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[Discuss] protecting kids online

On February 5, 2014, Kent Borg wrote:
>Blocking "adult content" seems a recipe for thinking the problem is
>solved, responsibility met, and moving on to other things...

It's best to think of blocking as one tool combined with (more
importantly) education, as others have mentioned.

>I don't think looking at a dirty picture is going to shatter a 7 year
>old girl [...]

I can speak from experience that this material can be really upsetting
to kids.

Despite being in my 50s, I still remember the day, when I was 8 years
old, that a teenager in my neighborhood pulled me aside and showed me
a photo that, at first, my brain couldn't parse. (Neuroscientists call
this "experiential blindness.") Suddenly, I realized I was looking at
two daddies chewing on each other's you-know-whats. I remember being
very confused, running to my parents in tears, and having nightmares
about it.

OK, I grew up to be a reasonably well-adjusted adult anyway. But I
definitely would have preferred not to have that experience at that

>-kb, the Kent who can talk big because he has no kids and this is, 
>admittedly, all theoretical for him.


As a parent, I (and my wife) have always made sure our daughter knew
age-appropriate details about sex, and we supervised her web surfing
until she was old enough to handle herself. Nevertheless, when she
clicked the wrong link one day, bringing up a violent porn pop-up, she
was really upset by the imagery, even though we'd educated her that
this stuff is on the Net. No permanent harm done (and an important
lesson learned), but I would have preferred that she hadn't
encountered it so young.

Education is best, but blocking is helpful too.

>This is an evolving problem that *none* of us understand.

Well said, Kent.

Dan Barrett
dbarrett at

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