Internet Content Rating Association  
  Home | Contact | Sitemap | International |
Associate Members | Members  
Label your site
Label tester
About ICRA
The Vocabulary
Trust ICRA?
ICRA community
Associate Members
Become a member

About ICRA

ICRA at a glance

The Internet Content Rating Association (ICRA) is an international, non-profit organization of internet leaders working to make the internet safer for children, while respecting the rights of content providers. ICRA has long believed the best approach to protecting children online is through "user empowerment" - giving families the tools to control their online experience. When used voluntarily, tools like ICRA's empower families to match their online experience with their values, without compromising free expression or undermining other users' access to information.

The centrepiece of the organization is the descriptive vocabulary, often referred to as "the ICRA questionnaire." Content providers check which of the 45 elements in the questionnaire are present or absent from their websites. This then generates a short piece of computer code known as an ICRA label that the webmaster then adds to his/her site.

Users, especially parents of young children, can then use filtering software to allow or disallow access to web sites based on the information declared in the label. A key point is that the Internet Content Rating Association does not rate internet content - the content providers do that, using the ICRA labelling system. ICRA makes no value judgement about sites.

The descriptive vocabulary was drawn up by an international panel and designed to be as neutral and objective as possible. Most of the items in the questionnaire allow the content provider to declare simply that a particular element, such as bare breasts, gambling or chat facilities, is present or absent. The subjective decision about whether to allow access to that content is then made by the parent.

Return to top

The ICRA vocabulary at a glance

The broad topics covered are:

  • The nudity and sexual content of a site
  • The violence depicted on the site
  • The language used on the site
  • Chat facilities
  • Other topics such as gambling, drugs and alcohol.

Within each broad category the web author is asked more detailed questions about whether a specific item or feature is present or absent from the site.

Return to top

Cross-cultural, multi-lingual

The ICRA questionnaire can be completed in several different languages; however, the labels themselves are just short pieces of computer code. The ICRA labelling system is therefore independent of any given (human) language.

This website is offered in a variety of languages too, however, ICRA's working language is English. The English version of the website is therefore typically more up to date than other language versions.

Return to top

The ICRAplus filter

ICRA makes a free filter available for individual users. This will block or allow access to labelled sites based on the user's preferences. The ICRAplus control panel is a mirror image of the questionnaire filled in by content providers and thus allows almost direct communication between webmasters and parents. In addition parents can create their own block or allow lists, set up different filtering profiles for different family members and easily override a blocked site that they deem appropriate for their child.

However, in order to create a comprehensive filtering system that will block or allow access to websites, including unlabelled sites, ICRAplus also allows users to install additional modules that can use other methods to filter internet access.

Return to top

Technical standards used

ICRA is proud to be a W3C member

Since ICRA was formed, its labels have used the PICS system - the Platform for Internet Content Selection. Work is now being done to make ICRA labels available using RDF - Resource Description Framework. This is the metadata platform for the XML family of technologies and offers significant advantages over PICS. However, ICRA will continue to recognise PICS labels for the foreseeable future, alongside the new labels as they are developed.

Full technical details of PICS and RDF can be found at the World Wide Consortium's website.

Return to top

ICRA board members

Mike Cosse
Public Policy & Government Relations
AOL Germany

Mirko Bibic
Chief, Regulatory Affairs
Bell Canada


Nick Truman
Head of Customer Security, BTOpenworld

Joe Franses
Community Investment Manager
Cable & Wireless plc


Al Mackay
Vice President, Operations
Canadian Policy Research Networks

Tom Phillips (chair)
Government & Regulatory Affairs Manager
GSM Association


David Kerr
(Hon. Secretary)

Akio Kokubu
Vice President
Internet Association Japan


Stephen Balkam
Chief Executive Officer
Internet Content Rating Association

Chuck Cosson
Policy Counsel
Microsoft Corporation


Carmee Lim
Parents Advisory Group for the internet (PAGi)

David Miles
Worldwide Marketing VP
Solarsoft Limited


Gabriele Schmeichel
Senior Counsel
T-Online International AG

David E Young
Director, Technology Policy
Verizon Online Services, Inc. and Verizon Entertainment, Inc.


ICRA staff

Stephen Balkam
Chief Executive Officer

Phil Archer
Chief Technical Officer


Lynn Edwards
Operations Support


Spelling used on this site

As ICRA operates internationally, we receive a number of e-mails questioning our spelling of the English language. This of course stems from the differences between the spelling norms adopted by English speaking countries around the world. As we are based in Britain, we have used British spelling for words like "labelling", "favourite" etc. We have however used the "~ize" form of words like "organization" as this is acceptable everywhere... and we had a lot of e-mails from the US when an earlier version of this web site included the (normal for Britain) "organisation"!

The graphics (such as the one at the bottom of this page) are available in US-English (labeled with ICRA) and non-US English forms (labelled with ICRA), as well as other language variants... and with no words at all for complete safety.

That said, if you find any typos, do let us know!

 Powered by    
Powered by Inmedia ICRA