Don't Bother Teaching Kids About Internet Safety, Just Sign Up For AOL

from the moral-hazard-much? dept

As AOL has seen their core ISP business deteriorate, one of the ways they’ve tried differentiating themselves is by offering kid-safe web surfing to worried parents. Though such service could never be a substitute for the booming business they once had, it’s not intrinsically a bad service, as parents should take responsibility to monitor their kids’ safety. The problem is that, like most products aimed at child safety, the marketing plays upon parents’ fear and paranoia. In Canada, the company has put out a poll claiming that parents aren’t policing the internet on their own; it even suggests that parents can’t police the internet, with half of the respondents reportedly claiming that it’s harder to talk about internet safety than it is to talk about sex. The survey comes in the wake of a triple-murder case in which the attackers (a 12-year-old girl and her 23-year-old boyfriend) allegedly met at a website called At the risk of stating the obvious, it sounds like there’s a deeper problem here than a lack of good internet filtering software. Even if this particular girl’s parents had signed up for AOL for Kids, that wouldn’t have solved the underlying problem. Any company selling a safe internet experience needs to offer parents real safety tools that don’t turn the internet into an antiseptic place that no 12-year-old will find cool. Simply selling fear with transparent surveys probably won’t do the trick.

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Don't Bother Teaching Kids About Internet Safety, Just Sign Up For AOL”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
bob says:

I’ve used AOL and the parental controls are more like a prison than a safety feature, “Sorry you are under 18 you are not allowed outside of AOL Kids” that is more or less how it is. I could remind you of the story about the guy who wrapped himself in bubble wrap because he was scared of germs, its the same with kids and the net, you can’t protect them from bad things all you can do is teach them right.

Adam Singer (user link) says:

Re: AOL understands that...

The internet is a huge mystery to everyone, and that protecting your children is impossible…

they are all going to be raped, killed, or worse yet read things that empower them to not fit in with mainstream america

-end sarcasm-

seriously, stop blaming the internet, trying to make it ‘child proof’ etc, and just TEACH your children – our country finds it impossible to take responsibility, they want others to create solutions so they don’t have to. it isn’t that hard…

Bored Surfer (user link) says:

Re: Re:

“The oly goos ting about Aol is its mail.”

Are you kidding me? Seriously now. There’s dozens of free programs out there that notify you when you have new mail.

Paying $23.99 for AOL dialup just so you get a “You’ve got Mail!” sound is a bit ridiculous… I sure hope that 10-year-old 1 second WAV file is worth $14 a month to you.

Intergalactic Hussy says:

Can't sheild kids

How about teaching kids how to interpret information rather than shielding them from it altogether? They’ll just have the “Catholic School-girl Syndrome” a few years later. If someone likes AOL because its easy, fine. Not everyone is so tech savvy that they’d understand how to use firefox or OSS whatever else (especially the much older generation… like my parents). But using because someone wants to protect his/her child from everything “bad” in the world… is silly and will only come back on the parent… oh wait excuse me… its just the sex they find “bad” but violence is always okay. If something’s going to be bitched about, shouldn’t it at least be the other way around?

These things wouldn’t happen as often if parents faced the reality that there kids are people too and will eventually have sex. If they taught their kids (the correct way) by teaching them how to learn and general better judgement instead of just sheltering them…

BadXAsh says:

Wait a minute!

by Anonymouse Coward on May 8th, 2006 @ 3:50pm

If americans would just stop having kids we wouldn’t have this problem

Hey, hey now, Asian and Hispanic Countries are havin way more babies then the US, So many that if their not having boys their killin em off, so that females are becomming a rare breed indeed in those countries, give it another 20-50 years, it’s gonna be an all male sociaty… Gay anyone? heh… whoa… i got way off base here… ummm… USA USA USA!!

Anonymouse Spam-Hater (user link) says:

AOL should dry up and blow away

AOL should dry up and blow away.

I hate anything that spams as a rule.

AOL spams more then a spamburger factory, and truth be told, your kids would be much safer if you tried to connect to the internet via a slab of salted spam, then AOL Kids.

and parents… umm.. BE PARENTS… teach your kids you knobs. Stop sheisting your responsibilites onto your ISP and your cable company and grow a brain capable of semi-advanced reasoning.

LexTaliones says:

I never understood AOL, or people who use it. It makes no sense to me. I always thought of it something like this…

The internet is the world outside and you want to get out and see it. Using AOL is like adding an extra room to your house full of hallways and crap that will eventually lead through an opening to the world outside, while most other ISPs are just like putting a door in a wall. Why would you install all that extra nonsense? Just use your browser already man.

Devil's Advocate says:

AOL is like saliling into the pacific with a cruiseliner that has no bottom – sure it SOUNDS promising, but once you have actually signed up for a trip on the POS you realize what you’re stuck with. AOL is worse than internet for dummies; it’s internet for RETARDS. The internet is full of the stories of people who tried to cancel their service. Fear has been used to sell all sorts of products – and it’s not surprising it’s customers like the internet prison they put their children into.

Juliana says:

A real program


I just wanted to post to everyone out there this link i found where you can download a free program that controls all activities on any computer in your house including msn conversations, websites visited and even takes pictures of the sites your children visit without their knowledge and then send daily report of all it tracked. This software is 100% free to download and can helps thousands of parents protect their children regardless of where they are. Check it out and please pass it on to others in order to help them protect their kids.


Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...