News Briefs

- Teachers throughout North America rate Web sites...
December 1, 1996

- Teachers throughout North America rate Web sites

Teachers and librarians across North America are exploring the Internet in the name of the StartSafe Challenge. The Canadian-led initiative, sponsored by software developer Net Shepherd and the government and industry program Canada’s SchoolNet, aims to rate the 50 million-plus known Web sites based on the quality and maturity of content by February 28, 1997. Canadian schools are taking the lead in the effort, which kicked off in late October, and are challenging American schools to take part.

To participate, teachers, librarians and registered teacher’s aides and volunteers sign on at the StartSafe Challenge Web site ( Using Net Shepherd’s daxHOUND software, they assign ratings to a given list of Web sites. Maturity ratings consist of General, Child, Preteen, Teen, Adult and Objectionable. Quality is ranked on a five-star system. These ratings will be posted on an on-line database that will be available free to schools, businesses and homes.

In Canada, participating schools qualify to win PCs, printers and educational software. Individuals can win a new car, US$1,000 electronic cash and StartSafe Challenge T-shirts.

-ARIES to distribute Discovery’s WatchWord

Discovery Channel Multimedia and ARIES Online Games have inked an agreement in which ARIES will distribute the software publisher’s new on-line multiplayer game WatchWord. To be released worldwide in March, the title allows up to six players to challenge one another in a test of word creation and theft. ARIES’ distribution deals with Internet services America Online, CompuServe, Concentric Network, Delphi, EarthLink Network, Genie and Prodigy offer a potential base of 12 million-plus players.

-Marvel launches Web site

After testing the waters this year with a Web site for the character Onslaught (see page 74 in KidScreen’s July issue), Marvel Entertainment Group has kicked off a full-fledged Web site ( The company was encouraged by the response it received to the Onslaught site, claiming to have received 1.5 million hits since the launch last May. The new site offers such features as a list of dates of Marvel TV shows, America Online chats and costumed character appearances; a sneak peek of current and upcoming comics and of penciled and inked pages from unreleased comics; a guide to the nearest comic book store; and a gallery of Fleer/Skybox trading cards.

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