Whilst I’m all for protecting children on the Internet there are far better ways to do it than what Senator Conroy is proposing. I’m glad that Mike was on-board with what I was talking about and he brought up some really good examples of how the government has pulled these kinds of stunts in the past. Whilst I don’t want to go too far into tin foil hat mode, the whole internet filter smacks of government control of information. I’d happily support an opt-in filter for concerned parents (even opt-out at a real stretch) but only as long as it didn’t impact on people who didn’t want it.
My main point on all this is that many people don’t know enough about the Internet and the way it functions to make informed decisions on ideas like this. In many cases your average Joe will hear the words “Protecting our children” and instantly rubber stamp their approval. It’s a slippery slope once we give the government this kind of power, and I’d rather block this proposal in its entirety rather than have to circumvent it later on.
If you’re reading this and you’re concerned about your children and the dangers of the internet there are a couple pointers I’d like to give you:
- Put the PCs in a main room like the living or family room. Children are far less likely to go looking for questionable content if you’re there with them
- Get yourself online. If your kids know you’re on Facebook/MySpace/etc they’ll behave themselves. Many kids will keep doing something until they think they might get caught
- Use online technologies like email, instant messaging and so on to get a feel for what they are experiencing online
- Promote education instead of prohibition. Forbidden fruit is always more tantalizing then well trodden paths
I’ve attached an MP3 of the interview for you all to listen to, enjoy!!