Ground-breaking technology and online moderation techniques are being combined to make virtual communities and MMOGs (Massive Multi-player Online Games) safer for children. eModeration, the user-generated content moderation company, has partnered with online child protection technology company, Crisp Thinking, to offer
‘NetModerator’, Crisp’s new technology, which is the most comprehensive anti-grooming and anti-bullying system available.

NetModerator works by analysing online chat between users of a virtual community, or MMOG, as it happens. Its software searches for phrases, words, or patterns of behaviour that might indicate inappropriate behaviour online, assessing and ranking risk. eModeration’s team of moderators are alerted to any issues, so they can take appropriate action.

It is already possible to use technology to monitor and block obviously inappropriate behaviour – such as sexually explicit language, giving out personal details and bullying – but this is the first time that technology has been used to alert moderators to patterns of behaviour and relationships over a period of time that, taken on a case by case basis, might seem innocent.

eModeration’s CEO, Tamara Littleton - a member of the Home Office Internet Taskforce for Child Protection on the Internet – says this is the real benefit of the system to moderators: “The NetModerator technology alerts our moderators to a remark that might seem, on its own, perfectly innocent. For example, one player saying to another “where are your parents?” or “where is your computer?” would not necessarily raise an alarm. But if you know that this same person has been asking other, similar questions to other children in a virtual community, you could be looking at a very different situation. Now, we can track conversations as they happen between children in these communities, and take swift action if necessary, to ensure that they are kept safe.”

In addition, NetModerator automatically adds new ‘blacklist’ words to filters as language evolves, including new inappropriate slang words. This means that moderators can get on with the job of keeping the overall community safe, and prioritising any alerts from the system.

Littleton explains: “Having an element of automation for key words means that moderators’ time is used more effectively, overseeing the community and keeping it a safe place where users can get on with playing the online game. It is important that the human element of moderation is not replaced by technology, but technology has a very important part to play in being able to track trends in language and behaviour that might be missed by monitoring real-time chat only.”
Andrew Lintell, CEO of Crisp Thinking, said: “eModeration’s reputation and experience makes it an ideal advocate for NetModerator. As virtual world user levels increase and abuser tactics evolve, moderators will need more support. NetModerator ensures moderators are no longer without the ability to deal with these issues while remaining effective and efficient. eModeration’s clients who employ NetModerator will demonstrate that the safety of their users is their top priority.”

eModeration is the first moderation company in the UK to use Crisp Thinking’s NetModerator technology, which was launched in July 2008.

In May this year, Littleton presented an overview of the new moderation and safety techniques being used in virtual worlds and immersive gaming environments for children, at the ‘Children in Virtual Worlds’ conference, organised by the BBC and University of Westminster. She has also written a report on creating safe online environments for children - Five Techniques For Creating Safer Environments For Children – that can be accessed here: http://www.emoderation.com/news/press-release-virtual-world-and-mmog-whitepaper.

More information on Crisp Thinking’s NetModerator product can be found here: http://www.crispthinking.com/netmoderator.htm.

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Notes to editors:

About eModeration
Founded in 2002, eModeration Limited is an international, specialist user-generated content moderation company. It provides 24-hour community and content moderation to clients in the entertainment and digital publishing industry and major corporate clients hosting online communities and consumer-driven projects.
eModeration's CEO and founder, Tamara Littleton, has an established background in editorial quality control, fault escalation and process management gained from previous work as the Product Delivery Director for Chello Broadband and Online Operations Manager for BBC Online, where she managed the world's first ISO 9000-accredited team for digital publishing management and monitored over 400 BBC websites. Tamara Littleton is a member of the Home Office Internet Taskforce for Child Protection on the Internet which brings together government, law enforcement, children’s agencies and the internet industry, who are all working to ensure that children can use the internet in safety. She was also the Chair of e¬mint, the online community for community professionals from 2006-2007.
eModeration's team of moderators and staff are the key to eModeration's success and excellent client list. eModeration draws on the expertise of carefully recruited and trained moderators located mainly in the US and Europe with specialist editorial and community moderation skills, which are matched uniquely to the client. The company can moderate 24/7/365 in more than 18 languages. All its moderators are managed online from eModeration's headquarters in London, United Kingdom. For more information, see www.emoderation.com.

About Crisp Thinking
With offices in Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK, and Portland, Oregon, Crisp offers a range of child protection solutions for home Internet users, Internet Service Providers and Virtual Worlds/Social Networks. Crisp has responsible and specialist knowledge of the issues surrounding online child safety which address the increasingly complex tactics of abusers and bullies. For more information, please visit www.crispthinking.com , or its new acquisition IMSafer at www.imsafer.com.

Published on: 12:00AM on 8th September 2008