Towards Safer Internet for Students with the Aid of a Hypermedia Filtering Tool

Towards Safer Internet for Students with the Aid of a Hypermedia Filtering Tool

Fotis Lazarinis (University of Ioannina, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-120-9.ch029
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Abstract

Internet as a new medium offers unlimited opportunities to education and knowledge sharing but it can also shape specific improper attitudes and cultivate erroneous and potentially dangerous ideas. As more kids go online worldwide so do the concern increases about the safeness of the websites they visit. In this chapter a list of potential online risks is presented. Then, the safeness of the favorite Web sites of 270 Greek high school students is assessed in connection with these online risks. Inappropriate content was found in more than 30% of the evaluated Web pages, although specific security policies apply to computer labs of Greek schools. Last, a filtering tool for analyzing and restricting the access to improper Web sites is presented and evaluated.
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1. Introduction

According to new research from Nielsen/NetRatings (www.saferinternet.org - ec.europa.eu/information_ society/activities/sip/index_en.htm) aim to promote safer use of the Internet and new online technologies, particularly for children, and to fight against illegal content and content unwanted by the end-user, as part of a coherent approach by various government and social organizations.

As students and adults become addicted to Internet (Chou & Hsiao, 2000; Young, 2004) we need to identify and classify the direct and indirect online risks and to discuss potential workarounds. The basic aim of this chapter is to promote the discussion of safer Internet in the school environment and to discuss how some of the unsafe content can be mechanically recognized. At first relevant papers are reviewed and then a class of potential online risks is developed and analyzed. Then the Internet access log files of a school’s lab are analyzed to identify the students’ favorite sites. A percentage of these sites was randomly selected and analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively to realize if they undermine safe internet access. Finally, a customizable tool is presented which rates Websites according to their content and prevents access to the Websites which are below a specific limit. Rating of sites is based on the frequency of the inappropriate contents.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Safer Internet: Safer Internet aims to promote safer use of the Internet and new online technologies, particularly for children, and to fight against illegal content and content unwanted by the end-user.

Cyberbullying: Cyberbullying is the situation where a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones.

Online Gambling: Gambling is an activity where one bets money or other valuables online through the Internet of mobiles phones on the outcome of some event, either an external one or one within the gambler’s control.

Filtering Software: Filter systems are applications which regulate access to information or services on the internet according to defined criteria. They can be installed on the user’s PC (and nowadays on mobile phones too), on a central internet computer belonging to an institution (e.g. on a proxy server in a school) or on the computers of an internet access provider and trigger a variety of different reactions: They can warn against problematic Websites, record the user’s path through the internet in detail, block incriminated sites or even turn off a computer altogether.

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