We all know that the internet is hugely an unregulated place, this is an unfortunate reality that sometimes scares the hell out of parents and corporations find challenging. There are of course parental control software out there that can scan the web and block offensive content but even these are not perfect and have been reported to come up with incorrect interpretations.
A good example is when an online rating service blocked it's customers access to the US White House website, the reason being the presence of the the word/term "couple" referring to the US President and the First Lady. There is also the issue of health websites, esp. cancer sites being blocked because they talk about breast cancer. Automatic scanning has limits too.
So how can a web development expert approach the Parental Control Software implementation issue?
Web developers are directly responsible to their audience, this is obvious regardless of whether you run a a family oriented website or not.
Below are tips on responsible web development.
Who visits your website?
This is rule number one, make sure you know who visits your website, find out what your audience might expect in terms of content.
Provide Disclaimers and warnings
If your website carries adult or potentially offensive content, then inform people in advance of what to expect. A person may get dismissed from work if he/she clicks on a link presented as business only to end up in a porn or x-rated site, such cases are not uncommon and many web developers get sued for such mistakes.
A warning or disclaimer won't stop a legit visitor but will protect the oblivious bystander. Inserting something as simple as NSFW - Not Suitable For Work - next to the link is sufficient to warn people from potential liability.
Do not play games
This advice applies to all websites, some annoying techniques employed by web developers include forcing a person to stay on a web page by designing the website in a way that it pops out a new window whenever the browser closes. You may think you're being clever doing this but think about the consequences of your acts and especially if the person viewing the website was at work and the web content offensive!
Employ Web Safety Rating Apps.
There are plenty of service available that will help you do web rating of your site. Such services allow you to review and indicate the content of your website. They don't censor or judge your website but simply show by means of a code, the content.
These ratings can then be used by parents and businesses to decide on which pages to view or not to view. One such service is Safesurf.
Major computer operating systems such as windows and Macintosh OS have in-built mechanisms that can be activated to regulate web access of minors. The mechanisms are usually implemented in the web browsers.
There are standalone programs that can be used to block access to content deemed inappropriate, one such program is the Net Nanny.
Many corporations choose to implement content blocking software at the server level in their corporate network. To ensure that your site is accessed by a big number of people make sure you adhere to the above guidelines when developing your website.