July 23, 1997 7:05 PM PDT

CompuServe creates adults-only forum

CompuServe (CSRV) announced today that it is segregating its site, cordoning off the adult content and putting it into a protected area that is intended to be out of the reach of children.

With the move to create the Adult Community forum, CompuServe becomes the latest access provider to set controls aimed at creating kid-safe online spaces.

In the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling that tossed out the Communications Decency Act, providers are falling all over each other to come up with their own solution to make their sites appear to be safest for kids.

On Monday, Prodigy said that it would stop carrying newsgroups known to be places where people trade child pornography, which is already illegal in the United States. Several Internet service providers have publicized special child safety features. America Online (AOL) is known to have one of the best filtering systems.

CompuServe already has child controls, but a parent has to take the time to configure those controls. The new area adds another step by essentially putting adult content in its own special sector to which only adults have access.

Company spokesman William Giles said that creating this area was a natural for the service, as it fit into its model of organizing communities into separate areas. The Adult Community will be one more area out of 40 CompuServe communities.

Access to the area is controlled by passwords in which a user must create a password confirming that he or she is at least 18 years old. Teenagers who try to foil the password system will probably be stymied by the lack of a credit card.

Content in the Adult Community will be reviewed by representatives from Microsystems Software and subjected to SafeSurf's "content rating scale."

While Giles said the area will help parents, it's not meant to act in their stead. "We are not trying to replace parents in the equation. We're trying to give them tools to use."

 

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