IPs need to censor content to protect children, say governments

by Michael Smith

The online safety of children is NOT the responsibility of governments; it is that of their parents or guardians. It is high time that both parents who clamor for actions by the governments and the governments realized that.

The truth is that the demand by the governments has nothing to do with protecting children, but everything with censorship of the highest order and on a grand scale.

The message to any parent demanding that the government force IPs to filter the content of the Internet should be a loud DIY. There are programs available that allow the filtering at the PC and home network and that it where such filtering much take place.

If governments truly are concerned about child online safety then let them provide all households with free software that can be set in such a way so that children do not have access to this or that website, etc.

In addition to this governments should provide materials to parents as to how they best check where their kids go online and what they are there up to.

This, in my opinion, means also that parents block access to chatrooms and other such media, where dangers could lurk, by their children until the kids have reached an age old enough to be safe, or at least as safe as can be. Unless, that is, that those media are designed specifically for children and are definitely regarded safe and are monitored, as some are. Even then one should consider as to whether an 8-year-old really does have to have a Facebook account, or a MySpace one or a Bebo one or has to tweet on Twitter.

The way I see it an 8-year-old, nor a 13-year-old needs to have any of those accounts. There are special social nets for children out there that are monitored and that might work but, still, I do not think that children of those ages need too be involved in any of those more adult networks. Also, in truth, accounts on those Networks are, supposedly, only for people eighteen or above, though no one checks the ages.

As far as I am concerned the protection of the children on the Internet, on a computer, is down to the parents and not IPs or other agencies.

As said, theoretically, most social networking sites have age restrictions but kids are savvy today and simply lie and make themselves older. There is no way of checking this until and unless the child is stupid enough to post a photo of him- or herself.

Does an 8-year-old have to have an email account?
While this may be an introduction into the world of online communications it has its pitfalls for sure. If a parent, however, is happy with this idea then there are platforms out there, as far as I understand, that are just for kids with email accounts and more, and which are safe. Well, sort of safe. The parent just has to monitor what little Johnny or little Lisa does with their email and who they give it to.

The above question could also extend to whether he or she needs a cell phone at such a young age or be allowed to have one..

Cell phones, while handy devices to give kids a way of keeping in touch with home when out and about, too can be a problem. Grooming can happen as much – though online maybe a little more – as via email of online social networking.

I assume that parents would, therefore, maybe, also like all cell phone communications monitored in real time in case there is someone out there who is going to talk to a child in an inappropriate manner via a cell phone.

We have enough nannying by the governments already and the job of keeping kids safe on the Word-Wide Web and cell phones is not the job of government agencies and IPs but that of the parents. There is such a power as “parental control” and the word to use when one is not happy with what one's child does is “no”. Very simple and easy.

As far as the Internet and child safety is concerned there are enough bits of software out there that will do a much better job than anything that an IP might be able to put in place and, if an IP is meant to block access to sites that are deemed not suitable for children then adults will be reduced to the status of a child and treated as a minor.

Not that the governments are not behaving like that already towards the people in general. We are being told what we can do, what we can have on us say as regards to a pocketknife or such, and they even want to tell us what we can eat and how much. If that is not being treated as a person regarded to be without proper judgment then I do not know.

We do not need the IPs nor the governments to block access to websites, with the exception, in my view, of child porn and other porn in general, in order to protect children on the Internet. The job of protection children online via a PC at home is that of the parents or guardians of the child or children and not of IPs or government agencies. Period!

© M Smith (Veshengro), 2009