Putting Up Walls On The Web

from the can't-surf-here dept

The Washington Post has an article looking at the new parental controls found in both AOL and MSN and apparently urging parents to use them. While I can understand the use of such controls under some circumstances, I tend to think using them often makes the problem worse. First off, it becomes a weak substitute for teaching kids responsible web surfing and how to deal with things in the real world. Too many parents will turn on the web controls and think that they don’t have to explain to their kids that there are dangerous people out there. It also tells the kids that their parents don’t trust them to surf responsibly, and can’t take the time to teach them how to do so. Second, kids are still going to find their way around such controls anyway. In fact, by blocking them, parents may actually make the banned sites more enticing. Of course, some of this does depend on the age of the children, but I get worried when I see people say that parents who decide not to use web filters “aren’t getting the message”.

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