stories filed under: "parenting"
by Karl Bode
Mon, Apr 26th 2010 5:01am
A UK ISP has teamed up with the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) to create a new parental control and filtering system that's based on the same classification system being used by the UK film industry. UK Wireless ISP Tibboh uses internet filter technology created by Netsweeper to classify websites under the BBFC's rating system (U, PG, 12, 15 or 18). Facebook and Twitter are given a "12" rating (only suitable for those over twelve), Blogger and Wordpress sites are given a "15" rating, while major news outlets are given a "U" certificate (suitable for everyone). The idea seems like a fusion of a bunch of ineffective and bad ideas. It's based on Internet filters that, of course, will block some useful content, but which kids will be able to bypass anyway. The filter system adds a new wrinkle by pretending it's possible to assign a valuable age restriction metric to information delivery platforms -- as if your kid couldn't possibly run into something foul via Twitter, in a blog, or in the news. The service provides the illusion of safety to people who'd rather pay twenty Pounds a month than pay attention to what their kids are doing -- or talk to them face to face about smart technology use.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Feb 23rd 2009 1:52pm
from the parents-and-video-games dept
While we keep hearing politicians and "child safety" activists complaining about violent video games and their supposed impact on kids, many people push back by noting that it should be up to parents to decide how to handle their kids' association with video games -- and some take the issue seriously. A bunch of folks have been submitting the BoingBoing story of a father whose son wanted to play the popular video game Call of Duty. After learning about the game, and recognizing some advantages to the game -- historical realism, the ability to learn teamwork, etc. -- he decided that he would let his son play, on one condition. While playing the game, his son and his "teammates" had to all obey the rules of the Geneva Convention. In other words, he turned it into an educational opportunity as well. The players now need to read up and understand the Geneva Convention rules -- and then engage by them, thus also avoiding some of the more gratuitous violence. So, there's a creative solution that some politicians and activists would like to have taken out of the hands of parents.
from the the-blame-game dept
There are plenty of news stories that seem to blame some form of technology for actions of individuals. The latest, as pointed out by reader Rose M. Welch, is an article that seems to be blaming mobile phones for bad parenting. Apparently, child development folks are worried that parents are paying more attention to the person on the end of the other phone line than their kid trying to get their attention, and this may stunt child development. The article doesn't cite any evidence of the problem other than some weak evidence (which the article admits is weak) concerning a study about kids whose mothers talked a lot on a mobile phone while they were pregnant. Of course, that's a totally different issue from parents ignoring kids after they're born, so it's not clear why the study is even mentioned. Either way, it seems that the point is pretty basic: parents should pay attention to their kids. That would seem to be true no matter what technology is around.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Mar 31st 2008 8:46pm
from the protecting-the-children? dept
Politicians absolutely love to come out with laws saying that they're "protecting the children" as it plays well during election time. The problem, though, is that many of these laws do exactly the opposite. What they end up doing is actually preventing children from actually being able to learn necessary skills and how to deal with situations they will almost certainly face later in life. Yes, children can be much more vulnerable, but the answer isn't to hide them away from everything, but to teach them how to better deal with situations they may face. However, that tends not to be politically popular -- which is why it's that much more surprising to hear of a new report, requested by the UK Prime Minister pointing out just how problematic the rush to "protect the children" can be. As Slashdot points out, the key line from the exec summary is worth repeating:
"Children and young people need to be empowered to keep themselves safe -- this isn't just about a top-down approach. Children will be children -- pushing boundaries and taking risks. At a public swimming pool we have gates, put up signs, have lifeguards and shallow ends, but we also teach children how to swim."This reminds me, too, of a line used last year by famed judge (and IP expert, to boot) Richard Posner in striking down an anti-video game law:
"Violence has always been and remains a central interest of humankind and a recurrent, even obsessive theme of culture both high and low ... It engages the interest of children from an early age, as anyone familiar with the classic fairy tales collected by Grimm, Andersen, and Perrault are aware. To shield children right up to the age of 18 from exposure to violent descriptions and images would not only be quixotic, but deforming; it would leave them unequipped to cope with the world as we know it."If only more people would recognize such things.
by Dennis Yang
Thu, Oct 25th 2007 4:47pm
from the funny-money dept
NetSafe, New Zealand's Internet safety group, warns that parents may be shocked to learn that their children's purchases in virtual worlds rack up real world charges on their credit cards. They warn that in virtual worlds like Second Life, it is possible to quickly run up huge credit card bills -- real money is spent when buying real estate, avatars, and clothing in the game. NetSafe used to discourage youths from spending any money in these virtual worlds, but has since changed their policy. They reason that while they might not understand the need for someone to buy a virtual good, it is not their place to judge where people spend their money. They stress instead that the most important lesson is for parents to set limits on their children's spending habits, but this seems pretty much like common sense parenting, and not something specific for online spending. Then again, our increasingly digital world has made it more difficult to teach children the value of a dollar. And with kids spending thousands of dollars on real estate that only exists in cyberspace, that lesson may get even harder to teach.