Net Filter Patronises the Digital Generation

From the Syndey Morning Herald:

Would somebody please not think of the children. At least not while we are discussing internet censorship. This may sound like an odd request given that, historically, almost all censorship debates have pivoted around children and the need to protect them. But moral panics and fear-mongering campaigns concerning “the helpless children” often muddy what could otherwise be rational, evidenced-based debates.

And there is no easier way to get an otherwise progressive, reasonable parent to endorse an illogical, anti-democratic censorship regime than by appealing to (and exploiting) their deep-seated fears concerning their children.

But here’s the thing. Censorship debates over child safety have little to do with actual flesh and blood children. If they did then they would acknowledge and include the voices and views of young people and they would recognise the competencies and strengths that children bring to online interactions.

[Read more at the Syndey Morning Herald]

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  • 5by5

    I understand the point of Raymond's rant here — the obsessive compulsive over protectiveness of children is something which has been commented on by George Carlin, Elvira Kurt, and Bill Maher (among others) exceedingly succinctly — but I'd have to say that perhaps we should flip how this is talked about.

    Namely that if you are anti-censorship, you ARE “protecting children”.

    While pursuing creepy predators is of supreme importance (nobody wants to let those little douchebags get away with that crap), restricting speech can have adverse effect on your children that will last well beyond their childhoods and potentially cripple them for life – muting their intellect, stifling their ability to dream, and to freely express who they are throughout their lives. Ironically killing all the redeeming factors that help people OVERCOME hardships that may be inflicted by others.

    So the choice I think becomes, will we accept a comparatively low level of risk online in favor of gaining MASSIVE gains in intellectual freedom? I'd say the risk is worth it, and that kids are stronger and smarter than even many of their parents give them credit for. Letting them begin to stand as autonomous humans with independent minds may be the most important lesson we teach.

  • justagirl

    “blah blah blah blah blah”…. that's what i just read.

  • dumbsaint

    What pisses me off (amongst a million other things on this issue) is that they tie in internet censorship (the filter) with the fact that there's an army of pedos grooming kids in chat rooms.

    The filter doesn't address the latter at all, yet it is apparently 'protecting' kids from this. Bullshit.

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