Government website leads children to gay balloon fetishists

12th February 2010 at 00:00
Name mix-up is a blow to DirectGov portal

A new government website aimed at primary school children has the same name as a gay fetish site.

Buster's World is the new homepage of the children's section of the government website DirectGov, providing educational material for key stages 1 and 2. But it is also the name of an adult website for gay men with a fetish for balloons.

A simple Google search for "Busters World" reveals the adult site as the top hit, describing itself as "an adult content website dealing with male pornography and fetish content".

The Government blunder coincides with e-safety week, which has been running all week.

The educational version of Buster's World is a new portal on the DirectGovKids website. It features a friendly, tail-wagging dog called Buster who guides children around a cartoon world helping them to learn more about how the Government works.

The website also provides handy lesson plans for teachers instructing children in PSHE, economic education and citizenship.

The unhappy coincidence was picked up on an online blog, The Drum, and later by an IT website, The Register, after a concerned mother posted a message on Twitter when she stumbled across the fetish site.

Lynn Hogg, a mother of two who runs online maternity wear business More4Mums, wrote: "6yr old tells me she was on Busters World at school - Googled to have a look OMG!!

"How can someone be so stupid as to name the kids portal on directgov "Buster's world"?? Internet safety anyone?? Who at DirectGov thought that the domain name of a gay porn site was a good idea for their Kids portal??"

Ms Hogg told The TES: "I would have thought the website's designers would have done a little more research on the name of their sites. It was the number one hit on Google when I searched for it."

The Department for Children, Schools and Families said it would look into how the website was given the same name as a gay balloon fetish site.

A DCSF spokesperson said: "The naming of this web page was clearly a mistake and we regret that the supplier's usual thorough checking procedures when creating web content seem to have failed. When this was brought to our attention we urgently renamed the page to avoid any further issues.

"The name concerned was new and had not yet been promoted widely to young people.

"The safety of children on the internet is of paramount importance and we will be looking at the procedures of our suppliers to ensure this does not happen again."

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