Say That Again

by Glyn Moody


Filed Under:
children, culture, internet, russia



Top Russian Net Official Says Children Under 10 Shouldn't Go Online -- At All

from the changing-perceptions-of-reality dept

As Techdirt readers know only too well, doing things "for the children" is a perfect excuse to pass all kinds of ridiculous laws that would otherwise be thrown out without a thought. For example, back in 2013, we wrote about attempts to pass legislation in Russia that would ban swearing on the Internet. It was framed as an amendment to an existing law called "On the Protection of Children" that introduced a blacklist designed to block access to information on drugs, suicide and child pornography. Now the head of Roskomnadzor, the body that oversees website-blocking in Russia, has a bold proposal for protecting children from all the Internet's possible harms. It takes the "for the children" logic to its logical conclusion, as TorrentFreak explains:

In a Q&A session with AIF.ru, Alexander Zharov spoke on a number of issues, including online safety, especially for children. Naturally, kids need to be protected but the Rozcomnadzor chief has some quite radical ideas when it comes to them using the Internet.

"I believe that a child under 10-years-old should not go online. To use [the Internet] actively they need to start even later than that," Zharov said.

He went on to say:

"Some parents are proud of the fact that their three-year-old kid can deftly control a tablet and use it to watch cartoons. It is nothing good, in my opinion. A small child will begin to consider the virtual world part of the real world, and it changes their perception of reality."

This is presumably just Zharov's personal opinion, not a foreshadowing of official policy -- it's hard to believe the view that children under 10 years old should stay off the Net would ever be enshrined in a law. Then again, given some of the things that Russian officials have been suggesting, such as disconnecting Russia from the global Internet, you never know. And once people start invoking "for the children," common sense tends to go straight out of the window.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2017 @ 4:33pm

    For a personal opinion it's not bad advice. Actual implementation of a law would be impossible for obvious reasons to anyone who has used an age restricted website.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2017 @ 2:15am

      Re:

      I would have said that while children's use of the Internet should be supervised by a parent, guardian or teacher, there is nothing wrong with them using it. This particularly applies when they enter formal education, where it is becoming an essential tool to learning.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 28 Feb 2017 @ 3:11am

        Re: Re:

        "This particularly applies when they enter formal education, where it is becoming an essential tool to learning."

        ...which obviously places children who have never been exposed to the internet before at a major disadvantage compared to children whose parents taught them how to use it correctly and responsibly. Even if Russia was able to somehow restrict everybody in their country so that they have all never seen the internet before the age of 10, that just places them at a disadvantage to other nations.

        Just one of many reason why, while presumably honestly held and logical to a certain degree, this official's words are misguided.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2017 @ 4:46pm

    A small child will begin to consider the virtual world part of the real world, and it changes their perception of reality

    And this is the current generational gap. To the older generation there is the real world and the virtual world, and they are separate and distinct and one is more important than the other. To the younger, there is just the world and sometime you interact with it virtually and sometimes you don't and increasingly you interact with it both virtually and not at the same time and in the end it doesn't matter all that much which one is which.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2017 @ 8:30pm

      there are simply too many sites. that's all. just cut a few and it'll be perfect.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 28 Feb 2017 @ 2:37am

      I remember something about this

      In the 1990s and aughts, children who played violent video games couldn't determine fantasy from reality. And they were fueling our epidemic of rampage killings.

      Also kids watching violent cartoons in the late 20th century (e.g. Drip-along Daffy or all of the Wile E. Coyote / Road-Runner series) couldn't tell fantasy from reality either. All that violence by children involving guns and explosives was probably suppressed by a conspiracy of news agencies.

      Nor could women reading saucy romance novels in the 18th century, which spurned a plague of barnyard adultery. I'm not sure on what previous centuries chose to blame their wayward women and debauched societies. But apparently enough women could read at all, that it was epidemic.

      Oh, and bicycles cause lesbianism.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Michael, 28 Feb 2017 @ 8:15am

        Re: I remember something about this

        "I'm not sure on what previous centuries chose to blame their wayward women and debauched societies"

        The correct answer is chess.
        That game was a waste of intellectual power and a burden on society.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2017 @ 5:07pm

    "and in the end it doesn't matter all"

    Yup.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    TechDescartes (profile), 27 Feb 2017 @ 5:19pm

    That's why they call it

    Windows 10

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2017 @ 5:25pm

    Oh come on...

    "And once people start invoking "for the children," common sense tends to go straight out of the window."

    Lets not beat around the bush, common sense leaves well BEFORE the invocation of "for the children".

    We should all classify the phrase "for the children" as admitted proof that someone is forcing their beliefs on others.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2017 @ 6:11pm

      Re: Oh come on...

      We should all classify the phrase "for the children" as admitted proof that someone is forcing their beliefs on others.

      Sometimes that's a good thing. For example, some people believe that child pornography should be banned and force their belief on those who do not. "For the children."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2017 @ 6:54pm

        Re: Re: Oh come on...

        You have my apologies. Stupid is now common sense, and you have plenty of it. I have to keep checking my sanity at the door because it is generally unwelcome here.

        Banning CP is obvious for a safe and proper society, not JUST "for the children".

        "For the Children" is nothing but psychological warfare used to imply that anyone not signing up for your draconian bullshit is actually all for the wrong thing. People that have to do this to advance their position are up to no good. 100% of the time!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Wendy Cockcroft, 1 Mar 2017 @ 6:17am

          Re: Re: Re: Oh come on...

          Fair enough, can't argue with that.

          If it's not "for the children" it's "because _______," usually terrorism. I have no time for boogeyman politics. The minute one invokes the boogeyman as a rationale by demonising the opposition instead of challenging them, one loses the right to be taken seriously.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Wendy Cockcroft, 1 Mar 2017 @ 6:17am

          Re: Re: Re: Oh come on...

          Fair enough, can't argue with that.

          If it's not "for the children" it's "because _______," usually terrorism. I have no time for boogeyman politics. The minute one invokes the boogeyman as a rationale by demonising the opposition instead of challenging them, one loses the right to be taken seriously.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2017 @ 12:15am

    'changes their perception of reality'

    General government quote
    'Yeah, messes up with our own conditioning(education), control and manipulation.......how dare ye'

    Politicunt translation
    'For the children'

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 28 Feb 2017 @ 12:30am

    "It is nothing good, in my opinion"

    As in any decent country, this is great. You're entitled to your opinion and should be free to express it. The luddite should be as free to express his opinion as the digital native.

    However, if you're going to start passing laws, you need to have evidence that shows that not only is your opinion true, but that the remedy for the problem you're looking at is both effective and not worse than the original issue. Order studies, gather evidence and present it with a chance for others to contradict or disprove your claims.

    The problem isn't politicians having silly opinions, it's when they try to impose policy based on nonsense. A person can have all sorts of dumb ideas, so long as they ensure that the laws they impose on others have the weight of evidence. This should be the case no matter which nation you represent.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Nik, 28 Feb 2017 @ 2:27am

    I agree children shouldn't be exposed to tablets too early. There are many other skills and neurological stages of development which benefit from interaction with the real world. The virtual world isn't 'real', in the sense that our brains don't respond to it the same way.

    And that kids should be protected when beginning to use the web. In this case I agree with his comments, but in the context of who it is saying it and his role in censorship, they deserve to be taken with a large dose of sceptical caution.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 28 Feb 2017 @ 3:18am

      Re:

      "I agree children shouldn't be exposed to tablets too early. There are many other skills and neurological stages of development which benefit from interaction with the real world. The virtual world isn't 'real', in the sense that our brains don't respond to it the same way. "

      I agree children shouldn't be exposed to TV too early. There are many other skills and neurological stages of development which benefit from interaction with the real world. The TV world isn't 'real', in the sense that our brains don't respond to it the same way.

      I agree children shouldn't be exposed to books too early. There are many other skills and neurological stages of development which benefit from interaction with the real world. The written world isn't 'real', in the sense that our brains don't respond to it the same way.

      I agree children shouldn't be exposed to comics too early. There are many other skills and neurological stages of development which benefit from interaction with the real world. The drawn world isn't 'real', in the sense that our brains don't respond to it the same way.

      There's plenty of ways to rewrite this to apply to most traditional media. The real issue isn't whether or not children are exposed to a particular media, it's whether their parents are using it as a substitute babysitter or whether they're restricting them to short, supervised sessions. But, the same has been true of most media in the past as well. I'd personally argue that exposure to the internet and tablets is less problematic than sitting them in front of the TV, since at least they're interacting and learning, even if others would prefer they learn from playing outside.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Nik, 28 Feb 2017 @ 10:04am

        I agree your point about using media as a substitute babysitter. There is also evidence to not expose children to too much TV. Your other attempts to extend my words to books and comics aren't valid. If you don't believe me, you can read the research for yourself.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Michael, 28 Feb 2017 @ 10:52am

          Re:

          I missed the part where you posted links to the research. Can you provide those again?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Nik, 28 Feb 2017 @ 2:10pm

            Re: Re:

            If you're clever enough to employ passive-aggressive sarcasm, then you're clever enough to use google and look into it for yourself.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Eldakka (profile), 28 Feb 2017 @ 5:59pm

              Re: Re: Re:

              Burden of proof

              When two parties are in a discussion and one makes a claim that the other disputes, the one who makes the claim typically has a burden of proof to justify or substantiate that claim especially when it challenges a perceived status quo.[1]

              While certain kinds of arguments, such as logical syllogisms, require mathematical or strictly logical proofs, the standard for evidence to meet the burden of proof is usually determined by context and community standards and conventions.[2][3]

              Saying "go find it yourself" doesn't meet the burden of proof on the person making a claim.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 1 Mar 2017 @ 12:40am

                Re: Re: Re: Re:

                There's 2 types of people who do this. One is an honest person who has something in mind, but either can't take the time to find the sources or think it's so obvious that they don't have to. The other is a disingenuous troll whose sad little mind gets off on making others go on a wild goose chase, while he can pretend to know more than everyone else.

                The tone suggests that Nik is the former, so hopefully he'll furnish the rest of us with some citations when he realises that making every reader of this site research his claims for him isn't the best method to have a good conversation.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 1 Mar 2017 @ 12:35am

              Re: Re: Re:

              No, he's right. The honest thing to do is at least mention the research you're thinking of. Links would be great, but you could also just say "I believe study X by noted researcher Y will tell you what you need".

              Otherwise, you end up going down the rabbit hole of "I'm right, you're wrong, just read the research". Then, when people do that and find different research and/or reach different conclusions the dishonest tend to just go "you're doing it wrong" without ever being willing to discuss or provide the "real" citations.

              In other words "Google it" is a very poor response to someone asking for citations for *your* claims. Don't be that dishonest ass, nobody likes him and he's usually a liar.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Wendy Cockcroft, 1 Mar 2017 @ 6:24am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Research

                ^This. Every time I challenge someone's opinion they claim there's evidence online to back up their assertions. Funny story: every time (without fail) they ask me to do my own research, I find links to evidence that utterly refutes their claims. This is because I'm biased towards empiricism — evidence backed by experience — and have little time for opinions alone, however sincerely they are held. Histrionic assertions and logical fallacies also tend to put me off.

                If you want to win me over, back up your assertions with a link to data we can check and, if need be, challenge.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2017 @ 11:34am

          Re:

          What research .. that claims what - exactly

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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  • identicon
    Yes, I know I'm commenting anonymously, 28 Feb 2017 @ 3:58am

    The only positive thing about this would be the end of the `for the children' online-laws.
    And calling that Phyrric would be overstretching..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 28 Feb 2017 @ 4:03am

      Re:

      You wish. It would last 10 seconds before the next bandwagon jumper points out that it's impossible to verify whether or not people are actually obeying the law. He'll then push for mandatory online ID (for the children, of course, we won't be tracking all activity by adults *wink*) and restriction of all adult content lest a 9 year old see something inappropriate.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2017 @ 7:43am

        Re: Re:

        Next thing you know they'll want to check ID to verify age to purchase vodka as well. And they'll say it's "for the children"! How are these kids going to know how to hold their liquor as adults if they don't learn as children?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Wendy Cockcroft, 1 Mar 2017 @ 6:27am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Ah, a logical fallacy. This one is called "strawman:" you've created a dummy to beat up and kick over, ignoring what PaulT actually said.

          ID laws are already in place for liquor purchase. It's illegal for a child (or anyone under 18) to buy booze over here in the UK. I believe the restriction applies to people under 21 in the US (correct me if I'm wrong).

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 1 Mar 2017 @ 6:48am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 1 Mar 2017 @ 6:54am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Other than the obvious strawman, it's also complete nonsense as a comparison to what I said.

            The required ID is very well established, usually required for things other than simply buying alcohol and nobody is tracked outside of the purchase transaction. On top of that, restriction of alcohol to minors is based on solid medical evidence, not a "for the children" excuse made up with zero supporting evidence. So, most people aren't going to have a problem with its execution, unlike the scenario I presented. That scenario would require mandatory ID for all citizens, which will then inevitably be constantly tracked and abused, while there's no basis for the restriction at all other than the feelings of a random politician.

            So, it's not only a dumb logical fallacy and a poor attempt at distracting from what I said, it's a badly conceived comparison that fails on its own logic as rebuttal.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2017 @ 4:07am

    Our Plan is Working

    Zharov is a mole. His assignment is to give the coming generations of 'Murican children a decade head start on the coming generations of Russkies in the development of truly native intuitions about Internet usage.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2017 @ 4:43am

    "the head of Roskomnadzor, the body that oversees website-blocking in Russia,"

    Guess I shouldn't be shocked that such a thing exists, but since donny is such a bigly fan of putin - how long till this POS arrives on our doorstep?

    On a side note, since they will now be assuring no children are on line, they can remove all prior restrictions put in place "for the children" ..... right? .. right?
    LOL - fat chance.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2017 @ 8:44pm

    Yeah, let's just garrot Aaron Swartz (or toss him off a cliff, a la the Spartans) once he exits his mother's womb, on the off-chance he might say anything disparaging about the extant regime. Better safe than sorry.

    I'm getting really tired of this bitching about us uppity peasants demanding rights equal to those enjoyed by the rich and powerful.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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