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Glitches mar Aust-designed children's search engine

update The creator of a child-oriented search Web site has now pulled out advertising material generated externally and removed search functions which provide lists of highly inappropriate words.

update The creator of a child-oriented search Web site has now pulled out advertising material generated externally and removed search functions which provide lists of highly inappropriate words.

The Web site creator, Nathan Rose, had been left red-faced after visitors to the site found an advertising link to a screensaver Web site featuring bikini-clad women in seductive poses, while the search function listed some highly inappropriate words under related searches if fairly mild slang terms were entered.

Rose said since his discussions with ZDNet Australia   he had pulled all advertising material generated externally, "leaving only advertising material that we control," and had also removed the related search function.

Rose said earlier advertising companies (Google and a local company) were tasked to supposedly filter inappropriate advertising material from the Web site, www.kids.net.au. However, sometimes some adult materials make it onto the site, Rose said.

He adds that it is difficult to keep track of what ads go up and that they immediately block the advertiser if inappropriate content is detected.

Kids.net.au is a searchable database of more than 25,000 sites specifically designed for kids that also contains an English dictionary and a thesaurus.

Rose, a 23 year-old university student, created the search engine in his spare time between studying management at the University of Western Sydney and volunteering at Sydney's Children Hospital.

"I conceived the idea of a kids-safe search engine through my involvement with children at the hospital, and while taking an IT sub-major at University. I was checking the domain name and found out that it was not registered so I decided to register it and do something about it," Rose said.

The site was put up 18 months ago, but was officially launched today after Rose claimed he finally got rid of the bugs and due to the feedback he got from kids, teachers, parents and educators. Kids.net.au is now receiving more than 30,000 visits a day from children all around the world.

"We have been getting hits from Australia, the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Germany, China and even some from Iraq and Iran, the broad response is amazing," Rose said.

All 25,000 sites within the directory have been arranged into categories for easy navigation. In addition, sites have been added to the search engine with regard not only to safety, but also to how appealing the sites are for children.

"The aim was to create an Internet site that would provide an environment for children that was not only safe from unsuitable content but that also contained Web sites designed specially for kids, Web sites kids would actually like to visit," Rose said.

Rose is planning to focus on children's media after University and is hoping the Web site will be the start of his career in this field.

"Hopefully, I can make this my career. I've always been interested in kid's media. I can get some experience here and do more commercial sites for kids later on," Rose said.