UK-based Tibboh proudly states that it “protects your family with cinema style ratings for the internet developed with the BBFC. Providing all the benefits of the internet whilst minimising the risk for your children.”
The BBFC is the British Board of Film Classification, the body that decides whether a film can only be watched by over 18s, over 15s etc. With Tibboh, websites are given the same certificates as movies, so children can be blocked from accessing websites that the ISP deems unsuitable for their age.
While the idea may appeal to some parents, there are inconsistencies and some confusing decisions. IT Pro reports that the site deems Facebook as a ’12’ certificate, despite the fact that Facebook’s terms and conditions say that you actually have to be 13 to use the site. Meanwhile, WordPress.com is limited to people aged 15 and over. It’s truly insane to apply a domain-wide certificate on a blogging platform with wide-ranging content, much of which will be perfectly acceptable for people younger than 15 to read.
While film-style certificates are a clever marketing gimmick, we think that educating children about safe Internet use and keeping an eye on the sites they access is a much more sensible way of keeping them from harm online. Any teacher who has ever tried to use YouTube in a lesson only to discover the whole site blocked will agree with us there.