WASHINGTON (AP) _ The House moved closer Thursday to setting aside part of the Internet for material suitable for children.
The Energy and Commerce Committee's telecommunications panel approved legislation to create a ``kids.us'' domain for Web sites free of pornography and other material deemed inappropriate for children under 13.
``While there is no substitute for proper parental supervision, responsible parents that I talk to want more tools to assist them in protecting their kids on the Internet,'' said Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., the subcommittee chairman.
The domain is intended to prevent children from being exposed to inappropriate material without hampering free speech. Participation would be voluntary.
``Speech more appropriate for adults or teen-agers will not be effected by this bill'' because it can still be posted on other domains, such as ''.com'' and ''.net,'' said Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., a sponsor of the legislation.
NeuStar Inc., which has the contract to manage ''.us'' Web space, will be responsible for setting standards and making content decisions for ``kids.us'' sites, said Colin Crowell, an aide to Markey.
While there was widespread support for the bill among lawmakers, Rep. Anna Eshoo said issues to be addressed include how to enforce it and the international implications of regulating certain Internet content.
``We may be creating an impossible task,'' said Eshoo, D-Calif.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the international body that governs domain names, has refused to create a ''.kids'' suffix, questioning who would determine what material was appropriate for children.