Friday, June 30, 2006

Reply to the "Digital Latchkey Kid"

Stephen Downes replies to my "Digital latchkey kid" post.

He points out:
"The problem with protecting kids by regulating what kids can see boils down, therefore, to this: as soon as you attempt to extend that protection outside the home, your own ideas about what is safe and proper come into conflict with others' ideas, and this problem becomes more and more intractable the more diverse society becomes and the wider the area you seek to govern.

And my own concern is this: when such matters become a matter for decision-making by governmental authorities, then the voices of those who profit most by exploiting and in some way injuring your kids become the loudest and the most influential. While it is always the hope of parents that governmental controls will eventually reflect their own values, this rarely ever happens."

I wholeheartedly agree, but the proposed course of action (become more tolerant, teach your kids to play safe, and allocate the responsibility for bad behaviour where it lies), while completely valid, lacks the immediacy of a solution for parents who are in the trenches, right now, today. I'm not talking about immediate gratification here, but I think it puts us in an awfully uncomfortable situation to be told to wait until our society and our culture rises to the challenge and self-polices itself. I am fully prepared to manually filter for my kids - but how many parents, failing to understand the immensity of what's on the net, will watch as their kids become unwitting causalties of this process?
To be honest, I don't have a proposed solution today, but I sense that having discussions like this is essential, and so I keep beating the drum. I am thankful that others have joined the dialogue.


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