Search engines help you find the Web pages that contain
the information youre seeking. You can type specified words or phrases
(a search query) into a search engine such as Google or AltaVista. The
search engine then returns a number of links on its results page. To reach
any of these results, you click on the link, which transfers you away
from the search engine and into the Web page that corresponds to the link.
Given the enormous volume of information on the Web, search engines are
invaluable in organizing, classifying, and returning results on queries.
Theyre the most common way of finding Web sites when users dont
have a URL. For kids, search engines are effective research tools for
schoolwork and personal hobbies.
- Perhaps the most obvious way for a child or teen
to access inappropriate material is by simply typing a word or phrase
into a search engine. For example, just typing in sex pic into AltaVista.coms
search bar yields up many sites leading to extremely graphic teaser
visuals aimed at attracting members.
- Pornographic content can surface through harmless
search queries. Search engines often create their listings by using
software that crawls the Web, visiting, reviewing, and indexing
sites based on information supplied by Web-site operators or webmasters.
Some operators of adult-oriented Web sites take advantage of how search
engines index content and label their sites so as to mislead the engines
into selecting their site as a search result.
- A child can get unwanted information by misspelling,
entering the wrong search words, or using words that have both sexual
and nonsexual meanings (for example, beaver).