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2002-05-22 17:22:37+00 by TC 15 comments

h'ok. One of things I like about Flutterby is that discussion is usually at a pretty high level and people tell you that you are wrong in the most elegant ways so here's a topic that should have people on both sides of the fence. I think I am in the minority thinking this IS a GOOD idea. I have been against relagating sites of a specific group to a certain designated domain (i.e. porn to a .prn or .xxx)because this quickly becomes censorship.....but if a certain group wanted form their own community and standards fine, more power to them.

[ related topics: Children and growing up Interactive Drama Erotic Sexual Culture Free Speech Current Events Net Culture Community ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2002-05-22 17:32:16+00 by: TC

I didn't want this to get too long on the main page, so here are a few additional thoughts. I am not wild about someone that works for John Ashcroft being the oversight. They are tagerting for 13 and under so this will in reality be a place that interesting for kids 7 and under. No I don't think this is taking responsibilty away from panrents being involved. I would say this is analogous to those little fences they put around the play parks for the little kids. You still have to watch the kids but instead of having to make eye contact every 30 seconds you can let 45 seconds go by without worry...

#Comment made: 2002-05-22 17:41:09+00 by: Dan Lyke

My problem is that I'm not sure that this will have the desired effect. I've got some pages that have gotten lots of kid traffic. I'm not going to expose myself to liability by getting a .kids.us domain for the portions of the content I produce that are appropriate for children. So who is? Disney, Hasbro, ToysRUs, and various pedophiles. I really doubt that the Mechanical Toys Page, or Scarleteen, or Amradillo Aerospace, or any of the other wonderful pages that aren't targeted directly towards kids but could serve to inspire and motivate them will make it into this domain.

I predict that .kids.us will quickly become the consumerist mall of net culture, and in the process will contribute to the dumbing down of the society in which I live. Yeesh, I'm in a contrary mood today, huh?

#Comment made: 2002-05-22 19:05:54+00 by: Pete

I'm all for the opt-in principle employed in this model. I have doubts about the ultimate utility of trying to hide the world from the younguns, but this does not offend my deeply ingrained free speech sensibilities.

...Dan, if you abandon it, then it will only be what those others make of it. ("all that is required for...")

#Comment made: 2002-05-22 21:02:58+00 by: markpasc

The article says "Parents could set computer software to limit a child's access to only" .kids.us, but what software and can they really? The only common software that comes to mind is IE's security domains feature, which is easy to circumvent.

I also don't foresee it turning out other than as Dan says, unless we also get google.kids.us (which is easy enough) and, more importantly, geocities.kids.us (which is hard, since you can't exactly verify kid-safety of the hosted sites for free).

#Comment made: 2002-05-22 23:32:52+00 by: Dori

In terms of the search engines, there's already Jeeves for Kids and Yahooligans.

I doubt that geocities would want a kids.us domain, again, simply because it'd be too difficult to control what everyone published.

But overall, I think that this is a good thing. At a minimum, it should give anyone who wants to do a site above PG-13 a comeback to those people who say, "What about the chirrruns?" "Hey, I don't have a .kids.us domain, so I'm not trying to attract them!"

If you're willing to dumb yourself down, get a .kids.us domain. If you're paranoid about what your kids can see, limit them to seeing .kids.us domains.

And then, leave the rest of us alone.

#Comment made: 2002-05-22 23:48:03+00 by: Dan Lyke

Pete, I won't participate because I'm concerned about the liability it exposes me to. On that page I mentioned I have the side-bar that starts out "DO NOT...". I've gotten flames over the "and I'll cheer them on" bit of that, accusing me of advocating violence against stupid people or some-such. It seems to me that anything with a .kids.us domain immediately makes me accountable to the most conservative midwestern parents.

Mark, even if such software is developed, I knwo that Todd's kids were alt-tabbing before they were verbal. Anything the parents can override, the children will be able to override faster. So the only way to do this is to have the ISP do the filtering, so that any kid who wants to do a bypass has to set up an encrypted tunnel to a proxy server. Not that I've thought at all about getting past content filtering on a school based ISP (*cough*). So, yeah, I guess if Dori's prediction is right and we can say "We don't publish to .kids.us", then I'm all for this proposal.

Actually, I'm for almost anything that opens up the domain space a bit...

#Comment made: 2002-05-23 01:57:16+00 by: concept14

Sure, it begins as opt-in. But will there be pressure on schools to filter out everything outside of kids.us?

#Comment made: 2002-05-23 15:16:39+00 by: starbreeze

Well, ideally, parents should be monitoring their kids' net usage. But we all know that this isn't going to happen because not all parents have the time, or can make the time.

Something does need to be done to protect the kids out there from the predators of the 'net. If this is what it takes...

#Comment made: 2002-05-23 17:48:45+00 by: markpasc

I hear the domain space comment. It's not so objectionable that there'll be a .kids.us as that Congress established it. (I wasn't entirely aware anybody can get a .us domain, though they're reserving phone number-like addresses among others.)

I'll admit there would've been less noise about it if it were just some company doing it, but the chance of it being useful is low enough that I'd rather my Congress have been doing something else.

Aside, it's good to know someone's thinking of the poor protozoa, too.

#Comment made: 2002-05-23 18:36:54+00 by: Shawn

starbreeze; Of course I can't find it now, but I saw a great story online a few days back that does an excellent job of covering my views on this. What it takes is giving kids the tools of common sense and the faith to use them. The article I was going to link to interviewed several kids about the dangers to be found online. What they discovered was a great number of them were perfectly aware of these dangers and employed their own common sense rules to protect themselves.

I'll grant you that this may not be common behavior and smarts for kids in this country, but my point is that it could be. I believe the solution is to stop treating children like morons - that self-fulfilling prophecy only serves to create morons. Rather, we should acknowledge the intelligence and wisdom that children do have. Feed it, nurture it. Give them the tools to protect themselves and they will. Continue to teach them that they're not capable of taking care of themselves and we will continue to provide the world with ready-made victims.

On the subject of a .kids.us domain, I say "go to". In general, I'm supportive of anybody who wants to build their own sandbox to play in. But I do have some concerns about the ancillary affects this may have. Such as the dumbing-down and the primary commercialization of the new TLD (is this a TLD? I guess it's not, technically.)

What worries me more is this wiretapping law that's also mentioned (and reported extremely poorly, not to mention the quality of the writing in general at that point. It almost seems intentional - or like somebody else entirely wrote the second half). Wiretaps for anyone "suspected" of traffiking in child porn? "You're honor, Mr. Jones is known to use Usenet regularly - a venue in which child porn is readily available..."

#Comment made: 2002-05-23 21:52:31+00 by: TC

Pete: good point about shielding the kids from the real world but I think the little buggers will learn to climb that fence(playground analogy) and head out into the unfiltered world as Dan alluded to with using a ssh tunnel to a proxy server. If they are smart enough to climb the fence they are more likely able to cope with the wide world and it's dangers. As Starbreeze pointed out the parent should be the optimal filter but I think this sandbox approach is a good tool. Dan: I'm not sure what liability would be involved, I assumed there would be some monitoring body that would simply yank kids.us resolution from you if you had material that wasn't within the guidlines set(whatever those would be). Markpasc: thanks<gigle> for bringing the plight of the protozoa. Shawn: Yeah I avoided bringing up the wiretapping and rest of the article because it would have turned quickly into another ASHCROFT SUCKS thread and I don't think my keyboard could take the pounding. You know that movie trailer with the "YA YA sisters pounding the phone when they are mad?" I seem to have picked a similar habbit of hitting my keyboard when frustrated :)

#Comment made: 2002-05-24 00:35:41+00 by: Shawn

the parent should be the optimal filter but I think this sandbox approach is a good tool

My initial reaction would be to agree. But on further reflection, I doubt it'll be used as a tool so much as a proxy. I mean, look at how many people have turned their televisions into full-time baby sitters...

What I see happening is clueless/lazy/etc. parents saying; "Oh good, I don't have to worry about this. Somebody eles is going to take care of it for me now." While good/responsible parents are going to say; "Um, wait a minute... these restrictions are kinda heavy-handed."

It gives society yet another excuse not to take responsibility (because somebody else is now) - which I believe is at the root of every problem we face today.

#Comment made: 2002-05-24 01:03:24+00 by: Pete [edit history]

Television is an interesting analog to explore, but perhaps not in the way you intended, Shawn.

V-Chip Stays Unused: http://www.abcnews.go.com/sect.../tech/DailyNews/vchip000626.html

http://www.media-awareness.ca/eng/issues/stats/usetv.htm#v-chip Parents are not using tools available to help them to find educational television for children or to limit the content they deem inappropriate. - Awareness of the Parental Rating Guidelines established through the V-chip legislation have dropped by 20 per cent, from 70 per cent in 1997 to 50 per cent in 2000. - Nine out of ten parents could not accurately identity the age ratings for a sample of programs their children watched. - On average, parents were able to accurately identify the E/I (Educational/Informational) designation for one in three programs their children watched. - Ninety-one per cent of parents report watching TV with their children as a way to mediate what their kids watch.

And remember that we are now six years into the V-chip era.

#Comment made: 2002-05-24 18:45:27+00 by: TC

Shawm: people not taking responsiblity for their lives (pounding on keyboard again) is a huge problem in society (if not THEE problem in society) but do you take this tool away because of them? I guess this would provide a variety of abuse (now the parent can ignore the kids for 3 hours surfing the net and 3 hours watching the TV instead of 6 hours watching TV). I don't think your asserting that the parents would become better because there was no protection?? Hummm should start a thread on children's TV programming because that has gotten quit a bit better(cool stuff from viacom lately).

Pete: I like the play park analogy better than the V-chip. I think the V-chip is failing for the same reason vcrs still blink 12:00.

#Comment made: 2002-05-24 19:16:38+00 by: Shawn [edit history]

todd; I'm not advocating action (take the tool away) based on my observation/opinion - just making conversation. As general rule, I believe that all tools should be available. I just don't see this one being as useful as its proponents claim. But that doesn't mean I think it shouldn't exist.

No, I don't think parents would magically become better without this "tool". But I think it will provide many with a false sense of security. They can then continue to go obliviously through their lives, secure in the "knowledge" that their kids are "safe".

To better understand my position on these kinds of things, it might help to know that I don't buy into the claim that sex, violence, etc. is really and truly harmful to kids.


Meanwhile, it turned out that parents were not so fearful of controversial TV as their legislators had assumed. When the first v-chip circuitry arrived on the market in 1999, the consumer response was underwhelming. "I don't know how the v-chip works," one father of a 6-year-old said, "but I don't really trust that someone else is going to have a better judgement than we will." A TV manufacturer remarked: "It's not something that America was clamoring for. It's something that Congress was clamoring for."

- Not In Front Of The Children

I never had a problem with the V-Chip's creation or existence. I had a problem with the fact that its inclusion was forced upon TV manufacturers. If it had been provided as an option for consumers, my reaction would have been the same as with this new domain; "Whatever floats your boat."