Tuesday, July 13, 2004

On kids and the Web...

HaloScan's basic account restricts comments on the owner's site to 1000 characters. Who knew I'd have so much to say on this post by Deirdre?

Brian captured my thoughts on the first point; security through obscurity shouldn't be your only line of defense.

On the second point, I'll bite. From the MacCentral article on the ruling:
If the law hadn't been challenged, a workable solution would now be in place... Parents wouldn't be afraid to leave their kids alone in the room with the computer on.

I disagree. If I were a parent - and I'm not, so, yes, take that into account - I wouldn't be relying on legislation or technology to assuage my fears about what's going on behind closed doors.

Depending on the age and maturity of the child, I would rely on either supervised Web time only, or my child's judgment and our open relationship. Gone are the days of unsupervised research with the children's encyclopedia or Britannica. If my kid needed to do research on tadpoles, filtering software (even the ICRA functionality in Internet Explorer seems to work well, although it requires some work on the Web site author's part) plus my supervision would be the only way to go. As they got older, some unsupervised time could be introduced... It comes down to being my responsibility.

Having the government determine what the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find obscene scares me, to be honest. We're talking about getting rid of the artistic merit defense up here in Canada too, and I just keep thinking that, yes, it sounds reasonable in many, even most, scenarios that proponents bring up. But what about the cases at the extremes of the spectrum? What about the filmmaker who shies away from the story that needs to be told for fear of going to jail?

Tread lightly, people. We have to live with these decisions.

1 comment:

Deirdre said...

Thanks for the link. I stopped over here a week ago, sorry it took me so long to post a comment. We're at it again, come join in the fun!