Bill Creating Internet Zone For Children Moves Forward

By Jim Burns | July 7, 2008 | 8:28 PM EDT

( - The House Energy and Commerce Committee Wednesday approved and sent to the House floor a bill that would create an Internet zone designed specifically for children.

Committee Chairman Billy Tauzin (R-La.) said the bill is needed because he believes that surfing the Internet can be a dangerous experience for young children.

"Although the Internet offers children a limitless ability to learn and explore, generally speaking, the World Wide Web is not a child-friendly environment. Increasingly, children find themselves in front of a computer screen bombarded with images totally inappropriate for their years," said Tauzin.

"Parents understandably feel powerless to prevent it," Tauzin added.

The bill would require the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to create the secondary domain ".kids" under the country domain ".us." Websites with the address would end in ""

The domain would include content "not harmful to" and "suitable for" minors, which the bill defines as anyone 13 years or younger.

Tauzin also said the "" zone would be created by a private company, NeuStar, and not the federal government. NeuStar would be responsible for patrolling the zone to make sure all material meets decency standards.

Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), who represents parts of California's Silicon Valley, said she was troubled by the prospect of allowing the federal government to control an Internet zone.

However, a Capitol Hill aide said changes to the bill would allow NeuStar and NTIA to suspend domain operations if the "" zone does not meet the bill's intended purposes.

Eshoo's office did not return phone calls Wednesday seeking further comment.

A committee spokesman Wednesday said he did not know when the bill would see floor action in the House.

E-mail a news tip to Jim Burns.

Send a Letter to the Editor about this article.