This page is an essay on Wikipedia's child protection policy, which offers a brief introduction to Wikipedia for parents and legal guardians. Wikipedia contains an awful lot of information, including a small amount of hardcore pornography. We're a friendly, open community focused on building an encyclopedia, but there are a few things you might wish to know...
This page intends to offer useful advice for your family.
Wikipedia's goal is to offer "the sum of all human knowledge" in a format which is legal to copy, modify, and redistribute (copyleft, as we call it) to all, at no cost. With this aim in mind, we have grown to become one of the largest collections of information ever assembled, and enjoy a high profile as one of the most popular websites on the internet. We hope you will find huge educational value within this project; and amongst our millions of articles, you will certainly find many relevant to almost all areas of study. No encyclopedia should be the end of the line in any research, however, and we hope you'll find our articles useful road maps for further exploration across a whole range of subjects.
Wikipedia is freely editable by anyone and everyone, but this does not mean that anyone can write anything. Both inaccuracy and sheer vandalism are therefore problems that the project faces on a daily basis. However, a number of safeguards are in effect. These include insisting that editors cite reliable sources, as well as Recent Changes Patrolling for vandalism, and New Page Patrolling for recently created articles with inappropriate content.
This page and its subpages (linked pages) is intended to help parents, guardians, teachers, and other adults consider the best way to allow children they are responsible for to engage with Wikipedia safely and enjoyably. There is also a development area at Child protection. Read more about privacy, confidentiality and discretion on Wikipedia.
Wikipedia is not censored, which in practice means that in relevant areas throughout the site, you will find possibly distressing content and pictures showing subjects like violence, sexual activity or controversial topics. Such material is present in a small percentage of articles, however, this includes hardcore pornography content and images. Editors range widely in both age and cultural background, and as such, profanity is also prevalent in some areas of content and discussions. See Wikipedia:Uncensored and Wikipedia:Offensive material for more information.
It is possible to configure Wikipedia to not display images if you would like to – there are many ways to do so. However written content can not be hidden with conventional software.
Pages which are normally appropriate for children to view, like children cartoon characters, may be vandalized with rude words or content which may be considered offensive and inappropriate for some younger readers. Vandalism is normally noticed and removed within a few minutes, if not seconds (via the recent changes function, or via an automated bot); but sometimes it can remain unnoticed for days, and even if not, someone will have to see it before it can be removed, and this could be anyone.