Child Abduction Prevention Act, seeks to prevent children, schools and parents from accidentally browsing into seemingly safe Web sites based on their misleading titles--such as www.WhiteHouse.com (the real site is www.WhiteHouse.gov)-- as a result of search engines and other sources that often search for sites based solely on Web names (URLs), and do not take into account the actual content of the millions of Web sites on the Internet.

The House bill, among other things, would also create a notification network for child abduction cases, and ban computer-based simulation of child pornography. It would also provide matching grants to states and local communities for equipment and training. The Senate version of the legislation differs from the House-passed version, which means a conference committee will need to work out the differences. President Bush has indicated he will sign a final measure as soon as he receives it. A special "kids.com" domain that could eventually provide thousands of safe Web sites for children, under the auspices of the federal government and a private company, is expected to be launched this summer.

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