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The Internet Education

Rules for Teenage Internet Access? 2067

Posted by simoniker
from the just-checking-my-email dept.
Kent Brewster writes "Despite dire warnings, we've gone ahead and put computers with Internet access into our adolescent (11, 12, and 15-year-old) childrens' rooms. We've got a nebulous set of rules, which include several like these: Keep the door open when you're on the computer. Don't quickly exit from everything when we walk past. Don't ever lie to us about what you're doing. Unfortunately we've had instances where all of these rules - especially that last one - have been broken, so now we are looking at getting more specific. We'd be very interested in hearing from both sides of the fence: parents with Net-connected progeny, and those who are chafing under their rule. Parents, once you're past making the huge mistake of actually letting the kids have computers in their rooms, what's a reasonable set of guidlines? Non-parents, what are the rules that chap your hide the worst? Do they actually make a difference in your behavior, or do you just sneak past them anyway? Finally, and this is sort of a meta-question from an exasperated dad, does everybody lie about what they're doing on the Internet?"
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Rules for Teenage Internet Access?

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  • Trust them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by r_glen (679664) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @11:16PM (#7484280)
    By age 15, I'd be concerned if they weren't yet looking at porn.

    As far as the "don't quickly exit from everything" rule, I think that's a bit unfair... there are plenty of legitimate reasons they might want to (emails, IMs, etc.), and even the naughtiest of children should feel they have SOME privacy. Besides, knowing that you trust them is far more important for their growth than seeing a few naked women (masturbation discovery nonwithstanding).
  • by bigHairyDog (686475) * on Saturday November 15, 2003 @11:17PM (#7484288)

    Observing my siblings and their friends grow up I have noticed something - stricter parenting doesn't make children misbehave less, it just makes them better at lying. You have two options -

    1. earn the respect of your children by giving them unfettered access to the web (and risk the obvious consequences)
    2. decide to restrict their access by setting up restrictions / uninstalling chat apps (and risk reducing the value of the web to your children)

    Which one all depends on how street-wise you think your kids are. If you think that they are going get influenced by what they see or talk to the wrong people (like paedophiles or Irish people), the dangers are too great so you have to restrict them. If you are just simply uncomfortable with them seeing inappropriate images, bear in mind they'll see them elsewhere if not at home, so what's the point in stopping them?

  • by DAldredge (2353) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Saturday November 15, 2003 @11:17PM (#7484290) Journal
    You mention that the rules have all been broken? What happened when they broke them? Did you take the computer out of the room for a time? If not, perhaps you should in the future.
  • by LordoftheFrings (570171) <null.fragfest@ca> on Saturday November 15, 2003 @11:18PM (#7484299) Homepage
    I don't know about the rest of the stuff, but as a teenage boy, let me tell you, Netnanny or any of that privacy software DOESTN't work, so don't try that. Also, don't assume the worst in kids, unless they are male, and are pubescent, in which case, the answer is YES, he WAS looking at porn.
  • lying (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wolrahnaes (632574) <(sean) (at) (seanharlow.info)> on Saturday November 15, 2003 @11:18PM (#7484303) Homepage Journal
    does everybody lie about what they're doing on the Internet?

    Yes.
  • by caffeineHacker (689198) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @11:20PM (#7484313) Journal
    I know the point of ask Slashdot is to make fun of the person asking the question but come on. Simple...log where they are going or set up some advanced Snort rules on a firewall box to alert you whenever keywords come through. But seriously I've been looking at internet pr0n since I was 11, way back in the day(About 1993), it doesn't hurt much just make sure they aren't planning on meeting someone they met in a chat room named SugarDaddy35 and it'll be fine.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 15, 2003 @11:20PM (#7484314)
    My parents, when asked to sign a letter stating that I could get an Internet account from the ISP I was working for, only replied, "Of course there's porn on the Internet, isnt't that what it's for?".

    If you, as a parent, have to tell your kids not to:
    * Close everything up when you walk by
    * Keep the door open
    * Don't lie to us.

    Then you've got some serious human responsibility issues.

  • by carpe_noctem (457178) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @11:20PM (#7484318) Homepage Journal
    Don't ever lie to us about what you're doing.

    Whenever my parents told me crap like this, it inspired me to lie about pretty much everything. Including activities which would probably not get me in trouble. But, when you create an environment of distrust, you're more likely to breed distrustful actions....
  • From a kid (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Takara (711260) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @11:21PM (#7484320)
    Non-parents, what are the rules that chap your hide the worst? I hated it when my parrents would try to give me guide lines on when to use the computer. "Don't be up at 11 using the computer". That kind of thing doesn't help much. If you ever get in that situation for your kids, tell them that it's late and give them the option of turning off the computer for the night. If they say no, then remind them they still need to get up at 6 the next morning for school, and stick by it. Learning by cause and effect rather than a parrent laying down the law is usually more effective (it just created resent for me).
  • by autopr0n (534291) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @11:21PM (#7484327) Homepage Journal
    Don't keep the door closed when you're on the computer? Geez, what horrible rule, especialy for the 15 year old.

    If you're that freaked out, why not put all the computers in a "family computer lab"? Is it that painful for you to actually spend time in the same room as your kids?

    I mean seriously, putting the TV, computer, etc in the kids room means the kid will spend all their time in their room alone, away from the rest of the family. Put all the entertainment devices in the same place, and you'll find yourselves actually spending time together. That's certainly what I plan on doing when I have kids (which should hopefully be quite a while from now :).

    w.r.t your paranoia. There's a lot of fucked up stuff on the internet, and your kids will eventually see it anyway. I wouldn't want small children to see that stuff but the stileproject isn't going to turn a 15 year old into a psychopath.

    But anyway, my solution still solves your problem. So do it.
  • Re:Trust them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KDan (90353) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @11:22PM (#7484331) Homepage
    Absolutely. Given how central the internet has become to many people's social lives, you may well find that they are exchanging messages with their sweetheart(s) and you have absolutely no business (as a parent or otherwise) being even aware of the specific existence of these messages, unless your kids want you to.

    And if you're really worried about them finding bad stuff on the internet, why don't you take the slightly longer and harder route of actually educating your kids so they know why it is you would rather they didn't browse certain types of site, and let them browse them to get out the initial curiosity, and then you'll find that they won't bother because they're only interested in 'evil sites' because they're forbidden and they don't know enough about them. Forbidden + mysterious = surefire failure at what you're trying to do.

    Daniel
  • by Treacle Treatment (681828) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @11:22PM (#7484334)
    Children will not respect you for letting you have free reign on the internet. Wake up. 15 year-olds need rules and guidance just as much as the rest of us.
  • by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Saturday November 15, 2003 @11:23PM (#7484342) Homepage Journal
    Install Squid and configure it for transparent web proxying. Let your kids know that it's there.

    Yes, I think that they deserve a reasonable amount of privacy, but you wouldn't let them hit the town without at least knowing where they're going, would you?

  • by gregfortune (313889) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @11:23PM (#7484345)
    If you are just simply uncomfortable with them seeing inappropriate images, bear in mind they'll see them elsewhere if not at home, so what's the point in stopping them?

    Because that is part of your responsibility as a parent. Head in the sand is a pretty weak way out.
  • by zarthrag (650912) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @11:24PM (#7484349)
    I'm willing to say the biggest thing wasn't the fact that my parents were big on what I was doing on the computer, it was the lack of respect for my own privacy. Believe it or not, your kids opinion of you (and how much he/she will visit you ;) ) depends on how much space you allow them. Now there is a such thing as too much space. However, if you want to protect your kids from p0rn, just make it not such a big deal. If you allow your child to date, chat, and be sure to give'em the "sex talk", it isn't so interesting anymore. (In my experience, the kids with the parents who showered them with information and condoms were the ones who are still virgins.) Most parents only care about p0rn and bombmaking, which is something you don't find unless you are curious. I would say limit your kids time online, but be fair about it. And figure out just what they do with their bandwidth. If the kid has days of music and new games all of the time -- you know what he's doing. But if you notice the harddrive is full, maybe you ought to search for video files periodically. If you find something, *chill out*. Bringing it up isn't going to help unless you're willing to bar them from the internet forever. In the end, every lonely 15 yo kid is gonna see it, you're just dodgning the inevitable. The easier it is, the less interesting. Be curious, but don't be a nazi.
  • successful tactics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HBI (604924) <kparadine AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday November 15, 2003 @11:26PM (#7484367) Homepage Journal
    • Set reasonable rules. Ie, no online gambling, no porn, whatever it is that you want. Make sure you think that the rules are reasonable and have the willpower to enforce every single one them. Otherwise you are wasting your time.
    • Keep excellent logs. Redirect everything through a proxy if you have to, but LOG EVERYTHING.
    • Never watch what they are doing. It creates the wrong impression.
    • Ask them what they have been doing online if you feel it significant, or they have been spending a lot of time there. Get them used to talking with you about stuff.
    • Do spot checks of the logs based upon this information.
    • Try to get them into a position where they have a choice whether to lie or tell the truth (and you know it). Be slick about this - don't be acting dumb.
    • If they lie, let them walk away. Come back to them the next day with the fact that you know they lied. Don't get angry, but put the cold fear of God into them. Make them suffer. Jerk the network connection for the computer for a week and ground them. Tell them next time, two weeks. Time after that, forever, and keep them in the house for a nice long time. Tell them you can tolerate many things, but not lying.
    • Bask in the glow of having done the best you can for your kids. They will, in general, follow your rules now.

    On a personal note, i'd never try to enforce a 'no porn' rule on teenage boys. It's damn stupid. Even my mom was cool with the porn mags in my night table when I was a kid. We had a don't ask don't tell rule. She didn't clean that drawer - it was my one sanctum of privacy.
  • by docstrange (161931) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @11:27PM (#7484372) Homepage
    You allready pretty much summed it up.
    You don't trust your children.

    If you want to If instill Big Brother.
    You could always install a product like spector pro [spectorsoft.com] on the pc's and review their actions on a daily basis.

    Let them know that it's on there, and that they have no privacy and they'll be sure to behave.

    Then again, you could just trust them. And let them actually confide in you without fear of being punished for every little thing.

    An example:
    (Would you rather have your kid
    (1)call you "I'm too drunk to drive home" from a party,
    or
    (2)Try to drive home drunk afraid that if they didn't Mom and Dad would know they were drinking.)

    .
  • by EinarH (583836) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @11:27PM (#7484373) Journal
    If you choose option 1 above just remember too tell them about the dangers before you let them loose... Don't try to scare them, just tell them that:
    -There *are* evil people out there..(again without making them afraid or intrerested)
    -Other people out there are after their money.

    Tell them to be critical against what they hear and see.
    Don't lie to them it will only make them disappointed in a way that they don't trust you.

  • Gateway (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Moxy.org (221619) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @11:27PM (#7484377) Homepage
    Something I'm thinking of doing when I've got little ones running around is putting their pc's behind a special gateway. This way I can block off specific websites, ports, etc for their subnet. Maybe even a way to disable/enable the internet depending on the time of day. (chron jobs maybe?) You could also log everything because all the net traffic would be comming over one line. I know it isn't the perfect answer but it seems better and cheaper if using linux than software solutions. If I had it logging some stuff I'd just do random checks of the logs for stuff that wasn't allowed. This would all be pretty invisible to the children too. Keep the gateway under lock and key and I'd consider my self pretty lucky if my kid was 1337 enough to hack my box.
  • Leave Them Be (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 15, 2003 @11:27PM (#7484378)
    Kids are curious by nature, I know I was. No matter what you do they are going to get their hands on exactly what you don't want them to, so why bother trying? Censuring your childrens' access to the internet is only going to cause them to resent you more and place more obstacles in the path of having a positive relationship with them. I grew up with a computer in my room connected to the internet! (my parents didn't know about that though... they are quite computer illiterate and didn't seem to notice when I crawled under the house with a couple hundred feet of CAT 5. But now I am about to graduate with a BS in Computer Engineering. So, let your kids be, they will turn out all right.
  • by autopr0n (534291) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @11:28PM (#7484384) Homepage Journal
    For a 15 year old, I wouldn't really be worried. The only real risk would be pervs chatting them up (especially if they were a girl) But even there I'd probably stop worrying around 13 or 14 or so.

    Teach your kids that "don't talk to strangers" applies online as well. (Oh, and be sure to tell them what a stranger is. When I was a child I met a girl who though "Stranger" was simply a synonym "pedophile". I told her it meant anyone she didn't know and she didn't believe me).

    Definitely tell them not to ever give out their email address, or download software (probably don't want to give them admin access, unless they are a geek, in which case you should give them a Linux machine :))

    But you have to be age appropriate as well. Something like the stileproject could seriously warp a little kid. Or at least it seems like it could, I'm not a psychologist.
  • Double Standard (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thedbp (443047) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @11:28PM (#7484385)
    Sir, not to disrespect, but I'm sure your wife doesn't know about EVERYTHING that you do on the internet. And if she does, something is either very wrong, or very right.

    See, it all boils down to the fact that the internet is just like any other information medium, be it the library, the video shop w/ an "adult" section in back, or Pigsty, the dirty little kid who hangs out on the playground singing "milk milk lemonade..." That is to say, you'll never be able to keep it in check. It is outside of your sphere of influence.

    What can you do? Prepare your kids for what they may run into. Give them feedback and guidance on how to deal with certain situations. Tell them what is appropriate and what is not. After that, its all up to them. As it should be. Humans need practice making decisions for themselves and not having everything honed down, toned down, and spoon fed to them. To do so is a disservice to both the human spirit, and your children's ability to function and think on a level that you may not be comfortable with.

    The fact is, you can't protect them. You can only help guide and instruct them.

    And if its really such a big deal, take the computer away and be a mean parent. They'll forgive you eventually, and its probably for the best anyway. Its not like its the end of the world, and there's no need for you to cave just cuz Johnny S and Susie Q have computers in their rooms.

    Anyway, its all about the trust, man. Trust that your kids know what they're doing and if it gets out of hand, offer help and advice instead of anger and retribution. We get enough of that from The Christain God.

    ---
  • To add to the parent poster: Most would agree that there are dangers to the internet, which your rules are there to protect. When those rules are broken, you should have a pre-set plan of consequences. On the part of the child the punishment is a deterent, but you must be strong enough to cary through so that they can also learn from the experience of breaking the rule. I can not stress enough that you should not cave to their 'needs' and be afraid of taking the computer away as punishment.

    With your rules it would seem logical that removing the computer (or internet connection) would be a fair punishment.

    As the old saying goes: Spare the Rod, Spoil the child. The older I get (I am only 22 now) the more truth I see in that

  • by yuri benjamin (222127) <yuridg@gmail.com> on Saturday November 15, 2003 @11:29PM (#7484397) Journal
    I know this is not a popular view these days, but whatever rules you make about internet use in your house are fair - it's your house.
    Keep in mind, though, that all teenage boys wank over naughty pictures - this is normal. And no-one wants to admit that to their parents - that would be embarrassing for the kid.
    If you're concerned, have all internet traffic enter your house through a box you control, and install dans guardian on it. I'm too lazy to link to it - GIYF.
  • /. those kids (Score:3, Insightful)

    by krray (605395) * on Saturday November 15, 2003 @11:30PM (#7484407)
    I love it. /. parenting. Finally.

    [me]: "HONEY -- I'm ready now ... you can go off the pill"

    The sad thing is I grew up with a C=64. My parents didn't understand what I was doing. Thus they didn't _want_ to know. Nothing illegal, of course... :) It was a good setup.

    Today, they _still_ don't understand what I do or how I do it. Fine by me -- and now it pays the bills. Almost ironical.

    My .02's? Kids need privacy. Kids need discipline. Kids aren't the parents. Install some snooping software. Just like my mom used to pick up on the phone extension -- though she never knew I knew how to wire up a few parts from Radio Shack and a blinking led always told me of a 2nd extension going off-hook.

    Oh yeah. Tell them about using protection (!) PLEASE. Too many Windows boxes spewing spam from virus'. Or go buy them a Mac if you're tired of the patches, but I digress.

    The worst punishment I ever got was getting grounded to my parents room. No computer. No TV. Oh my gosh, only books. Funny -- I still like to read.
  • by ChaoticCoyote (195677) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @11:31PM (#7484415) Homepage

    ...and the two oldest have unfettered access to the Internet. No censorship, no restrictions, no looking over their shoulders. How can I teach them that censorship is bad if I censor them?

    Since she's sitting next to me, playing Diablo 2, I asked my 14-year-old daughter about her net access.

    "I find little weird web sites, I look at them," she says. "When I close the [browser] window, it's just an automatic reaction to parents in the room, a matter of privacy."

    Yes, I've caught my eldest daughter reading disturbing web sites -- CNN, Christian fundamentalists, anime, Slashdot. Lord knows, she's found some very strange online comics. She asks the most damnable questions sometimes -- and that's just fine with me.

    I can't teach my daughters to respect my privacy by snooping in her activities. I trust my kids. They know their parents trust them, and that they can come to us with any question; we know what they are doing, where, and with who, not because we dictate, but because our kids want us involved in their life.

  • by Spinality (214521) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @11:33PM (#7484432) Homepage
    By the time your kids are in or approaching highschool, the groundwork has been laid. Either you have a strong, nurturing relationship, and your kids have learned to think responsibly for themselves; or they're snotty brats who distrust their overbearing and indifferent parents, who will lie to you at every opportunity, and who will bend with the winds of peer pressure. Either way, they have already been faced with every temptation you wish they didn't know about.

    You need to give them the tools to make good choices: self-respect, self knowledge, curiosity, empathy, fairness, and the other strengths of responsible adulthood. And if they have a healthy amount of curiosity and are not malformed, OF COURSE they'll be fascinated by porn. Weren't you? Like the other poster said, isn't that what the Internet is for?

    Little kids are another story, of course. They are still assembling their tool kits. You need to guide them through the discovery of life's seamier chapters. But fortunately, little kids won't know how to circumvent firewalls, and they don't need computers in their rooms. You have a few years to get them ready. And what they need from you has nothing to do with technology.

    So I laugh at the folks who are aghast at their 16 year old kids running Grand Theft Auto Vice City. But I shudder at my friends who bought it for their ten-year-old son. WTF?
  • Re:Trust them (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 15, 2003 @11:33PM (#7484435)
    You have every right to be investigating every single aspect of your minor children's lives. Furthermore, you have every responsibility to.
  • As a 17-year old (Score:1, Insightful)

    by DSLAMngu (715456) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @11:33PM (#7484439)

    I got a summer job and bought my own PC. So I'm golden on that front.

    My parents tend to learn computer stuff from me. Thus I do not discuss History Lists around them.

    I get home from school before my parents get home. This leaves me about two hours to do whatever.

    I have a brother, and we tend to keep the fappage details secret from each other. It's not good to look at porn when the other brother is in the room; that's just our moral code. I know he looks at lots of crap and he has mostly given up on hiding it; he still closes windows quickly though. And it's not like we rat on each other; he who has not sinned may cast the first stone, I always say. But still, I categorically deny anything that may show up in my History, intentionally or not.

    I must be pretty lucky compared to other teens "chaffing under the rules." My parents have recently grown a little concerned after I posted some of my Photoshops of teachers on my blog that got me suspended for ten days and got me kicked out of the National Honor Society. But otherwise it's cool.

    Oh crap! I'm starting to think they might not care!

    Nah.

  • by trav3l3r (666370) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @11:34PM (#7484445)
    I have 3 children (16,10 and 5), they all have computers in thier rooms that have unfiltered Internet access. The only real hard and fast rules we have is that they are not allowed to talk to people on IM or e-mail that they do not know, never give out your e-mail address to people you don't know, and never agree to buy anything. The last one became necessary when my 10year old joined Columbia records and got 10 free CD's for a penny!!! Now the gotcha's. My kids know that I can see everywhere they go by checking my firewall logs. If I check my logs and and see anything I feel is worth discussing then I will. Nothing will stop a 16 year old from viewing porn like having to face dad for an open and frank discussion that starts out as "so son, notice you've been looking at a lot of sex pages..Do you think all women are like that?? I noticed you were spending most of your time on pages where the women were doing X. Why is that ?? " He would much rather I just yell at him and forbid it, but I refuse. Basically I am using shame as a weapon..Will probably have to pay for it via therapy for them later...Oh well.
  • Stop fighting it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tailhook (98486) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @11:35PM (#7484452)
    Parents, once you're past making the huge mistake of actually letting the kids have computers in their rooms...

    There is no way to prevent the access. There is no way to prevent desire. Acknowledge this and adapt. Teach ethics, treat people (including your kids) with respect, and behave honorably. Simple.

    The alternatives suck.
  • by Laconian (578463) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @11:35PM (#7484460)
    It was discovering gay Internet communities that stopped me from hating myself. In most areas of the U.S., teens that question their sexuality aren't allowed to have anything resembling a constructive dialogue that helps them come to terms with themselves. I lived in an oppressively homophobic, fantically religious small town where being gay was outright unthinkable. The innate homophobia in high school doubled the effect. I HATED it, almost became suicidal. But the Internet helped me bring my confusing "differences" into sharper focus, gave me the chance to feel less alone, and provided me hope for eventually escaping the evangelical confines of my surroundings. Access to gay youth resources on the Internet would be the first thing to go if a filter was in place. Especially if a log file was being recorded. The last thing a gay teen wants to do is tip his parents off about his sexuality before he wants to!
  • by Molina the Bofh (99621) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @11:37PM (#7484467) Homepage
    And what is the problem of looking at porn before you're 18 ?

    I bet that 99.9%+ of the teenage males like to see porn. If they're forbidden, then they'll have one more reason to sneak at it. Telling someone NOT to do something is the best way of attraction his attention to that something.

    Is there any slashdotter that didn't look at porn in their teenager years ?

    For those who did look at porn: Do you feel that it harmed you somehow ?

    For those who didn't: I don't believe you.
  • by Jade E. 2 (313290) <(ten.mrotslrep) (ta) (todhsals)> on Saturday November 15, 2003 @11:38PM (#7484473) Homepage
    I can't really speak to your restrictions questions (My parents were too uninformed to even think of restricting my BBS, and later Internet, access.), but I can definitely answer your last question. From 15 years of tech support, then computer repair, and now consulting, the answer is Yes. Everybody lies about what they're doing on the internet. Furthermore, 95% of computers connected to the internet contain porn, except in large organizations with filtering (and/or logging) proxies, in which case it drops to about 25%. I am not kidding. From the office PC of the president of a 400 person company (Impressive stuff, I'd never seen picture of actual penetration with a peeled banana before.) to the ancient home machine of the little old lady that answers the phones at a homeless shelter (Male gay porn? The hell?), nobody is exempt. And, even further, almost none of them "have any idea how that could possibly have gotten on there, they've never even considered looking at anything like that." Then depending on the situation, "Especially not on work time" and/or "For $20 could you clean that off and forget this ever happened?"

    The answer to that last question, of course, is also yes.

  • Re:Internet access (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cybermace5 (446439) <g.ryan@macetech.com> on Saturday November 15, 2003 @11:41PM (#7484495) Homepage Journal
    Good point, everyone claims "Well trying to shelter the kids is pointless, they will find out about it sooner or later and then all you have done it make it more desirable by forbidding it."

    The Internet is new; most parents today, as children, did not have the level of access to such material in the home that we do now. As the poster above says, would you let your kids walk around just anywhere in your town? Think of the seediest, run-down strip in your town, yet with no age limits at the bars and video stores. Approximately half of the internet looks like that.

    There's a good reason that, before the internet, you had to be a certain age before getting access to this kind of material. It's not to shelter the children, it's to prevent exposure to this kind of material until they are old enough to make mature judgements and decisions. Before learning what the dirty underbelly of the world looks like, they should at least learn respect for others and not to treat women as objects. Children absorb and form ideas very quickly, while adults have a sort of filter of past judgement and experience where they can decide to take something to heart or forget it.
  • by timmarhy (659436) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @11:42PM (#7484502)
    there is only one rule you need to make and that is that you will not allow them to meet anyone from the internet unless you meet them first.
    you can't/shouldn't invade their privacy or stop them finding a bit of porn, but at the ages you are talking about they are still relying on you for money/ transportation so play that as your trump card.
  • Re:Trust them (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Cpt_Kirks (37296) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @11:43PM (#7484506)
    Yep. My house. My network. My rules. Period.

    I control the router. I read the logs. When they turn 18, if they are still living in my house, we'll discuss it. Until then, what I say goes.

  • by autopr0n (534291) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @11:44PM (#7484520) Homepage Journal
    What exactly is your goal in doing this? To prevent them from looking at porn? To keep pedophiles from chatting up your kids? Under your rules, your kids could look at porn all they want as long as they're willing to let you know about it, in other words, you hope your children's shame in their parents knowing about their sexual predilictions should keep them in line? Or you just want your kids to be honest about their sexuality with you? Both of those seem a little weird to me.

    If I were you, I'd just use some kind URL sniffer on, and check to make sure they wern't looking at anything really weird.
  • Simplest rules: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dr. Photo (640363) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @11:45PM (#7484527) Journal
    1. Any rule that you yourself don't abide by will be instantly disregarded as hypocritical the moment your back is turned. And rightly so.
    2. If they haven't seen it on the Internet, they'll learn about it at school. And most likely do it after school. Make sure they know about condoms and safe sex. Practice your "Way to go, son!" speech just in case they get lucky.
    3. Allow them to view any content (within reason) that they're willing to explain, and talk about. Conversely, forbid anything that they're too ashamed to bring up. Let their own moral compass pester them for you, and save yourself the trouble.
    4. Make sure they realize that cutie_doll17 is actually a sweaty, overweight, 45-year-old truck driver named Jim. Don't let them meet online people in real life except in a public place when you are present. (That's a pretty standard blurb in any internet-safety pamphlet. Ironically those pamphlets have cause more paper-cut-related deaths than the number of lives they've purportedly saved. Avoid hardcopy and sharp corners.)
    5. Make sure they realize that script kiddie shit has consequences. Punish them severely if they root any box with a script that they did not author themselves. This will teach them that plagiarism is wrong.
    6. No dessert until all their software is patched and up to date. Ground them if they leave unnecessary services listening on open ports.
  • Re:Trust them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by oneishy (669590) <jczebota@noSPam.oneishy.com> on Saturday November 15, 2003 @11:45PM (#7484531) Homepage

    While i agree that you should be able to trust your children, I see many other things from the flip side of the coin.

    It IS a parents business to know what is going on in their childs life. That is nearly THE definition of an involved parent. Todays society shrugs that model but it is the parents job to help guide those *sweetheart* relationships (or to end them if needed).

    KDan aparantly believes in teaching a child to do something once just to learn what it is, even when that something is wrong. I strongly disagree, and by following that logic through hopefully you will to. Example: Murdering is wrong but i should allow my child to experience it for themselves so that they *understand* murdering. Clearly that would not be good parenting. The same prinicple applies with many of the evils online (pornogrophy, violence, fostering bad relationships, etc..) A parent should not encourage these things simply so that a child knows, but rather should keep the absolute stand that they are wrong, and off limits.

    KDan does make a good point about going the harder route and educating your children. It would be good to educate them on good morals, things of character and integrity rather than on bad symptoms that come from poor character and integrity.

  • Re:Trust them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kfg (145172) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @11:47PM (#7484541)
    I find the current trend to insist that people (and they are people, you have to remember that) under the age of majority remain children at least until crossing that arbitrary border is a bit bizarre.

    As a parent I always considered it my duty to raise them to be adults. Have ever told your kid, "Act your age"? If so, didn't you mean "Act more mature"?

    Well, then you have to teach them maturity, not childhood. Responsibility and self control, not outside control of their every movement. With maturity comes things you might not like. If your kids are past the age of puberty they are sexually mature, whether you are comfortable with that idea or not. They are going to act like they are sexually mature. They are also begining to think of themselves as themselves and not as your children. Help them to do so in a mature and reponsible manner.

    Then you'll have to get out of the way. They'll make mistakes. Sometimes bad ones. Be there for them instead of flying off the handle. Don't think that if you just locked them up tighter the mistakes wouldn't have been made. They'll just be delayed until they're out there on their own without you to support them.

    Isn't it a better idea to teach them how to deal with these issues in a mature fashion rather than try to deny that these things exist?

    Then you're going to wonder why they go to college and go completely off the frickin' wall drinking, screwing and otherwise acting like children out of control.

    Well, it's because you raised them to do that. You set them up for it.

    The issue isn't so much how to control your kids, but how to control yourself to raise your kids as adults, not kids. Ultimately they are going to control themselves no matter what you do.

    Think about it.

    KFG
  • by I_redwolf (51890) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @11:49PM (#7484561) Homepage Journal
    First as a parent, (i'm not one) you should trust your children. The internet is like any public place, you can't be with your child 24/7. Maybe it's because I'm not a parent, but my parents always instilled the expected behavior from me and then let me choose what it is I was going to do. This has made me a better person in life as I've made my own mistakes and have learned that what they usually say is true. So I tend to listen and accept what they have to say not as rules but as life learning experience.

    Point two; I dont want to sound demeaning but parents such as yourself who set rules on things they have little to no control over end up having children who lie to your face. They end up at Billy's house using the internet to talk to some pedophile. Something you could of had control over if it wasn't for the gestapo rules as it would of been in the open. So instead of saying listen, talking to X people over the internet isn't cool and having a positive discussion with your child. You simply have no idea what's going on. Your child ends up on the run with some pedophile in Mexico and you are wondering what happened.

    With children I think that the best thing is to simply let them know is that just like anywhere else the Internet is a public place. Just like I will teach my child not to talk to strangers, I'll teach them not to talk to strangers on the internet. At least not in a personal non-academic way and when they are old enough to make the decision that they feel they can do what they want, then thats their choice. However rules like "keep the door open" while on the internet will do nothing for you. Your major mistake is believing that your rules will stop a curious child, they won't. Instead of being a rule gestapo, explain to your children the positives and negatives, tell them what they need to hear so that they can expect certain things and already be alert.

    Lastly, be parents. I think the problem today is that alot of parents think that setting "rules" is all they need to do when in reality understanding their children and inquiring about their lives is what parenting is all about. Teach your children, rules mean nothing if they don't know how to handle life like situations. The internet isn't the mistake, public schools aren't the mistake, life situations aren't mistakes. Stop blaming society or the internet or whatever because simply, they are here and everything has problems. It's how your child conceptualizes the problems, issues and general life situations they will have to deal with on daily basis that will determine if you are a parent, or simply a care taker. That choice is truly the parents, and the behavior of the child is truly reflective upon them. My mom used to say, "the smartest children aren't just the ones that can win spelling bee's, or get straight A's. They are usually the ones who can tell if you're bullshitting or not and have toyed with you just to get to see you cards." I guarantee you, your kids can't call a bluff, you've never even explained to them what a bluff looks like.

    Heh, I think i'll call my mom now and thank her. She really prepared me for life, not just tell me to follow rules.
  • Re:Trust them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 15, 2003 @11:49PM (#7484570)
    you may well find that they are exchanging messages with their sweetheart(s) and you have absolutely no business (as a parent or otherwise) being even aware of the specific existence of these messages


    Wrong!

    Parent of 4 here, and while when I was a teenager I didn't think my parents had any business knowing anything about my private life, I've long ago learned that that view is the view of the child, not the parent.

    A parent has a resposibility to be total aware of what their children are doing at all times. I don't need to know the specific CONTENT of a message, but I do need to be aware who they are chatting with, when they are doing it, and you'll better be damn sure I'll make sure that the other child's parents know it too.

    We have 3 computers in my house, in public areas. If one isn't in use, any kid can jump on it, provided they've done their homework, had it checked by mom and dad, have done their chores, and haven't lost their computer priviliges for some infraction or other.

    Yeah, I'm a neanderthal. I'm the worst parent in the world. My kids will be forever messed up because I make sure I know everything there is to know about their lives.

    Of course, if being honor students, gifted muscicians, eagle scouts, and a 4 of the damn nicest people I've ever had the joy of knowing is "messed up" I'm also damn glad I don't take this view.
  • Re:Trust them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fleener (140714) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @11:53PM (#7484598)
    Interesting sentiment, but if the law in my state makes me (as a parent) legally responsible for my child, you can bet your ass I'm tracking everything that happens on the computer, even if the computer is located in the living room.
  • Re:Internet access (Score:2, Insightful)

    by shepd (155729) <slashdot,org&gmail,com> on Saturday November 15, 2003 @11:54PM (#7484605) Homepage Journal
    I'd have to say it's a lot more like letting a teenager loose in the library of congress. You never know what they might learn.
  • Re:Trust them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by be-fan (61476) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @11:55PM (#7484615)
    Its not a matter of whether its your right. Its definately your right. But is it right? Growing up, my parents were always lax with the rules, but very firm about expectations. As a result, both me and my brother were forced to develop personal responsibility --- something that is far more important in the real world than adherence to specific rules. I think the ideal is to be extremely involved, but still give children a bit of breathing room so they feel comfortable.
  • by amcnabb (682951) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @11:57PM (#7484627) Homepage
    Is there any slashdotter that didn't look at porn in their teenager years ?

    For those who didn't: I don't believe you.


    I didn't, and I know I'm not the only one. Whether or not you want to believe us is your own choice. I find it sad that parts of our society are so devoid of virtue that they deny its existence. Now, I'm not trying to damn or judge anyone for mistakes they've made, but it's pathetic that so many call evil good and good evil.

    For those of you who think that there's nothing wrong with pr0n, here's one thing (of many) to think about. Dirty images and thoughts cause you to value women only for sexual reasons and leads to the treatment of women as objects. If you are married or eventually plan to be married, wouldn't you want to be clean of addiction to pr0n and immoral thoughts so that your wife can trust that you value her as a person and love her for who she is and not just for her body?
  • by damiam (409504) on Saturday November 15, 2003 @11:59PM (#7484646)
    There is no negative side to being on the computer 24/7 except terrible bleary eye.

    That and the fact that you have no life.

  • Re:Trust them (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Pig Hogger (10379) <pig.hogger@NoSpAM.gmail.com> on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:01AM (#7484662) Journal
    Yep. My house. My network. My rules. Period.
    I control the router. I read the logs.
    Lemme guess. You have a bowel movement only 2-3 times a week, right?

    Your upbringing methods will raise some of those tightassed terminally stupid managers everyone likes to hate because of their fundamentally brainless decisions.

  • Re:Trust them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mr. Slippery (47854) <tms.infamous@net> on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:04AM (#7484674) Homepage
    You have every right to be investigating every single aspect of your minor children's lives.

    At age 7, yes.

    If you still find the need to do so at 17, you are failing to prepare them for adulthood. (Not to mention that by the time they're a teen, you're going to find that it's not possible to continually investigate every single aspect of your kid's life.)

  • by Klowner (145731) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:06AM (#7484693) Homepage
    I'm 20, and I have no children, but the other day (seriously) I was thinking about what kind of internet access I would allow my kids to have..

    Proxy port 80: Use something like squid and proxy up port 80 and don't allow any regular traffic on 80 otherwise. Then tell your kid that you can see what websites they're checking out, just to keep them accountable. Doesn't mean you actually have to check the caches constantly. If ever..
    No "Speedy Minimization" Rule: I remember the times I was talking to girls when I was younger, it wasn't anything bad, it was just something I didn't wish to share with my parents. I can understand seeing your kid quickly minimizing a photo of albino midget porn, but emails/IMs, I think that's just as intrusive as insisting that your kids let you bug their telephone conversations. How would you like your kids listening on a separate phone to all your conversations?


    that is all,
    Klowner
  • by be-fan (61476) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:06AM (#7484697)
    If your mind is so feeble that looking at pictures changes your outlook of an entire gender, then by all means abstain from looking at porn. In fact, don't expose yourself to anything else for that matter --- you're far too easily manipulated. There are perfectly sound reasons for not looking at porn (consider, for example, the conditions many women in the porn industry --- especially outside the US, are subjected to). Thinking its somehow going to hurt is not one of those reasons.
  • by Trolling 4 dollas (723481) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:07AM (#7484702)
    I strongly advise you to let your children make mistakes and learn about the world. Trying to protect them from every possible ill of the world will backfire and surely by the time they graduate high school they will have many problems. I still have serious social problems as a result of my parents control structures. I've also had to learn lessons that people with normal parents had learned as teenagers. Believe me trying to protect your children from the world is just a recipe for a whole lot of pain in their future.
  • by kakos (610660) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:10AM (#7484725)
    And I only think it is because of our Puritan society. I know legally you are required to be 18 to look at porn, but it is a consequence of our overly Puritan society.

    Unfortunately, our nation's leaders don't seem to understand that once our children hit puberty (esp. male), they will want to get some sexual gratification.

    I say let them look at all the porn they want. If they are male, they probably already are looking at it. And don't deny that you didn't look at it when you were a kid.

    The only thing you should forbid them against is blantantly illegal activity, such as cracking into other people's computers. If they become interested in hacking, setting up a local honey pot and let them play around with it.
  • Re:Trust them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by orthogonal (588627) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:10AM (#7484726) Journal
    Yep. My house. My network. My rules. Period.

    I control the router. I read the logs. When they turn 18, if they are still living in my house, we'll discuss it. Until then, what I say goes.


    But if you control them until they're 18, when will they get the experience controlling themselves?

    I think part of the point of adolescence is to allow them more self-control, so that they can gain practice in making their judgments for themselves, while you're still close enough at hand to be a safety net when they (inevitably) dare too much and make a misstep.

    You probably taught your kids to ride bicycles. I doubt you "taught" them to ride by sitting them in a side-car attached to your bike until age 12, at which time you plopped them on a 10-speed without training wheels, expecting them not to fall just because they'd watched you balance, steer, and pedal for the last 12 years.

    No, like any good parent, you got them a 3-speed, put training wheels on it, and ran behind the bike, holding the seat to balance it. And eventually they were pedaling too fast for you to hold one, so you watched them whiz away, waiting for that first skinned knee to bandage.

    Rather than grep through the network logs, spend the time explaining to your kids why the values you live by are useful and effective values for them to live by. Talk about the mistakes you made, in hopes they'll more quickly recognize their future mistakes. Let your kids know that now is their chance to make mistakes, and now is when they still have the chance to come to their dad and ask for his help in correcting those mistakes.
  • Re:Trust them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by reverius (471142) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:11AM (#7484732) Homepage Journal
    Somebody mod this up. It's the most insightful thing I've read on Slashdot... nay, the entire internet... in a very long time.

    I'm a recently-on-my-own "new Adult". I'm 19, and I'm a freshman in college. My parents were of the more relaxed "he can make his own mistakes" variety, and I'm incredibly thankful for it. If you don't let them -learn- maturity, they'll never have it. Then they'll be 19 and a freshman in college... and they won't know why it's bad to drink in excess 4 or 5 days a week. Trust me, I see it all around me. Adults acting like children.
  • Re:Trust them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Joe Tie. (567096) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:12AM (#7484745)
    It's a tough decision. The ideal would be to raise kids who can excercise strength of will when up against a temptation that might be bad for them. I think the big difficulty comes in how to actually give them that ability. Too strong a hand and they might get that unshakeable will, but learn to apply it to any stupid thing their authority figure tells them i.e. the the terminally stupid manager syndrome. Don't enforce any rules and they might wind up spending their lives jumping from job to job because they're unable to force themselves to endure the stupid decions made by the aforementioned managers. It seems like a difficult line to walk for a parent, and makes me glad the issue is one that's not applicable for me.
  • by oneishy (669590) <jczebota@noSPam.oneishy.com> on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:13AM (#7484754) Homepage

    ... and the rest of my post (sorry)

    Yes, pornography is evil. Not only now but it always has been and always will be.

    Lust is the driver behind pornography, Lust to have something (sex), which God created for intimacy inside of marriage outside of marriage. The lack of self-control in fulfilling that lust in any of many different ways (pornography is only one) removes our ability to enjoy the very thing we desire. It is our own evil desire (inside of every one of us) that feeds lust and draws us into the traps of pornography where nothing ever satisfies. Here is one of the problems with lust: When we attempt to fulfill this lust apart from Gods design it is like chasing the wind. One picture is never enough. Having sex once outside of marriage is never enough, nothing is enough. As soon as one desire is fulfilled another comes. God wants us to embrace our sexuality and accept the plan He had when He created sex. Battling lust is part of how we do that!

  • Re:Trust them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dbc001 (541033) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:14AM (#7484757)
    Example: Murdering is wrong but i should allow my child to experience it for themselves so that they *understand* murdering.
    That's a terrible analogy. my dad gave me a cigarette when i was like 12, and i coughed for like 15 minutes. There was no way anyone could ever talk me into smoking a cigarette after that.

    I plan on drinking my kid's first beers with them, and i plan on smoking the first joint with them as well. Both are very dangerous, but also quite normal and socially acceptable in moderation. similarly, it would be wise to talk openly with children about sex and sexuality (both must be done carefully of course) because if my kid is gonna be a perv, i would rather know about it than have him hide it and end up being a murderer/rapist because of pent up sexual frustration and aggression.

    So what can we learn from the wonderful world of Internet Porn? Well, it turns out that everybody likes sex! Some people like it in different ways than others. Some people went through weird shit growing up, and now they get off on weird shit as adults. Who is to say what is normal and what is abnormal? As far as the kids go - you can't stop them from seeing porn. They will find it. And they will find the weirdest, nastiest shit you can imagine, far weirder than anything we were ever exposed to growing up. So your best bet is to work on building an honest, open dialog with them, and build a trusting relationship. If ya don't, your kids will still find the weird porn, but they won't be able to relate it to society, and they won't be able to bring it into the context of real people. They will hide it and keep it all inside, and that will cause much worse problems.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:18AM (#7484795)
    I don't read this site a whole lot, so I'm just posting as an "anon coward) :-p.

    I was actually quite harmed by storing several GB of porn up for myself while I was in college. Now that I'm married and have a daughter, and have not looked at porn in several years (which takes quite a lot of effort to resist) I still find the occasional image from that library spinning through my head. I wish I hadn't ever seen porn now, because it pollutes and interferes with my thinking and feelings for my family. It's a drag that's it's so pervasive on the Net because it can sometimes be hard to actually avoid when doing image research (I'm a digital artist).

    -geometryguy
  • by rocketfairy (16253) <nmt2002.columbia@edu> on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:19AM (#7484801) Homepage
    I'd think specifically about what your worries are before laying down laws. A well-adjusted young adolescent won't be Scarred for Life by anything on the internet (except the stuff that scars us all :). I'd worry more about whether or not they're able to contextualize what they see or read -- since they WILL encounter porn, hate speech, etc. eventually, rules or no. In any case, I'd drop the "door open" policy, at least for the older ones: adolescents need some privacy to be able to start leading their own lives. And I'd be wary of surveilling your kids in general, unless there is something specific to worry about (i.e., lots of gun-related websites).
  • by Lord_Dweomer (648696) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:20AM (#7484813) Homepage
    Why do you feel you need to shame your child into not learning about something that is completely natural? Why do you feel you need to use a weapon against your kid?

    Guess what, no matter how much you know about computers, your kid will be able to see it if he wants to, he just has to go to a library or a friends house. Do you WANT your kid to grow up socially handicapped? I mean, for gods sake, what is the problem with a 16 year old looking at porn? He's gotta have SOMETHING to masturbate to. Unless that is something you feel you need to shame him into not doing either.

  • by krumms (613921) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:22AM (#7484819) Journal
    Big Brother, is that you? :P

    Nothing will stop a 16 year old from viewing porn like having to face dad for an open and frank discussion that starts out as "so son, notice you've been looking at a lot of sex pages..Do you think all women are like that?? I noticed you were spending most of your time on pages where the women were doing X. Why is that ?? "

    If you can't trust your 16 year old son (who is probably already well aware of things like "X") to make up his own mind about that kind of shit, and instead willfully associate fear and/or shame with sex ... well, uh ... shame on you. Assuming he's not tracking down pictures of naked eight year olds, I'd bet he's pretty safe.

    Perhaps you should be more worried about things that are important -- hard drugs for example -- instead of pulling a headfuck on your child with regard to something that is pretty common and healthy in adult (and - god forbid - teenage) life. But then, this is slashdot. No Sex Here.

    Do you really distrust your own kids that much?
  • Re:Trust them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by timmyf2371 (586051) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:23AM (#7484827)
    Well, children do take after their parents.

    I take it you don't mind your children turning into control freaks?

  • Re:Simplest rules: (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lord_Dweomer (648696) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:24AM (#7484828) Homepage
    "3. Allow them to view any content (within reason) that they're willing to explain, and talk about. Conversely, forbid anything that they're too ashamed to bring up. Let their own moral compass pester them for you, and save yourself the trouble."

    I agree with all your points except the one I quoted. Why should your child have to be willing to converse about masturbation with you? It is a very personal, private thing for many people. I certainly would never talk to my parents about it, nor do I feel I should have to. It is called PRIVACY. Also, what if your child had a social/mental issue that they wanted to handle themselves and didn't want you involved in? What if it was between them and another friend? Do you feel you are privy to that information?

    Kids who grow up in families where they are allowed no privacy become very good at creating their own, in whatever way they can.

  • by Mr. Slippery (47854) <tms.infamous@net> on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:24AM (#7484829) Homepage
    Dirty images and thoughts cause you to value women only for sexual reasons and leads to the treatment of women as objects.

    There's nothing "dirty" about sex, except for having to change the sheets afterwards.

    And sexual images and thoughts certainly do not cause men (sane intelligent men, anyway) to objectify women, or to be unable to value women for other than sexual reasons.

    If that's your response to sexual images or thoughts, yes, you probably shouldn't view pornography. But if you've got such a serious psychological problem that you always objectify women you are sexually attracted to, I urge you to seek professional help.

  • Re:Trust them (Score:1, Insightful)

    by aussersterne (212916) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:30AM (#7484866) Homepage
    ...and I'd be nervous coming within twenty feet of these children of yours, especially if you keep guns in your house. It sounds as though you have a perfect breeding ground for neurotic ultraconservatives going on.

    I would never demonstrate so much distrust and disrespect to my own children. And no, contrary to popular conservative belief, you can't teach respect through disrespect, nor can you teach integrity through mistrust or pacifism through application of the "iron rod."
  • by dbc001 (541033) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:31AM (#7484873)
    Dirty images and thoughts
    I have a little surprise for you:
    sex isn't dirty.

    actually it's quite nice.
    i'm not a hundred percent sure, but there's some pretty good evidence that sex is what we were designed to do. that's why normal male humans don't normally go very long without thinking about sex. i believe it's often referred to as "survival", and sex is how we do the whole "survival" thing.

    for those of you who really think that sex is "dirty", you need to see a therapist, seriously. that's a very unhealthy attitude, and it could very well cause some serious problems.
  • Re:Trust them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by trotski (592530) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:31AM (#7484875)
    Trust me, since I was probably a kid more recently than you have (i'm 21, some may argue I still am a kid). Honor students, gifted musicians, and eagle scount mean nothing.

    I've known them all, and honor students, giften musicians and (in Canada) Air/Army/Sea Cadets or Boy/Girl scouts get just as drunk and have just as much sex as every other teenager. You can't watch your kids all of the time, it's physically impossible, and you have to accept the fact that they WILL try drinking, they WILL have sex and chances are they will try drugs. These are just things kids do in high school, and your restrictivness and controlling attitude may actually encourage these things to happen.

    It doesn't matter how nice your kids seem to you, they WILL surprise you, especially since you can't accept that they may have lives of their own.
  • Wake up! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by painehope (580569) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:33AM (#7484893)
    Firstly, a meta-answer to your meta-question :
    No. I mean, not too often. Well, sometimes. Okay, fine, I'm not really 6'4", fabulously wealthy, and have a 9 inch cock. Under my red mini-skirt. Which I wear when I pick up hot 18-year old sluts who will do anything for money!

    Now that I've gotten my smart-assedness out of my system, I think it's time you looked at the basics of human development.

    Kids grow. In doing so, they will expect their own privacy and freedom. With that goes responsibility. Would you let your 11 year old go to a party unsupervised? Probably not. Would you let your 15 year old? Well, judging from your attitude, probably not. I would. As long as your kids are getting good grades and have their shit pretty much together, let them do their own thing. If they want money from you, make them mow the yard. If they want a ride, tell them to clean up their room first. If they choose to walk rather than that, don't bitch at them. It's their choice. You need to slowly relax the reins, so that when they are 18 and go off to college, they have the skills and maturity to adjust, rather than just going "Woo-hoo! I don't have to listen to anyone anymore! I'm gonna fuckin' party". That's a big part of the problem. If you think your kids aren't interested in sex, intoxicants ( drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, whatever ), bands, parties, etc., you're wrong. Weren't you? It's a matter of degrees, and knowing what is healthy.

    And doesn't it strike you as odd that your child feel the need to lie to you? My personal experience has been that it's easier to tell the truth, so I don't waste time lying unless it's worth it. Ex. : if you could just tell a cop : "Look I busted my headlight last week, but I haven't had time to replace it" and he just gave you a warning, would you feel the need to to tell him you hadn't noticed it, someone must have hit your car in the parking lot? I wouldn't bother if I could, but is telling the truth worth the hassle of going to court and paying a fine? Not in my books, because whether the cop believes my lie or not, noone is hurt ( except for maybe the county, who is deprived of a $150 that they could waste as well as my tax dollars are ).

    A computer is a tool. Internet access is a problematic tool, because it's a gateway to so much. What are you really worried about? Kids looking at porn? What, and you never looked at porn? Never masturbated? If you say no, you're full of shit. Being exposed to violence/hateful themes, etc? That's around kids every day. Same for drugs. So, unless I'm missing something, the only thing that kids are exposed to on the internet that isn't around regularly, are sexual predators. And those are there in the real world too. Basically, the only thing I would be worried about are the people that they might interact with online. But if you haven't explained to them that are people in the world that would like to hurt them, and that they need to be careful in who they trust, then they're not equipped to walk down to the cornerstore, let alone do anything else.
    So the same basics that apply to the real world apply online. And please don't rob your children of a chance to mature in a healthy, human, responsible manner. If you're going to worry about anything, get on them about their grades, try to interest them in science, art, nature, etc.
    If they want to look at pictures of naked chicks, or read about guns, drugs, whatever, don't sweat it. ( hell, the eleven year old is probably just looking up pictures of guy/girl he/she thinks is cute/smart/cool/whatever and doesn't want dad to know because he/she's embarrassed ). In my opinion, expose children to the world, let them read, talk to them, and most of all : tell and show them what you think, and then let them make up their own minds.

  • Re:Trust them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:35AM (#7484906)
    I totally agree with you!!!

    I am only a teen-ager myself, yet my parents put forth there rules in a way that let me scrape my knees before i hit adulthood. I needed some freedom to experience things and decide if things were right or wrong for myself, not for my parents or any other influencing person in my life. This in return gave me a respect for my parents, making me want to obey there wishes of not viewing wrong material.

    I speak for myself only now, I am sure that plenty of teen-agers in the world are going to get all over me for stating these things, because if some parents read this it might influence them. But I'm stating my beliefs...after all isn't that what /. is for.
  • Re:Trust them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jucius Maximus (229128) <zyrbmf5j4x@snRED ... com minus distro> on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:37AM (#7484923) Homepage Journal
    "And if you're really worried about them finding bad stuff on the internet, why don't you take the slightly longer and harder route of actually educating your kids so they know why it is you would rather they didn't browse certain types of site, and let them browse them to get out the initial curiosity, and then you'll find that they won't bother because they're only interested in 'evil sites' because they're forbidden and they don't know enough about them. Forbidden + mysterious = surefire failure at what you're trying to do."

    Exactly right. I'm in university now but I've had a computer in my own room since I was maybe 12 or 13, although we didn't have internet access back then. My parents did a good job of impressing the right values onto me so I would be able to tell good from bad and right from wrong. Once you've got that taken care of, then you're basically coasting and it's hard for you or your kids to build up momentum in the wrong direction.

    I damn well did look at pr0n out of curiosity but once the overall rush/thrill of it all gets past you, it's nothing special. Having a real girl/boyfriend is (probably*) a lot better than pr0n. I barely ever fire up the browser and get pr0n anymore because I don't have a reason to do it. And whether I like it or not I did end up having similar morals to my parents and I never, ever, did anything that was truly 'bad' related to the internet. I was never strictly supervised or watched over - it was simply good traditional parenting that set me on the right path.

    Giving the kids the morals to make their own decisions is important because they have to learn how to make their own judgements and opinions. If you make all the decisions for them and control them at every turn, you'll just push them into more underground ways of doing what every teen does and probably contort their viewpoints.

    So what am I trying to say? Here it is: You can and should teach them how to navigate as best you can. But only by letting them truly do it themselves will they develop conscience and maturity.

    My yougest sibling has been on the internet since she was 6 or so but I know she will not get into any trouble. Our parents and I put the smarts and values into her so she doesn't act stupidly without micromanagement from others. A guiding, watchful person is necessary. Not a person who acts as a surrogate conscience and brain.

    (he steps down from the pulpit)

    *As a regular slashdot reader, I was obligated to add 'probably' to that sentence.

  • by segphault (724325) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:39AM (#7484934)
    When I was a kid, my parents were more concerned with my awareness of the fact that internet information can be misleading and incorrect.

    I briefly went through a stage where the sudden availability of contraban information was a novelty, and I eagerly accumulated a stockpile of useless drivel from the 'anarchists cookbook' and similar web publications, but when I realized that my parents really didnt care, I lost interest.

    The web can be extremely useful and informative, and the nature of the content that teenagers view is very much an extension of their level of maturity. My parents didnt establish any rules, and as long as my school work got done, the internet connection was mine to do with as I pleased as long as I wasnt doing anything illegal.

    What finallly caused me to forsake the infantile obsession with contraban material was the discovery of content really worth exploring. When I discovered project gutenberg, I chose to spend my time reading classics online rather than doing something silly and unproductive.

    The advice I have to give is this: parents who want their children to browse the web responsibly should help their children find good web sites with meaningful content that can help them expand their interests. As soon as something interesting and productive becomes available, most people lose interest in something that is purportedly 'taboo'.

    Additionally, if you stress that certain content is associated with social stigma, it is almost definitely going to arouse curiousity. Parents who want to discourage their children from viewing pornographic content should explain to their children the nature of real, meaningful, intrapersonal relationships, and let them see for themselves that pornographic content is a perversion, and an assanine waste of time.

    Parents who want to provide their children with good internet resources that will help kids expand intellect and interests include:

    http://ibiblio.org/
    http://lii.org/
    http://h2g 2.com/
    http://www.everypoet.com/
    http://gutenber g.net/
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:39AM (#7484936)
    Therefore, I reciprocated the same level of respect back onto them.

    I am given complete privacy with my own computers as I have demonstrated a level of maturity required to be able to handle such a responsibility.

    I look at porn. So what?

    I know parents who treat their kids like dirt and deny them every freedom, as if they (the parents) were Hitler. Their kids hate their parent's guts and look forward to going onto college to get the hell away from their homes.

    I know one kid who is so oppressed that he contemplated finding ways to kill or at least seriously harm his parents. We talked him out of it to a point where he is going to just frame his mom for some crime (well, she deserves it) when he goes to college (on scholarships, just to show the independence he has from his parents).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:42AM (#7484955)
    While I do understand that you feel compelled to restrict your childrens access to information , I think it is dam stupid .
    1)If you are worried about pornography ; dont be . Pornography is out there. If they really want porn they dont have to realy on the internet to get it . Although it can be an excellent money saver ;-)
    2)Open door policy? A lot of what people do on the internet can be compared to mail , and telephone of past . Unless you think all parents should read there childrens mail and tap there phones (Note : May be illegal to do that) then let them have some privacy
    ) Children are people as well . You have no right to limmit there access to information.
    )Any rules are stupid. At one point in my child hood (not to long ago) my parents attempted to restrict what I did on the computer and when I could . This simply resulted in me putting a BIOS password on the machine (pre-emptively) and sneeking around the rules . It also resulted in anything they wanted to do with/ask me meeting with stiff resistance. E.g. "How was school?" , "I'm not telling you" .I think I also locked my self in the bathroom for a couple of hours when the first told me.I also contemplated do a lot of stuff that should not be mentioned in public forums. To be honest I was obsessed with computers (school wasnt working so well for me , and the computer was my escape).

    In response to your meta-question . Yes and no . You seem like a fairly up tight over protective sort of person ; as sutch if I were your child there is no way in hell I'm telling you WTF I was doing on the computer .
  • Ask slashdot.. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by euxneks (516538) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:43AM (#7484957)
    Isn't this something that Slashdot should not be attempting to answer? How many of the slashdot readers can say that they are successfully raising a child? How many can say to this parent what they did correctly?

    Personally, I wouldn't consult slashdot for anything family related. I think it's just plain silly to ask a bunch of nerds and geeks like me about how to raise your kid. It's like asking your kids what you should do with their computer.

    This is not an appropriate ask slashdot topic.
  • by malkavian (9512) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:44AM (#7484967) Homepage
    Now there's nothing wrong with your view of loving someone for more than thier body..
    However, that does kinda enter the equation somewhere...
    Half of the fun of being with someone is purely abstract and emotional.
    The other half is purely physical.
    Like most things, a balance gives you the best all round view of things. A rigid adherance to a particular view only prevents you seeing things that may be of use.
    However, if you're happy with missing out on a particular view of life, then, nobody should try and force you into an uncomfortable position about it.
    Porn and the various texts on sex (which have been around since time immemorial, Kama Sutra et. al.) help provide pointers, and commentaries on experience that are designed to heighten the physical pleasure you experience with a partner.
    How you choose to maintain a partner (be it on an hourly paid, nightly stand, weekly fling, or lifetime of marriage) is part of the emotional side.
    Personally, I'd prefer the lifetime bit. Gives you time to really get to know how to push someone's buttons,and the other way round (for the better). However, it rarely works on the first try.
    I do kind of take exception to calling them 'Dirty Images' though.
    Unless of course, they're actually physically stained.
    Smutty, sure. Erotic, absolutely.
    I've read my share of Porn in my time, and not one gal that I've ever dated has come away with the idea that she's merely been an 'object'.
    And none of them were.
    I see no value in your premise that reading Porn devalues people. Only emotional conditioning can do that. And that's completely independant of any pictures/videos you may watch.
    What it DOES desensitise you to though, is the taboo surrounding sex, and makes you more able to function without blushing in conversations about it (trust me, I still do to this day sometimes!).
    Porn is sex. Pure and simple, with the element of emotion removed.
    Just as old romance novels are emotion, pure and simple, with all sex and physical removed.
    Opposite ends of the spectrum.
    somewhere in the middle, with a knowledge of both sides of the coin, I think you have a chance for a truly deep and meaningful, and highly physically active life.

    As a note, to make this relevant to the main topic.. Teach your kids that people think and feel the same way they do. They're not alone, and neither is the world there merely to be their toy to be used and thrown away.
    Basically, be a good, old fashioned parent. Do your best for them in whatever way you can.
    Firm but fair.
    And teach them to think for themselves.
    Once you do that, they'll be a LOT safer when they do get alone on the net, in the street, or anywhere, as they inevitably will.
    And try not to think of this as anything new. for generations, parents have been trying to find ways of stopping children seeing or doing things they don't want them to..
    Libraries, and bookstands, and holes to peep through have been around for just as long, and kids will be curious..

    Parenting isn't a cut and dry thing. It's the one thing your parents never taught you, but one of the things they gave you a pattern to work with.
    You sound a decent kinda person, to even be asking these questions..
    So why not treat your kids in the same manner your folks treated you, when you went skulking around, and trying to do things behind your folks back without them knowing?
  • by be-fan (61476) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:47AM (#7484993)
    Yes! Protect them from virtual dangers (those scary pixels!) by beating them!
  • Re:Trust them (Score:2, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:57AM (#7485059) Homepage Journal
    I agree wholeheartedly. Personally, I plan to make my kids - should I ever have any - aware that I'll be logging everything they do on their computer until the day that they move out, and if they want to move out before they're 18, they have to become emancipated, which I will cheerfully assist them with. But the fact is that you are responsible for their actions. If the RIAA sues your 14 year old, they're really suing you. If your kid commits a computer crime, and you are slack about monitoring them, then you are an accessory, especially if you provided them the equipment and the connection.

    Now, there's plenty of things that I might not like that I might catch them doing on the internet, which I would not scold them for, some of which might even put me in danger legally, because I feel they ought to be able to make some of their own judgements. But knowing these things will allow you to steer them in the proper direction.

    The most important job any parent will have is just that - parenting. Your greatest responsibility is to provide useful guidance to your child so they can grow up into the kind of adult you wish you could be, and do all the things that they want to do; part of your job is to make sure they don't want to do things that hurt people, but other than that, you should empower them whenever possible.

  • Re:Trust them (Score:2, Insightful)

    by teval (683486) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:59AM (#7485069)
    As a kid of 16 myself, and an honour student, probably a geek too, I agree.
    Except for the drugs part, I don't intend to ever try that. I appreciate the freedom I get, and the fact that I can do anything on my computer that I want to (I have control of root anyway, so no way to check, heh)
    Noone's ever tried to check, and I think this has made me more responsible then having someone over my shoulder telling me to not do things.

    And yes.. I have been caught by a parent walking into my room while I was watching porn, and I don't think it's abnormal for kids my age to do it (quite the opposite)
    I have lived in a household in which I had my internet access logged at the gateway. I can tell you it's quite annoying. Though.. it's very simple to circumvent. Use a p2p program if you really want restricted files. :)

    The trend I've seen is this:

    Parents that are strict on rules tend to break
    their own rules a lot and go back on their word. This is definitely not the right message to send to a kid. Usually prompts the kids to lie a lot, and to be careless.

    Parents which allow their kids more freedom, but expect a lot (like the previous poster pointed out) usually instill responsibility. I just feel bad doing certain things... so I don't do them, not because there is a rule against it.

  • Now look here (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Tyro (247333) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @01:02AM (#7485087)
    The guy made a statement about his control of the home network. You responded by personally attacking him, basically calling him a tight-assed bastard... shame on you. He makes a VERY important point... his hardware, his electricity, his rules; I happen to think he's got every right to do this.

    Here's a point you're missing; he's responsible for that network.

    That's right... his house, his hardware, his electricity, HIS RESPONSIBILITY, including legally. The last thing I want is the RIAA/MPAA/FBI coming to my door because I gave my teen a little too much freedom on his computer. How many thousands did that little girl's mother have to pay because she was downloading music? I know you know the story I'm talking about, discussed ad nauseum here on Slashdot.

    I have no problem letting my kids learn. I let them fall, skin their knees (my wife has a little trouble with this), even occasionally burn themselves, after all, the two best teachers are pain and loss of money. What I will not do is sit back while they fill their minds with stuff they may or may not be ready to handle, or while they get chatted up by some pedophile. And don't even give me that "you're just a paranoid old man" crap... Until you've done the number of sexual assault exams I have (including pediatric), you can sit down and be quiet.

    My kids have met "big brother," and he is me. I'm not overprotective, just watchful. If I see them access something inappropriate, I may not say anything; I may just watch to see what they do. They best measure of your personal ethos and integrity is what you do when you think nobody is watching.

    Once your kids have proven themselves, consider turning them loose... but trust is EARNED, folks.

  • Re:Trust them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Penguin's Advocate (126803) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @01:07AM (#7485116)
    When I was younger (age 11 thru 17) and still lived with my parents, they didn't have rules about the internet. I was the one who signed us up for an internet connection with my dad's credit card at age 11 (AOL 1.0...what a mistake that turned out to be...). Prior to that I had used the internet on my grandfather's 286 clone with dos and a 1200baud modem (seperate modems for data and fax). I was the one who from age 11 to age 13 kept upgrading my parents computer and modem. I have had several computers in my room since I was 9. I built my first computer, a 486, when I was 10 in 1994. I have built every computer I, my parents, my siblings, or most of my reletives have had since then. I convinced my parents at age 14 to get (non-AOL) dsl. I bought all the network equipment. I built the router (a bunch of garbage, quite literally, running linux) that ran continuously without any downtime whatsoever from then until I left for college 4 years later and bought my parents a wireless router as a parting gift. It was me, at age 14 running cat5 all over my house. It way my parents house, and their connection, but It was MY router and MY network and MY computers that they were were using. I read the logs, I knew where everyone went. And they had no idea, nor did they really care because my parents trust me, and guess what, I'm perfectly fine. I'm 19 now. I bought a house. (it was 100 years old, I gutted and rebuilt the entire thing myself, plumbing, electric, carpentry, sheetrocking, trim, everything, in 3 months). And now I have MY house, MY connection, MY network, and MY router and MY computers, and you know what? It's no different from when I lived at home. I'm independent, I'm halfway done with a BS in computer science at Renselaer Polytechnic Institute. I'm doing great, and I'm "only" 19. And the best part? It wasn't hard at all. I think it's total bull that a "kid" at 15 shouldn't be expected to be able to deal with the real world. I think it's a crock that people must be sheltered from reality for the first 18 years of their lives. If you don't expect responsibilty from a person who is 17, or even 13 or 14, why the hell should you expect it when they turn 18? There's no magic that happens between the last day of being 17 and the first day of being 18. It's not being 18 that makes you an adult. It's responsibility that makes you an adult. There are plenty of people who are legal "adults" who are most definitely not adults. I think people need to realize that humans are not equations and that numbers don't necessarily mean a damn thing. I'm sorry if I sound like I'm bragging at all in this, but I'm no super-genius or rich-beyond-the-need-for-intelligence guy. I'm just another "kid". I wasn't the top of my class in highschool, nor the second or even third (etc), and I damn sure ain't the top of my class in college (tho I'm not far). My father's a fireman, and my mom doesn't work, and I've got 3 (not so)little bro's. I consider myself average, and from that baseline I'm shocked at how few parent's trust their children, and even more shocked at how many children seriously don't deserve their parent's trust. The things people do to their children/parents/each other piss me off to no end. Ok, I guess I could probably go on for hours, but I have projects to be working on, so I'll leave you with that and this: In my opinion one should be expected to act and be responsible for themselves as an adult at age 13. I think the only reason this isn't currently the case is that not much is currently expected from parents or children, and that is a sad, almost sickening, reality.
  • Re:Trust them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Max Threshold (540114) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @01:17AM (#7485182)
    You can't let the law dicate your morals and ethics.
  • Re:Trust them (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 16, 2003 @01:17AM (#7485189)
    I know many people with children. The ones that everyone HATES for them to bring their kids around do not WATCH what the children do. They let them RUN rampent all over and do whatever they want. The children run the house. They act like animals.

    The ones people dont mind if they are around are polite, funny, charming, and know whats right and wrong. They act like real people. They KNOW the boundries. They also KNOW those boundries are backed up.

    Now I am sure both sets of kids dont like ANY sort of control. But of the two sets which ones do you want around? People who know you do not steal. You do not run around yelling at the top of your lungs. You do not sulk when it doesnt go your way. Or would you want that sort of person around?

    Sitting down and talking to them is good. But there is a difference between theory and practice. Like I know that gotos are bad to use. Yet I use them for things every day.

    You give them enough rope so they can peek at the bad stuff and KNOW what the right thing to do is. But how will you teach them the right thing if you just turn away and cover your eyes like nothing is wrong? Learning to be a person is a lifelong process. You do not learn it in a couple of days like ridding a bike.

    You do not have to teach people how to be bad. They KNOW how to do that. You have to teach them to be good. Children learn from their parents. If they know you will be quite angry if you find out they are doing something bad. They will not do it as much. People are creatures of habit. If they get in the habit early of not looking at that sort of thing they will not do it when they are older. Let me take it back to your bicycle example. You taught them how to balance. But lets say you did not do that. They would have to figure it out all by themselves. Would they still do it, or would they give up and not ride at all?

    Both sets of parents above think they are doing the right thing. But I know who I want to be around.
  • by King_TJ (85913) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @01:18AM (#7485190) Journal
    I disagree, actually. As a kid/teen growing up, one of the most important things to me was having a little space I had some control over. Sure, my folks had the "nice, big" TV set out in the living room - and so I often came out there to watch movies or really good TV shows that were on. But I wanted my own stereo, computer, and a few other items in my room.

    As I keep reminding people, they don't call them "personal computers" for nothing. The idea of some "shared, family computer system" basically sucks. Every time I see this scenario, everyone's unhappy with it. The parents are griping about not having time to use the computer themselves when they need it to do work (and they're often writing up silly charts telling everyone when their "computer time" begins and ends each day), and the kids are all trying to scrape together the money to buy their own system - so they can finally get free of having to use the shared machine.

    Even with just me and my wife trying to share a single computer, it didn't work out. I tried all the tools (such as Windows XP's support of multiple user profiles), but it's not the same. You get irritated at the things the other person fills your hard drive space with, or even the way they like the keyboard, monitor and mouse positioned on the desk.... I built my wife her own PC and it's the best money I've spent in a long time. Now we can play network games together once in a while if we want, and she's free to set her computer up any way she wishes (and same for me). Our daughter will definitely get her own computer as soon as she's old enough to get much use out of one.

  • Re:Trust them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Brandybuck (704397) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @01:21AM (#7485202) Homepage Journal
    Parents that are strict on rules ... Parents which allow their kids more freedom

    You need a balance between the two. And that balance can (and should) change according to the child's age.

    Adolescence is a rough time (ask any parent with one). Prior to this time, the child wants firm rules. It tells them that the world has order, and gives them a base of stability with which to explore the world. But adolescence is when the child turns into an adult. They need BOTH rules and permissions. Without rules they'll disrespect you. Too strict of rules and they'll chafe under your "tyranny".

    The adolescent is in the process of transferring your external rules into their own internal rules. Without them they'll wind up flailing around when they get out into the real world, which runs on rules. Too strict of rules and they'll reject them outright once they move out, and they'll still flail about trying to find their moral center.
  • by Rysc (136391) <sorpigal@gmail.com> on Sunday November 16, 2003 @01:27AM (#7485234) Homepage Journal
    The problem I have with your post, is that it implictly claims that Islam is evil.

    I do not agree. The poster was being ironic; the only people who say Hussein is evil are Bush and his cronies, usually as a backpeddling justification for murdering his kids.

    In reality nobody, or at least nearly nobody, is evil. Evil in the classic movie-villain sense is "I'm bad, and I like it." It's the antagonist dressed in black and torturing, killing, and maiming because he's *evil* and that's *just what he does*.

    In real life evil is harder to find. Real people generally consider themselves good. Bin Laden, for example, is clearly not evil. He is working from a dissagreeable (and one might even say faulty) perspective. Saddam Hussein is not evil, he has different priorities and (yes) different beliefs from we the observers. But I'm sure HE believes he is good and doing the right thing, at least most of the time.

    The poster was saying, I think, amounts to "What I do is evil? Funny, I don't feel evil." Or something like that.

    To get back on topic somewhat: Pornography is evil like Saddam is evil, which is to say it isn't. Hell, people can't even agree over whether pornograhy is *bad*, much less evil.

    In no way is any of the above commentary on Islam or any religion, except where it implicitly insults all christians. Didn't catch that? That's the trouble with implicit satements...
  • by 00420 (706558) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @01:30AM (#7485247)
    So, in that case, it can quite easily be classified as evil as it strictly deals with instant, responsibility free pleasure and not with the finer more complex points in life like relationships with other people (which is pretty much what life is all about).

    Maybe that's what your life is about, but not everybody's. Some people like porn (even women), others don't. And how can you possibly consider instant, responsibility free pleasure evil?
  • by Max Threshold (540114) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @01:30AM (#7485248)
    ...or maybe men just find it less objectionable when women look at the things that turn them on. Kind of like how fags are icky but lesbians are A-OK!
  • Re:Trust them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Deosyne (92713) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @01:44AM (#7485318)
    My daughter recently started preschool. Last week, her daily progress report listed that she wandered off a couple of times without permission, tried to con another kid out of his lollypop, and kept wanting to explore other aspects of the lessons being taught. However, she did receive glowing praise for being quiet when she was supposed to do so. I was torn between concern and pride, concern that my daughter may have inherited her old man's more devious traits and pride at realizing that she is already showing a remarkable aptitude at them. ;)

    Should my daughter someday learn to navigate networks undetected, I'll be a bit concerned about what sort of activities that she might be considering, knowing the possible reprocussions that are more prevalent today of those activities that provided a few chuckles for my friends and I and a bit of a headache for the phone company when I was younger. But at the same time, I will feel a measure of pride at her developing a skill that requires quite a bit of dedication, know-how, and guts to become proficient at. Just as I will concerning any skill that she might master that doesn't involve the consumption of other humans or the destruction of my toys.

    What you probably meant only in jest I actually find to be a possible aspiration, since as a parent I can only provide my daughter with knowledge, rudimentary experience, and my personal interpretation of right and wrong. Only when I see what she accomplishes using her own insights and self-reliance will I truly know the quality of my parenting. If that happens to be when she turns the networking world on its head by devising a methodology of navigating any network that she can access undetected, then so be it. :)
  • Re:Trust them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by megan_of_wutai (649071) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @01:45AM (#7485328) Homepage
    Unless your children are terminally stupid I doubt you have much to worry about, this kind of thing is usually self regulating. Porn for example, children too young to see it generally just think it's funny or gross (hell, at the age of 20 I almost universally feel the former, often hilarious) and by the time they get turned on by it what's the problem? Afraid that masturbation will make them go blind?

    Someone would have to be a complete idiot to do most of the stuff that can get someone in trouble on the net (with the exception of filesharing, but let's face it, most people doing that are over 18). Sadly of course most people, adults and children, are completely stupid. I propose a solution to this: stop idiots having computers.

    This "get out of my house if you want to do $thing" attitude has always pissed me off immensely, they *can't* get out of your house, they're not legally allowed to. Even if they were, society has gone around making age an eligibility requirement for independent living, try getting an apartment at 15 or 16, or a job. Stop acting like they have a choice.

    When will people learn that children are people too, and (most) can make sensible and mature choices given the chance, definately by the time they're into double figures. If your particular 16 year old keeps sticking their fingers into electrical outlets you might want to ask yourself who's fault that is.
  • Not at all. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Tyro (247333) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @01:45AM (#7485332)
    My wife is a consenting adult, whom I trust completely. That trust has been built over a period of years, and is mutual. Having spent birthdays, holidays, etc apart due to miltary duties for months and months, we've both had ample opportunity to violate our marriage vows, and we have not. She can be hard-core, and is more than able to take care of herself (I've watched her shoot guys down... brutal.) I would never snoop on my wife, because we have built up that trust, and because she is MORE than capable of thinking and reasoning for herself.

    That, my friend, is the difference between a consenting adult and a minor child. Why is there an age of consent? It's because younger children and teens generally don't have the ability, breadth of experience, or perspective to assent to certain activities. This is why slime like NAMBLA are so fundamentally wrong. A child cannot consent to activities like they advocate, because they cannot adequately appreciate and understand the ramifications of those activities.

    My wife is of the same mind on this matter, by the way. I prefer to think of myself as a watchful guardian rather than a "snoop" (it's all semantics anyway). If I'm not there to help them interpret what they see, then who will be? Who will love them enough to help them understand? Who will address the tough questions with them? (and thanks to open communication and a little technology, I'll be able to anticipate some of those critical conversations).

    It's all good, my young friend, and it's an absolutely beneficient effort with nothing less than their best interests at heart... A labor of love, if you will.

    It would be a lot easier for me to say "sure, go ahead and do whatever the hell you want..." but I love them too much to do that. They may not appreciate it at the time (I certainly didn't), but God willing, they may eventually come to be thankful for all those hours and all that effort.

    It took me until my late 20's to realize exactly how hard my parents had worked to make me a quality human being, and I feel that it's my parental obligation to return the favor with my own children.

    You may disagree, of course.

  • Re:Now look here (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Banjonardo (98327) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @01:46AM (#7485333) Homepage
    And the immediate counterargument: if you teach your children right, they WON'T do illegal crap. Do you trust them in a candy store? Then why shouldn't you trust them on the web? You have to teach them to use it respectfully, otherwise it will become, like alcohol or anything else, a focus and eventually an abuse.

    Don't tell me it's easier said than done. I'm 17, and I've had full access since we've had the internet. (four, five years ago.) I haven't done anything stupid yet.

    It's cause my parents talk to me about it and I respect it.

  • by Brandybuck (704397) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @01:48AM (#7485344) Homepage Journal
    Okay, get your flamethrowers ready, because Brandybuck the Prude is commenting...

    First, you have to make a distinction between erotica and pornography. Catching your kid reading Playboy is a much different thing than catching him reading a hardcore gay S&M mag. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not condemning homosexuality, kinky sex, or explicit depictions, but combine the three in an adolescent, and a loud klaxon should be going off in the worry center of your brain.

    Another distinction that needs to be made is between curiosity and voyeurism. Children in the throes of hormone overload are going to be curious. But if depictions of sexual acts are the only way they can masturbate, they've got some issues.

    But the above are really minor issues. The big problem with pornography is much subtler. It's the depiction of women as objects and sex as casual recreation. (this isn't limited to pornography, as we all know). A little exposure to pornography isn't going to harm your child. A lot of exposure, however, is going to teach them lessons you might not want taught.
  • Re:Now look here (Score:5, Insightful)

    by surprise_audit (575743) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @01:49AM (#7485347)
    Our main PC is in our living room, so anyone using it sits with their back to the room. My kids have never had a problem with that, because it's always been that way. The younger two (12 & 11) are only just old enough to be thinking about email and spend most of their time playing games. Their older sister (20) has a laptop in her room, but only because she got a job and bought it for herself to take to college.

    Having said that, if I thought we had a problem with inappropriate websites, for example, I'd put in a transparent proxy, check the logs from time to time, and block connections to really questionable sites. The younger kids would get "404 Not Found" and I'd blame the ISP... Same with filesharing, etc.

  • Re:Trust them (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cyberbob2010 (312049) <cyberbob2010@techie.com> on Sunday November 16, 2003 @01:55AM (#7485376) Homepage Journal
    unless it hurts the childs development and most parents who do not trust their children with the internet do not trust them in other areas either. This leads to a child who when it DOES come to their time to live their life and they jump into the world around them, they are completely unable to cope wioth reality and the world around them. I was sheltered till age 18 when I was thrown into society COMPLETELY unprepaired to live my life. "But parents have a right to raise their children as they see fit"?
    No, and I'm living proof of it.
  • Starting point: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BrokenHalo (565198) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @02:02AM (#7485413)
    excercise strength of will when up against a temptation that might be bad for them.

    The problem here is defining what is bad for someone. Here some simple guidelines are probably safest. Just about any healthy teenager is going to want to check out pornography at some point. To deny this is at best unrealistic or at worst an outright lie, and any kid with a normal quota of common sense is quite capable of perceiving that you are lying if you claim it's "bad" for them.

    I guess the thing is to not let any behaviour get obsessive. Sure, check your logs, but leave some leeway for exploration.

    Perhaps an injection of cynicism might help: educate your kids into asking themselves what people are asking of them.

  • Re:Trust them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cyberbob2010 (312049) <cyberbob2010@techie.com> on Sunday November 16, 2003 @02:02AM (#7485417) Homepage Journal
    I'm a perfect example of the forsaid statements.

    Until age 18 I was 100% monitored and controled by my parents. This included what books I read, what games I played, where I went and with whom. Now to a point this is acceptable, however most parents who are to afraid to allow their children to use the internet are going to be much to resrictive in other areas. Essentially, I was overprotected and when it came my time to live life, I was unprepaired. It was a damn good thing that I was tech savy enough to slip online at night between 12 and 6 in the morning or else I'd have ended up REALLY screwed up. Raising...no, FORCING your children to make the decisions that you deam to be right does not help them at all. It simply denies them the chance to experience true consequence, reality and human interaction - ALL of which they will need later in life. I'm living testament to this as are my little brother and sister. How do you expect children to be capable of living on their own at age 18 unless you give them the chance to make decisions and learn about life before hand when they ARE under your wing.

    As a last note - if you truly must keep them from doing something GIVE A REASON!!!

    speaking from a totally sociological point of view - middle class and upper middle class parents teach their children to obey so that they can fit into similar obedient positions in life. BECAUSE I SAY SO and BECAUSE IM THE ADULT, will do them no good in the future.
  • Re:lying (Score:4, Insightful)

    by WasterDave (20047) <davep AT zedkep DOT com> on Sunday November 16, 2003 @02:04AM (#7485426)
    Nah, that's bollocks. At one end of the spectrum you have a vast number of people with solid, dependable online porn habits - and proud of it. And at the other end of the spectrum are people who are unaware that there is porn, or indeed any other activities worth lying about on the Internet.

    Really. You may even know some of them.

    So, not everybody.

    Dave
  • Re:Trust them (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Catskul (323619) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @02:10AM (#7485456) Homepage
    I have nothing against liberals, but as long as we are pointing to dictionary definitions one looking for a less flattering defintion might also have scrolled farther down the dictionary.com page and found this one:

    6. Free to excess; regardless of law or moral restraint; licentious.
  • I'm surprised (Score:3, Insightful)

    by The Man (684) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @02:10AM (#7485458) Homepage
    It's fairly shocking how many people advocate monitoring, censorship, and shame as a substitute for guidance and teaching. The Internet is nothing new or special, it's just like everything else we have but more so. Your children can IM a friend, or they can call. They can send email, or they can write letters. They can download porn, or they can buy Hustler at the corner store. They can steal music on gnutella, or they can steal it from the record store. They can read subversive texts about drug use, rebellion, and weaponry by HTTP, or by the lights in the county library.

    Face facts: all of these things exist and are real. You cannot shield or shelter your children from anything that is real. Eventually they will come in contact with some or all of these "hidden, naughty, inappropriate" ideas, images, and contacts. So as a parent, you have a choice: you can teach them to think for themselves, and introduce them over time to some of these things, guiding them and helping them to develop their own ideas about ethics, morality, and justice. Or, you can try to shield them until they inevitably leave your care. This can succeed or fail; it's difficult to know which has worse consequences. In one case, you have a child - now an adult - still incapable of dealing with the world around him or her, frightened and vulnerable with no independent thinking ability. In the other, you have a child - now an adult - with an unhealthy fascination and/or shame at knowing the existence of these things. And since you've failed to shield them from this dangerous knowledge, they've acquired it instead from others - riddled no doubt with inaccuracies and colored by fear of discovery. Is that any way for a 25-year-old to live? This will be your child...

    In short, nothing on the Internet is any more or less dangerous than the real-world counterparts that so worried parents 20, 50, or 500 years ago. There's more of it, it's more accessible, and it's centralized. But there's nothing new here. Any parenting philosophy you have in the physical world can and should be applied as-is in the virtual world. And I hope for the sake of society and your own children's happiness that it's one of openness, honesty, and independence. Since nearly all children survive physically to adulthood today, your main function as a parent is to prepare your children mentally. Hiding reality will not serve them well.

  • Re:Now look here (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ddimas (629883) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @02:15AM (#7485483)
    Must be nice to have your children born at the age of thirty. The rest of us will keep an eye on the little tykes. BTW you can have a computer in your room when it's actually (according to the title deed) your room.

    Mom: What did I tell you.

    Child: You told me not to do that.

    Mom: Then why did you do that?

    Child: I don't know.

  • by Sean Clifford (322444) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @02:18AM (#7485500) Journal
    I agree, parents should be guides and not overlords. Not necessarily a kid's "buddy", but certainly a trusted person they can turn to. Discipline as needed for violating rules, but make sure the punishment fits the crime.

    I was online very early - starting with CompuServe in 1984 when we rotated back to the States. At home and a buddies house with Commodores, Tandys, and an Apple II. We hacked everything we could and yeah, ultimately got busted by the MIBs who (fortunately) just gave us a warning. ASCII pr0n wasn't exactly what the doctor ordered, so the magazine variety had to suffice. I BBSed with a bunch of other folks, met a bunch of folks online - some I met IRL, others not.

    The big bad Internet is just one of a myriad of tools that people use to communicate. It's replaced the phone for most teens I know. What you do online does not necessarily reflect who you are or what you're going to be. I remember folks spewing warnings about the evil of AD&D when I was a teen, the total overcompensation for it and raid of my personal library, the destruction (at a book burning sponsored by the Catholic Church) of 2 years of gaming notes and characters and worldbuilding and books. All in the name of "protecting me" from an evil influence. I think a lot of parents act *exactly* the same way about computing and the Internet.

    My parents trusted me; every now and then I betrayed that trust and did something incredibly stupid and dangerous and was punished for it if I got caught. The majority of the time I did get caught. As a general rule, I followed my parents' guidelines. I didn't consider them unreasonable. I think I turned out okay so far: love my IT job, happy with my $, happy with my friends & family.

    I smoked cigarettes, I drank alcohol. It was another time (I graduated from HS in '87) and we spent my early adolescence stationed in Spain - 3 years. Alcohol was freely available, I had a lot of money (for a junior high and high school kid) from various entrepreneurial activities. My buddies and I ate breakfast in a neighborhood bar before school and had a few beers there and played video games after school. When I got back to the States I got in trouble for both smoking and drinking, but my parents blew it off - they'd rather have me drinking at home under supervision than binging at some party. I learned moderation from my Mom.

    As a parent, you certainly can shape the kind of person your kid is going to be - for good and for ill. But you are not the only influence on their life and certainly in adolescence aren't the most important one - not to them anyway.

    The best thing you can do is spend time with your kids; I'm not talking hours and hours of mutually boring 'hanging out' or Interrogation 101. But spend some quality time with them, even if it's just a few minutes a day, to ask how they are, how stuff is going. Not a quiz on what they're learning, but ask them about stuff they're interested in - things important to them, how they fit in at school, gauge how happy or bummed they are, etc. Don't be all judgemental or you'll lose a fragile rapport.

    In other words, treat them like a human fucking being and SHOW them you respect them by listening to them. You don't have to agree with them, just *listen*. Mete out discipline as needed.

    Of course, the shoe is on the other foot too.

  • Re:Now look here (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SlamMan (221834) <squigit@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Sunday November 16, 2003 @02:19AM (#7485501)
    You've got to be kidding. No matter how well you raise your kids, they'll always do something your disapprove of either from the "testing the boundries" side, or the "being a dumb kid" side.
  • Re:Not at all. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MunchMunch (670504) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @02:25AM (#7485545) Homepage
    I think you might still be missing the point. The best way to get your kids to act like adults is to treat them like adults. That includes giving them the benefit of the doubt for their conduct, as such treatment is a fundamental staple of adult-to-adult respect.

    Yeah, its tough. No parent who loves their child will easily let go of the control that producing that child seems to give them (which borders on ownership in many cases). Your kids are going to do things you don't want them to. But that is the price of being a parent, and you should remember that for kids to become adults, they can't be fed double standards about responsibility, which require them to be responsible for obligations and actions but not allow them the benefits of true recognition and reasonable deference to individuality.

    That is certainly how a Constitutional privacy exists, but to suggest that it 'must be earned' is to get the cart before the horse, as true adults are assumed to have privacy implicitly and it must be proven that they have potentially done wrong to violate that. And to deny your children that through nosy and intrusive snooping, whatever euphamism you use, is to demean your children in the face of their own development and to counteract your own goal of producing a responsible adult individual.

    Certainly, if a child is violating a set of rules of moral conduct, it may be reasonable to place limits on their internet. But that should not be looked for, as though the child was a potential criminal. If, however, a child is violating a set of arbitrary rules in place to make the parent feel 'in control', I'm much less sympathetic to the parent. Kids may not 'be' adults, but I fail to see how denying them accepted adult human rights is going to help them become adults.

  • by rossz (67331) <ogre@@@geekbiker...net> on Sunday November 16, 2003 @02:27AM (#7485563) Homepage Journal
    Saddam Hussein is not evil, he has different priorities and (yes) different beliefs from we the observers.
    So you're saying that someone who engages is mass murder, mass torture, the use of weapons of mass destruction against his own people, and so on is not evil, just misunderstood?

    Are you on drugs or are you a complete fucking moron? Which one? Both?

    Oh, and for your information, Bin Laden is evil too. As is anyone who purposely targets civilians. Yes, that makes the IRA evil, too.

  • by incom (570967) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @02:29AM (#7485579)
    I contest that Donald Rumsfeld IS pure evil. You just have to look at ANY video with him in it and you can tell. You can see how he is drunken with power, and insane with his own ego. I'm no Bush basher like some, he's an OK guy, but Rummy is SATAN! And before you troll me, please actually look at a video clip of him.
  • Re:Trust them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Psarchasm (6377) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @02:34AM (#7485606) Homepage Journal
    That's a terrible analogy. my dad gave me a cigarette when i was like 12, and i coughed for like 15 minutes. There was no way anyone could ever talk me into smoking a cigarette after that.

    I plan on drinking my kid's first beers with them, and i plan on smoking the first joint with them as well. Both are very dangerous, but also quite normal and socially acceptable in moderation. similarly, it would be wise to talk openly with children about sex and sexuality (both must be done carefully of course) because if my kid is gonna be a perv, i would rather know about it than have him hide it and end up being a murderer/rapist because of pent up sexual frustration and aggression.


    Your right that is a terrible analogy. My mom laid out a pack in front of me at 10... I smoked five of them... got nice and sick. Now at 33 I smoke 5 a day (after going through my stint of 15 years of a half a pack to two packs a day).

    Its all about timing. At 9 years old I didn't know shit from shinola. It was a stupid age for my parents to try to keep me from doing something (especially using that lame tactic). No, I didn't smoke for another 5 years, but I got around to it because my friends were doing it, and my father did it.

    That said... My kid is 6 (almost 7) and I just recently put an aged 350Mhz G4 in his room (nice 15" Apple Flat Screen (Boy, when I was your age we had 40 colums, and we LIKED it!))

    The computer, much like the television, is here to stay. I for one want my kids to be comfortable using the computer from the get go. And like the television, my kids use of the computer has rules attached to it (btw, no TV in the room, just the computer... and snake... and skink... sigh.) I don't log what my kids do and I'm hoping never to need to. Parenting isn't about spying for me. Its about teaching my kids right from wrong. Making them understand boundaries they set for themselves, and ones soiciety sets for them. Rules and morals... tough fucking job... I can certainly undestand why some parents might log, even if I don't agree with it.

    My kids will eventually find pornography online. But through diligent effort on mine and my wifes behalf I'm confident we can keep them from getting to it through rules and personal watchdogging until we have a chance to teach them and watch them learn about love, desire, respect, sex, and general intrapersonal relationships.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 16, 2003 @02:35AM (#7485616)
    I'm sure we'll get the entire spectrum of views on parenting here. Everyone wants to convince everyone else that their approach (or their parent's approach) is the best/worst/whatever.

    Let me jump in, then ;)

    So my parents robbed me of my Human Right to Rebellion. Any time I tried something "forbidden," they merely co-opted it, and took the thrill out of it.

    Starting with building fires (as an eight year old), I was given full permission to build fires, with a few constraints. Dad taught me how to kindle a good blaze with only a single match and twigs. While I wasn't strictly forbidden from using paper, lighter fluid, plastic, or candles, they were regarded as being beneath contempt. I wasn't going to stoop to that level. Not even to shock my parents. Well, with all that, I had to give up my dream of becoming an arsonist.

    So I got caught sneaking some wine a few years later. So Dad split a beer with me. Not long after, he mixed up some martinis. Did I want to drink? OK. I could, but it had to be at home, or I had to promise to call for a ride home if I were somewhere else. That was much too reasonable to rebel against, and, to this day, I have failed to be an alcoholic.

    Then I wanted to stay out late with friends, or on a date, or something. This was the clincher -- I knew they couldn't come up with a reasonable way of relinquishing control. But they did. OK. I could do it. They were counting on me to be responsible, not get arrested, not get anyone pregnant, not get in trouble. But if I did, I shouldn't hesistate to call on them, and they'd pay my bail, rescue me, or do what they could to help out. Damn! Defeated again.

    Then again, I had a college friend whose father used to beat him with a heavy oak dowell anytime he ever broke a rule. Now there was a kid who didn't know the meaning of "limits" when it came to drinking, smoking dope, and getting in trouble. Still, he got it out his system, and today we're pretty much both responsible (hah!) citizens. So ya never know.
  • educate them... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 16, 2003 @02:35AM (#7485620)
    Suggest appropriate behaviour, and the consequences of poor behaviour while using the tool, and let them make their own decisions. They will satisfy *any* curiosity regardless of what restrictions you think are worth implementing. Let them be free.
  • by Pollux (102520) <speter AT tedata DOT net DOT eg> on Sunday November 16, 2003 @02:39AM (#7485635) Journal
    I've known them all, and honor students, giften musicians and (in Canada) Air/Army/Sea Cadets or Boy/Girl scouts get just as drunk and have just as much sex as every other teenager.

    Then I guess you don't know me yet. Honest to goodness Eagle Scout, musician, and now I can add teacher to the list.

    and you have to accept the fact that they WILL try drinking,


    Tried it. Age 19. Didn't like it.
    Tried it again. Age 21. Liked it only for social occasions.
    Still haven't ever been drunk.

    they WILL have sex

    Nope. In a relationship right now, and I'm waiting. One of the things I learned from my family was to let love grow rather than just make it.

    and chances are they will try drugs

    Got me there. Cafeene, all the way.

    These are just things kids do in high school, and your restrictivness and controlling attitude may actually encourage these things to happen.

    Yea, and look where it got me now. Professional teacher in a foreign country. What a waste of a life, huh?
  • Re:Trust them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jfmiller (119037) * on Sunday November 16, 2003 @02:41AM (#7485648) Homepage Journal
    Greatings Parrent of 4,

    I have no children of my own, but I get to meet yours when they go to college. Working as a campus chaplin, I get to see the results of may different up bringings in the real world. When your 4 kids go off to college, you are not longer be able to protect your gifted eagle scout honor student. With luck they will find a good group of friends some of whom have seen a lot more of the world then an eagle scout project and the subject of which p0rn site is the best will come up over a coffee.

    On the other hand I've met far to many very bright university students who spend ther first year in the dorms with a roommate who just cant wait to rush Alpha Banga Bimbo or Omega Hunka Guy. The moral delima here is whether or not to tell you, there prud of a parent, that your going to be a grandparent sooner then you thought.

    I spent way more of my time then I think is good, helping college student come to grips with real world issues that should have been part of their upbringing. I spend a lot of time trying to convence emancipated eagle scouts and gifted musicicians that freedom from mom and dad means not only being able to make their own choices but having to find their own morals. For far to many there parents were far to oppressive to allow for moral development and once out of the parrents are out of the picture, young adults often experence freshman wiplash.

    The good news is that most student recover by the time they get to be juniors and may even call home on the weakends their third year, just hope its not to ask for help with their kids.

    JFMILLER
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 16, 2003 @02:43AM (#7485657)
    About the point you make about your kids being capable of having those conversations at your own level:
    Teenagers often seem like they think they're smarter than their parents. Realistically, they probably are. Woh hold on fogie, back off the keys and let me finish:
    You have experience, they have a young mind runnin at full steam (assuming they aren't dumbed down by ADHD "cures"). Play them at chess, and watch how quickly they learn to beat you.

    Ahem, the lesson is. Teach them your experience, but understanding they aren't 3 anymore and they deserve the same explanation you do. Not only that, but they have the same bullshit filters you do. Yes, they won't believe things until you prove them now. "Because I said so" loses all meaning at about the age of 12, when they start learning how to avoid you.
  • Re:Trust them (Score:2, Insightful)

    by darco (514434) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @02:55AM (#7485704) Homepage Journal
    Ouch. That's kinda harsh.

    I've given this issue a lot of thought, and this is my plan: Let then onto the internet whenever they can articulate a desire for it in a convincing manner(Probably around 7 or 8). At that point, I will inform them of the following:
    1) his/her access to the internet is limited to specific times during the day. These time will be enforced at the router.
    2) his/her access will be limited to the WWW via a proxy. All other ports will be blocked.
    3) his/her access to the internet will be filtered.
    4) His/her access will be logged, and I will personally review the logs every day.
    5) Internet access is a privilege. If he/she is grounded, then he/she will be disconnected from the internet at the router.

    This may sound really harsh, but keep in mind that they are just 7 or 8 years old. As the get older, these restrictions will be relaxed. ie: At some point, I would stop filtering, but keep logging (and they would know when this would happen). Also, at some point after this I would stop logging, reserving the right to resume logging if I had probable cause to do so. Eventually the time restriction would also removed.

    As with asking for the internet, access to stuff other than the WWW via a proxy will be granted whenever he/she can articulate his/her desire to use other services (and he/she will have to explicitly ask for which service they want to use)

    By the age of 16, assuming they aren't grounded, they will pretty much have full access (Well, not quite full access. :P) to the local network and the internet, un-logged. If my child ever gives me a reason to suspect their on-line conduct as something that is either 1) illegal, or 2) harmful to themselves or others, I will log the connection. My child should also be confident that I will not log them unless they give me a reason (via their conduct) to do so.

    I think that this policy is quite reasonable, as long as you reserve the right to pull the plug at any time.

    I don't like the idea of lying to my children, ie: saying that I won't log, and then start logging away. I don't think that it makes you a very good role model if you do this. If you set up a system of rules as a parent, then you must abide by them as much as your children should. Anything else reeks of hypocrisy. Not that that is what you are proposing, but I just wanted to say that because it has been stated elsewhere.
  • by ddimas (629883) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @02:57AM (#7485712)
    In reality nobody, or at least nearly nobody, is evil. Evil in the classic movie-villain sense is "I'm bad, and I like it." It's the antagonist dressed in black and torturing, killing, and maiming because he's *evil* and that's *just what he does*.

    Actually the truly evil person just wants what s/he wants and doesn't much care about what anyone else feels about it.

    If you want to know why pornography is evil then just think about it from the point of view of the photographic objects. Imagine that was you, how degraded would you feel if you were the subject of those pictures. What kind of psycological defences would you have to put up just to get up in the morning? Kind of makes you understand why so many people in the porn industry are addicts doesn't it?

    As for Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden, they are actually perfect examples of evil men, and Saddam has been known to execute the occasional relative himself, they are selfish, uncaring about others welfare, and malevolent. But then again, so is George W. Bush.

    One last thing, every monster in history Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Napolean, Attila the Hun, Gengis Kahn, John Dillinger, Julius Ceaser, all of them, could honestly say that they didn't feel evil. Many of them felt that they were engaged in a noble enterprise. This is called self-delusion.

  • Re:Not at all. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dreadnougat (682974) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @03:00AM (#7485725)
    "The best way to get your kids to act like adults is to treat them like adults." Read that over: they are kids, and not adults. Treating them like adults? Is the best way to teach a kid to drive sticking them in a car by themselves and telling them you just need it by the time you have to leave for work? Of course not. You sit beside them when they start learning to drive. You tell them when they make a mistake. You let them know when they're not slowing down fast enough. A kid is a kid because they are not an adult yet. That's what a kid is. You have to treat a kid... like a kid! " to deny your children that through nosy and intrusive snooping, whatever euphamism you use, is to demean your children in the face of their own development and to counteract your own goal of producing a responsible adult individual." They are not adults. You can't assume that you've done everything right. You know why the law will hold you responsible for your childs actions? Because it's your job to make sure that they don't go down the wrong path. (Downloading music off Kazaa, perhaps? Oops, didn't know they were doing that 'cause I wasn't checking - I thought (s)he was responsible!) You should certainly give them all the rights they can handle. But you shouldn't assume they can handle them all...
  • Re:Trust them (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Phleg (523632) <stephen@touset. o r g> on Sunday November 16, 2003 @03:12AM (#7485770)
    I'm in the same boat as the poster above. I'm 19, recently in college, and my parents took the same approach. They were involved in my life, but not restrictive. They taught me values, but they didn't enforce them on me. They expected me to make mistakes, and I did. In fact, they let me. And in the end, I had to accept the consequences of those mistakes.

    I looked at porn, and my dad knew about it. He even let me know that it was perfectly alright and natural--everyone does it at that age. It'd be weird *not* to.

    It seems I've turned out alright. I have roughly the same values as my parents, and I don't at all feel that they were imposed upon me. I'm carrying a 3.84GPA at my university, am triple majoring, am a Junior after a full year, am participating in Model UN, and I've founded a campus political organization. I've been a network administrator for a small company for five years. I haven't drank or done drugs, because neither actually interest me. I've also learned to respect the dangers and responsibility involved in sex, and have chosen to hold off until I can afford the possible consequences. Frankly, if that's not turning out pretty good, I don't know what is.

    The reason behind all this is that my parents trained me to be an adult, like the above poster said. Obviously, not everyone can be treated exactly the same way--everyone is different. But I am a firm believer that a more relaxed approach that teaches your child rather than protects him/her is far more effective.
  • by LX.onesizebigger (323649) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @03:19AM (#7485798) Homepage

    Automatic filtering and even surveillance is not about taking responsibility; it's about enforcement of rules. Law enforcement already takes care of that part. Those of us who say parents need to take more responsibility don't want another layer of enforcement. We want parents to do what only parents can do.

    It is precisely the negligent tactic of caring about your own duties under the law before caring about your child's well-being that is the cause of so many problems.

    If you have an open discussion with trust, integrity, and mutual respect, then your child will come to you crying or asking for advice the first time they encounter something that may frighten or confuse them. If you filter and forbid, they will keep it to themselves for fear of being accused of having broken the rules. Take your pick.

  • Re:Trust them (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 16, 2003 @03:20AM (#7485801)
    They might wonder why it's blocked and try to get around it... whatever you do, don't make it mysterious! Go through it with your child and explain everything that's going on to them instead. Then set them free on the internet, knowing you did your best.
  • Re:Trust them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 16, 2003 @03:55AM (#7485930)
    My daughter recently started preschool. Last week, her daily progress report listed that she wandered off a couple of times without permission, tried to con another kid out of his lollypop, and kept wanting to explore other aspects of the lessons being taught. However, she did receive glowing praise for being quiet when she was supposed to do so.


    Punish curiosity, reward meekness.
    Yup, those lessons will be with her for a lifetime.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 16, 2003 @03:56AM (#7485935)
    I'm 15-year-old girl and I often find that because, stereotypically, younger people understand new technology better, its been a lot harder for my mum to keep tabs on my sister and my internet use.

    She used to try password protect the browser, or set up passwords for logging in. But we knew our shit and found holes around the passwords all the time -- whether that involved fiddling with the registry or finding the piece of paper where she wrote our internet accounts password.

    She tried this only so many times before she gave up.

    She tried to read our chat logs, and when we realised what she was doing, we p/w protected the files.

    And then recently my sister was fishing through our internet history and found that our own MOTHER had been surfing porn sites. Weird fetish ones. Involving old men.

    And when our mother tried to tell us that the sites just "popped up", we pointed to the google searches she had made.

    I guess the point I'm trying to make is that sometimes the kids end up monitoring the parents. I don't expect this to happen so much in the future, but it happens now.

    I think in the future we'll just view the internet as an alternative to tv. When my mum was little she used to get in trouble for watching television in the morning. Nowadays no one cares if you watch it in the morning. At home we aren't really allowed to go on the net in the morning, but I can expect it to be fine when I have my own kids. The technology won't be so new and scary. Parents won't get scared by reading over-hyped newspaper articles, they will have experience to go by on.

    I *do* think that putting the computer in a bedroom is a bad idea. Its a lot easier to stay on the net till 3am when it is in your room. But do make sure you put the computer somewhere else where they have privacy. Your kids are people too. People don't like their personal lives being exposed to the authorities.

    If you are scared your kids are going to be doing something they should not, try to get them to understand what is 'right' and 'wrong' and why so. Get them to have morals and they will feel bad when they do the wrong thing. Some of the most 'wild' kids I know my age have overly strict parents. They get joy from doing what they're not supposed to be because it makes them feel in control. If you can leave your kids in control and still make them understand you make your rules for a reason (to guide them and not just to be a complete and utter fascist).

    Oh and btw, most kids over 11 can tell if they are talking to a pedophile or not. There is an obvious difference between a teenager and an adult trying to impersonate a teenager.

    I read a few posts about parent's thinking they have the right to read emails between their kids and their sweethearts. I disagree. As long as they are not supposed to read my snail mail, I don't believe they are allowed to read my email.

    If you can't trust what your kids are doing, you seriously need to work on building some trust. I know that if my father saw me reading an email and asked me what it was about, I'd let him read it. Because I could see he needed confirmation I wasn't doing something I wasn't meant to be. Then again, if that email had 'naughty' things in there, my dad would just accept it as a growing up thing. I'm a teenager. He will not blow things out of proportion because of a few titties on the screen.

    But if he tried snooping while I wasn't looking, I'd tell him where to shove it. Give your kids the same respect you want from them. As I said before, they might be little people, but they are still people. A bit more innocent maybe. But its only a matter of time before they lose their innocence. You should try cushion their fall as much as possible. Don't keep them in a bubble until they move out. They won't know how to deal with the world. Allow them to grow 'streetwise' so they aren't as likely to be screwed over in early adulthood.

    This was a bit 'all over the place', sorry about that.
  • Re:Internet access (Score:2, Insightful)

    by stewwy (687854) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @04:02AM (#7485960)
    This analogy has been used a few times before....However its not strictly true, On the net you can visit the seedier areas relativly safely, at least physically! Indeed it could be argued that this can be a good thing at least for older children 's education... but as has been said many times in this thread there is nothing that compares with a proper education from one's parents, and as a parent of 2 boys 13 and 15, all I can hope is that they are old enought to know what they are doing ... afterall it wasn't so long ago that boys of this age when off to war......... as a postscript I checked the eldests logs the other day and found some (fortunately, softcore) porn sites, as a responsible parent I showed him how to erase his logs and clear his files properly much as my father at a similar age advised I wear a condom. A mature discussion is I feel much more likely to result in him informing me if anything inappropriate occurs.
  • Re:Trust them (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 16, 2003 @04:08AM (#7485988)
    What you did taught them a lesson about life because they experienced a dangerous situation (though controlled to be safe). Logging their activity and reading their mail will just teach them to use proxies, buy a usb keyring (through a friend with less restrictive parents) and install pgp or gpg. The key is not merely to teach a lesson, but to teach the right lesson. Sitting down and talking with kids goes a long way if you can get them to be objective, and there's nothing like fearing for your life to jumpstart objectivity.
  • Fair enoug (Score:5, Insightful)

    by alizard (107678) <alizard AT ecis DOT com> on Sunday November 16, 2003 @04:31AM (#7486054) Homepage
    Yep. My house. My network. My rules. Period.

    I control the router. I read the logs. When they turn 18, if they are still living in my house, we'll discuss it. Until then, what I say goes.

    You sound a lot like my father, though the issue of computers never came up, since I turned 18 in 1972.

    I haven't spoken to him in over 30 years. Perhaps you regard this as an example of successful parenting.

    Perhaps you'll succeed equally well with your kids.

  • Re:Trust them (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Handyman (97520) * on Sunday November 16, 2003 @04:31AM (#7486057) Homepage Journal
    KDan aparantly believes in teaching a child to do something once just to learn what it is, even when that something is wrong. I strongly disagree, and by following that logic through hopefully you will to. Example: Murdering is wrong but i should allow my child to experience it for themselves so that they *understand* murdering. Clearly that would not be good parenting.

    The trouble I have with this example is that it is too extreme. It is pretty easy to prove just about anything by giving an extreme analogy. Yes, everybody will surely agree with you that you shouldn't let your kid commit murder just so that they can experience it. You could have made the same case using rape or any other thing that does permanent damage to either the person who does it or to someone else involved.

    However, I think it is good to let kids experience things for themselves a bit so that they know what they're missing -- and that they're not missing anything. Let's take this to a less extreme subject more commonly experienced by parents -- hot objects that you don't want your kids touch. Say you have a radiator at 60 degrees Celcius (which is pretty hot) and an oven at 250 degrees Celcius (which might burn your kid's flesh pretty bad). You don't want your kid touching the oven when it's hot, right? But you have a young kid who doesn't know what the heat does and is very interested, so what should you do? If you don't do anything, it will pick any one of the two interesting hot things to touch, and it will do so when you're not looking (because they know you don't want them to) -- and I bet you they will choose the oven. So, what you do is: you allow it to touch the radiator. Once. They don't get burned really bad, but they might have to keep their hands under ice cold water for fifteen minutes. But the chances are a lot smaller now that they'll ever try and touch the oven.

    Taking this example back to the realm of murder: no, it's not good to let your kids experience what it is to murder someone. But murder is the oven and not the radiator. Kids start committing crimes at a much lower level, they're not going to instantly change from a good kid into a professional hitman. If your kid's interested in committing crimes, it will probably start by doing some shoplifting -- the "radiator". And when this happens, it's important that the shoplifting is noticed so that the kids can experience not only the shoplifting (which might be fun and exciting) but also the result -- getting really mad parents and maybe a good talk with a police officer. AFAIK this is pretty effective at making them less interested in crime, if it's their first or second time. Now, I'm not telling you that you should send your kids out shoplifting. What I'm telling you is that for kids interested in crime, it might ultimately be a good thing to try it out and see themselves get caught at it.

    Basically, what I am saying is that in order to tell your kids what direction not to go in, they'll need to know a reason why -- any reason that matters to them. "Because I say so" may be a good reason to you, but that'll make anything that's already interesting even more interesting and they'll do it behind your back anyway when you're not looking. The last thing you want is to have your kids hiding this kind of stuff from you because they already know you'll be mad when you find out. And real reasons for not doing stuff work best. Oven -- hurts. Murder -- you get arrested. Animal porn -- dogs don't have tits. It's as simple as that.
  • Re:Trust them (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zerocool^ (112121) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @04:54AM (#7486107) Homepage Journal
    I don't know how I will react to the computer question - installing parental filters and all that... my parents didn't, but then, there really was no internet until I was about 15. But, I'm sure it will all fall into place. I will explain to my kids about love and trust and relationships and all of that, and then let them make their own decisions.

    But, I felt that I had to chime in on this:

    I've known them all, and honor students, giften musicians and (in Canada) Air/Army/Sea Cadets or Boy/Girl scouts get just as drunk and have just as much sex as every other teenager. You can't watch your kids all of the time, it's physically impossible, and you have to accept the fact that they WILL try drinking, they WILL have sex and chances are they will try drugs. These are just things kids do in high school, and your restrictivness and controlling attitude may actually encourage these things to happen.

    I'm 22 now, and when in high school, I graduated with a 3.66. I am an Eagle Scout. I'm a musician (been in several bands, release a CD, also played french horn for 7 years and still play mellophone). Then again, I smoked pot in high school, smoked a pack a day until 2 years ago, and lost my virginity at 17.

    Now, I'm living with the best girl in the world, we're getting married, and we're having a baby in June.

    So, which side to I sit on? I've successfully completed high school, am a hair's breadth away from graduating with a degree in a major which I love and enjoy, I play music, I got my eagle scout, and I've snagged a fantastic, loving and edifying significant other, who I'm marrying. I don't smoke anymore, and I am very anti-drug.

    On the other hand, I've done several drugs in my life (including acid, on multiple occasions), I've had unprotected sex with a girl who ment nothing to me, I drink (less now that my g/f can't drink with me, but still), I failed out of college for a year and I knocked my girlfriend up.

    This kind of stuff means nothing as far as how well you've raised your kid. The measure of my upbringing was that my parents, while strict, have always loved me, even through dissapointment. In fact, I sometimes wonder where they reach down into to find the amount of love they have poured out on me. And because of their love and desire to see me happy (as opposed to "successful", meaning rich, which is what a lot of parents want in their kids), I have learned from my mistakes, I have grown through my mistakes. I am a better person because of them. I am happy with who I am, and I am happy with my situation, and more than anything, that to me signifies success.

    *That's* parenting, folks. And as I'm about to become a parent myself, I realize that, while I am a little frightened, I have an excellent blueprint to follow, given to me constantly since birth.

  • Re:Trust them (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 16, 2003 @05:09AM (#7486140)

    Aren't you being a bit ignorant here? Don't you think they know about sex at the age of 6? What do you think they talk with the other kids about? Didn't you know back then?

    What's this business about waiting until you can mention the finer things in life (sorry, I mean sex of course)? Waiting for what? It must be some American thing...

  • by shyster (245228) <<ude.lfu> <ta> <ttekcarb>> on Sunday November 16, 2003 @05:25AM (#7486176) Homepage
    So you're saying that someone who engages is mass murder, mass torture, the use of weapons of mass destruction against his own people, and so on is not evil, just misunderstood?

    There's darker moments in Anglo-Saxon history. I wouldn't say Hussein is misunderstood, but that he justifies his own actions. We, at this point of our civilization find his actions to be unjustifiable. But, take a look in our history of civilization and you'll see large moments in time that Hussein would fit right in. Iraq is simply in a different time civilization wise (don't let the modern trappings of materialism distract you), and eventually they will advance to the next stage. Now that we're the catalyst for their advancement, I sincerely hope they're able to move on to the next stage, but I fear they won't be and they'll actually go backwards, but I've been wrong before.

    As for using weapons of mass destruction on his own people, the people were rebels attempting a coup. The US and other governments have done similar (see Waco, TX and the Civil War), and the US is confirmed to have used military and civilian personnel for testing of chemical [themilitant.com] and radioactive [mit.edu] substances.

    Oh, and for your information, Bin Laden is evil too. As is anyone who purposely targets civilians. Yes, that makes the IRA evil, too.

    In a democratic government (of which both the US and Britain are), there are no civilians. Though you may choose to not carry a gun, the bottom line is that we elected our leaders. Therefore, we are responsible for their actions. Since bin Laden (or the IRA) has no hope of defeating a conventional military, their only way of fighting is to convince the people ultimately in charge of that military that it's not worth it. Electing a leader and designating the most well equipped, trained and funded among us to be our soldiers neither absolves us of their actions nor protects us from retribution.

    Ultimately, it is we the people that dictate policy and our government - and that the enemy has a conflict with...why shouldn't they attack us? Because we have a mighty miltary force who we'd rather them attack?

  • Trusting Your Kids (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MidnightBrewer (97195) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @05:30AM (#7486190)
    I understand that, as a parent, it's really hard to deal with the fact that your kids are developing hormones and may like to look at porn. The bigger, more legitimate worry is that they might start joining chat rooms and talking with people that might harm them.

    As for the first item, I'd suggest you get over it. It's natural for kids to want to look at porn, and forbidding them isn't going to stop them from looking at it, it simply means they'll look for another way you simply don't know about, or go over to their friend's house and do it there.

    As for the second point, simply explain to your kids that the same rules that apply to not taking rides from strangers applies to the Internet as well, and that they aren't to be giving out their personal information, etc.

    Also, as far as surfing the internet goes, remember: if they're at home entertaining themeselves on the internet, at least they're not out doing other things that are guaranteed to do them physical harm (insert horrible mental image here.) Looking at sex is entirely different than having it.

    My parents used to come down hard on my brother for using the internet to surf for porn, but I pointed out the very same things to them. He became angry and rebellious, but instead of stopping, simply found other routes, just as I predicted. He even went so far as to take the family car joy-riding a couple of times, which got him into worse trouble.

    My parents finally decided to try things the other way. They sat him down, explained what their concerns were to him, and then - wonder of wonders - told him that they'd decided to trust him with the responsibility as long as he promised to be careful. They let him take the car out.

    My parents found out later that, as he was filling the car up with gas, he proudly told the store clerk that he had the coolest parents in the world. And he did his best to not abuse their trust from that day on - because they treated him like an adult.
  • Not to be pedantic (Score:3, Insightful)

    by autopr0n (534291) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @05:30AM (#7486191) Homepage Journal
    Would you consider the Bombing of Hiroshima to be terrorism? You could say we weren't 'deliberately' killing civilians, but surely you wouldn't argue that we didn't know a fuck of a lot of innocent people would die if we nuked a city. Or do you take the Israeli view that it doesn't matter if civilians die as long as you were trying to kill someone else and they just happened to be in your way?
  • Re:Not at all. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 16, 2003 @05:35AM (#7486204)
    Congratulations, your post is quite possibly the most well-spoken "pro-restriction" post in this entire thread, and it was moderated appropriately, which is really quite a feat for Slashdot.

    But still, like most all posts anywhere, you gloss over a few things, make a few generalizations. You quite skillfully characterize those who would have their children have free access to the internet as being similar to NAMBLA, and any comparison to pedophilia is of course a surefire way to totally condemn your apparent opponent.

    You even close up with a characterization of those who give their children free access to the internet as lazy, saying that it'd be "easier" to do so but that you take the "hard road" (dare I use the hackneyed phrase "the road less travelled") and actually watch over your kids ("God" willing and all).

    You do charitably close with "you may disagree, of course", which is an option I suppose I shall have to take. Because evident philosophical disagreements aside (e.g. "God", not to mention the implicit "right" and "wrong" that your attitude tends to suggest), we also seem to have a disagreement regarding the fundamental workings of logic: you have decided that you can trust your wife, a concious individual that you have had an extended relationship, yet you cannot trust your children in the same way, even though your relationship with them is also quite close.

    In all honesty, I do not have children, so I cannot speak from experience. I'm under the impression that the instincts of parents to protect their children from the ills of the world are quite strong: indeed, I have wanted to protect my younger siblings on occasion even when I've known that it's best for them to deal with it themselves.

    So really, in essence, I cannot really understand your distinction between your wife and your children. It comes off as horribly subjective, horribly personal, if that makes any sense. I do not mean to condemn it absolutely, as if you wish to operate under such a distinction than that is your business (if I hold to any philosophy in this life I suppose it is "to each their own"), but I must question whether it is so applicable to the choices of other individuals in this world. Perhaps other people trust their children more than you do: perhaps other people relate to their children more as equals, more like they relate to their significant other. I've come to think that my own parents generally relate to me in such a way, most of the time at least.

    You open up right off the bat with the phrase "consenting adult", which is really a surefire way to bias the whole situation. Before such questions of "consent" and "adult" can be raised, both issues must be defined. And mind you, I'm not trying to justify the actions of NAMBLA: I'm simply saying that by opposing them so diametrically, you are really behaving in exactly the same way they are. Dare I suggest that if there is a genuine solution for this particular conundrum, it lies in a compromise...
  • MOD Parent Up (Score:4, Insightful)

    by akc (207721) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @05:38AM (#7486220) Homepage
    I must say I couldn't agree more.

    My children are relatively grown up now (21 and 18) and I have only had internet access for them for the past 4 years or so - so the issue has never really arisen. I have no idea whether they have ever visited porn sites, but I would suspect its un-likely - but even if they had, so what.

    The thing that worried me the most was with the youngest (daughter) and chat rooms. We explained the danger - but after that let her get on with it.

    The important thing was, that we were always around for advice. As a result, both offspring are able to use the internet as a research tool, feel reasonably relaxed about buying things when appropriate through the net, and use instant messaging as a tool (the other evening I was conversing with my daughter 250 miles away at university about an experiment she had been doing with strain guages and whetstone bridges)
  • by leereyno (32197) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @05:39AM (#7486222) Homepage Journal
    I've always found it to be very strange when people talk about wanting to protect children from certain kinds of things, like porn for example, or violent movies, or "bad" words especially. When I was growing up I never could figure out exactly what it was that I was being protected from. I did of course see and hear everything that I was supposed to be shielded from. Since I'm a human being and not a walking tape recorder I was no more affected by it than an older person would be.

    Now that I'm in my 30's I've come to realize that the motivation that drives parents and society itself to engage in information control and censorship is not that any young people will be harmed by the things we hide from them, but that we are somehow uncomfortable with the idea of them seeing certain things. The whole protection bit is just a post-hoc justification.

    The truth is that surfing the web is about as safe an activity as can be imagined. The real dangers lie outside in the real world, not in cyberspace. Now to be fair there are predators online, both sexual and financial. But if you haven't seen to it that your kid is street smart enough to identify and avoid them then you're just a piss-poor parent.

    If you feel uncomfortable about the idea that your children might see certain things online then maybe you should investigate why you feel that way, because it sure as hell isn't because they're going to be damaged in some way from seeing it. A person would have to be force-fed something on a continual basis for an extended period for it to have an effect upon them.

    Young people are human beings, not tape recorders and not pets with the power of speech. Their view of the world is formed from the conclusions they reach based upon the sum total of their experiences. The only real difference is in how much experience they have to draw from. By the time they are old enough to know how to use a computer, the basic nature of who they are is already in place. By the time they're teenagers they're basically as grown as someone can be without having been out on their own. There is not special transformation which takes place on the eve of their 18th (or 21st, or you name it) birthday whereby they are suddenly transformed from being an malleable infant into a mature adult.

    I'm starting to ramble here. Really what I'm trying to say is that there isn't anything you need to protect your children from seeing or hearing because none of it is going to affect them in any special way. Also it isn't like you can protect them from the things you don't want them to find out about unless you lock them in a closet, and if you think that is a good idea please get psychiatric help soon.

    Childhood is more of a cultural construct than anything else, at least how childhood is understood in our culture. The lies and deceit that children have to deal with is nothing short of criminal. I don't know about you, but I didn't much like being lied to when I was a kid. What made it worse is that the lies that are told are so pathetically transparent that I'm amazed anyone is fooled. I kept thinking that there must be something I was missing, some piece in the puzzle that would make the things I was being told make sense. It wasn't until I realized that most people were idiots that I understood that the way children are treated is simply an extension of that stupidity.

    Lee
  • WTF? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by autopr0n (534291) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @05:40AM (#7486224) Homepage Journal
    If someone wanted to take naked pictures of me, it would make me feel pretty fucking good. But that's beside the point.

    The point is, people choose to be in those images. A lot of times, they look like they are having a lot of fun. Believe it or not, but some people actually like having other people appreciate the way they look. Some women enjoy the power it gives them. And, shock of shocks, some women enjoy sex and what's more, some women actually are sexually aroused by posing naked!!!!!. Hard to believe I know.

    But anyway, lets take your logical assertion to the extreme. What you are saying, is that paying people to do something that harms them in some way is evil. Well then doesn't that the entire US Military totally evil? I mean, I'd much rather be objectified then dead.

    Hmm... reading the rest of your post, you might agree with me. But that still doesn't change the fact that all of the women in porn are there because they chose to be, and while some may feel dirty, most don't.
  • Saddam (Score:5, Insightful)

    by autopr0n (534291) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @05:48AM (#7486247) Homepage Journal
    Saddam was delusional to the end. Not insane, but really more the way Bush is. He was (by choice) surrounded by Yes-men, and he avoided thinking about the negatives. It worked pretty well until he went up against another group of self-deluding morons with a bigger army. I don't believe that Saddam thought he was evil. He thought he was doing what he needed to to unite a racially and ethnically and religiously divided nation. He didn't know what he was doing was wrong, and he didn't know it wouldn't work.

    George Bernard Shaw, IIRC said "The rational man adapts to the world, the irrational man tries to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress is dependant on irrational men". I used to love that quote. But Saddam and Bush are both irrational, and they have both changed the world. I don't know if I would call it progress.
  • Okay then (Score:3, Insightful)

    by autopr0n (534291) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @05:52AM (#7486257) Homepage Journal
    Go move to Saudi Arabia then. You might like it better over there.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 16, 2003 @06:03AM (#7486289)
    I think it might sound stupid, but what is it that you really want? Do you just want your children to never see porn? To not behave badly because of porn? To understand what society expects behavior wise so they're not outcasted?

    At core, part of growing up is knowing how to survive. By this, I mean knowing things that can harm you directly (poison, pointy sticks, fire, drugs) and indirectly (murder (being murdered yourself or being arrested), possibly sex (unwanted children), drugs (arrest, dirty needles, etc)). If your point is solely to provide them with this information, then you actually *want* to teach your children porn so they know what can hurt them.

    If you want to teach them enough to function in society like sheep (ie, doing actions without reasons), you'll certainly want to ban them from porn. You might do it to if you believe seeing porn will desensitize them from being able to function properly in society and more importantly a monogamous relationship.

    My personal belief is that you really should talk your children like adults. By this, I mean you should try to explain to them all these things that would make you want to ban them from things. Yes, children aren't fully adults, but they will be adults soon. If nothing else, you need to discuss with them your beliefs. But, by the time they're 10 even, it's well beyond the point that you can so strongly integrate ideas into their psyche about the evils of something without a rational or emotional justification.

    And rational justifications last the longest. The reason is of course because most people are rational beings. As such, the best thing you can do is speak to them on these terms. You're not trying to trick them into doing what's right, after all. You're trying to imprint your beliefs upon them because you've argued with yourself over why you believe the things you do (right?). And it won't be a perfect imprint. Pushing it won't help. Denying their right to make decisions will just breed resentment.

    In summary, I'd suggest you try at an early age to teach them about life, from sex to death. By this, I mean you should describe their functions in life, not necessarily details. At the same time, you can convey the social normals (as you invariably do) as you progress through life. Language and culture are mostly learned through imitation. Imitation alone leaves only a hollow appearance, so please try to fill that shell well.
  • by spazzm (545624) <slashdot.org.spam.101@blog.no> on Sunday November 16, 2003 @07:09AM (#7486413)
    You can't trust your children to act responsibly at 18 if you haven't trusted them before.
    Face it: Your children will grow up, you can not be there to watch over them every minute of their lives. They WILL have to learn to make their own decisions and take responsibility - learning this involves the opportunity to make bad decisions.

    The internet is a relatively safe world (fearmongering about paedophiles notwithstanding) and if you cannot trust them with a modem, you'll never be able to trust them with a car, or in a liqour store - or with choosing a life partner. Tell them about the dangers - and why they are dangers. Tell them that paedophiles are bad people, and that they should never, under any circumstance, meet anyone they only know over the internet. Tell them that porn may be interesting, but real women aren't like that. Tell them what real women think of boys who spend lots of time on porn. Tell them that they'll have to act respectfully if they want others to respect them. Tell them to never give out their phone number, address or other information. Tell them that fraud is fraud, even on the internet.

    Maybe it'll help, but ultimately it's up to your kids, not you. It's their life and you can prepare them for it, but you cannot live it for them.
  • Re:WTF? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nordicfrost (118437) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @07:43AM (#7486477)
    But that still doesn't change the fact that all of the women in porn are there because they chose to be


    Tell that to the victims of human trafficing [rferl.org]. And, yes, a lot of them end up in porn photo- and videoshoots.

  • Re:Hey now (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Stephen Samuel (106962) <`samuel' `at' `bcgreen.com'> on Sunday November 16, 2003 @08:57AM (#7486632) Homepage Journal
    Saddam gassed the Kurds, and he is a Sunni. I'm so tired of people saying "He gassed his own people" wa wa.

    As the leader of a country, he is responsible for all of the people of the country. Whether they are related or not, they are 'his' people. If he wants to evade responsibility for them, then he should let them split off into a separate country. Still. even as citizens of a different country, it would have still been a war crime to gass entire cities (and a crime against humanity in either case).

    I mean they were in the middle of uprising or whatever.

    If you follow that logic, then the British government would be justified gassing Irish Catholics (and Bush might even be justified in gassing democrats). Even in war, there are rules which our society has drawn up. In either case, he has violated the rules of humanity which were codified after WW2..

  • by theolein (316044) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @09:43AM (#7486769) Journal
    As someone who had a hell of a childhood and was beset by complexes (handicapped from birth) and loneliness (my father died when I was 9 and my mother's later boyfriend treated me like a dog), I can just say there are some things you should know and do if you're interested in your childrens well being:

    1.Talk to them. It sound so simple, doesn't it? But is it? We all know as adults just how difficult the modern world is and how litttle time we have, but that overdone cliche about spending quality time with your children is damn important. Controlling your kids too much will make them fear you and lose your trust. Show them that you love them and are interested in their lives. Make them feel like home is a place of warmth and saftey and that you will protect them with everything you've got.
    2.Treat them like real human beings. There are so many guides that advocate rules and strict parenting, but neglect the fact that your children are real human beings with their own personalities and feelings. Treating them with respect (privacy is important for them too) will help them when the time comes on the internet that some sicko doesn't treat them with respect.
    3.Have a set of rules about what you can and will accept. This might seem paradoxial to what I said above, but it isn't. If you explain to your children why you set those rules instead of just being the parental nazi, they will be more likely to follow them. Having rules is important, very important, in that it shows children to realise and know what other people's limits are i.e. they realise as well that you are in fact a real person.
    4.Never break their trust. This can be damn difficult, but it is damn important. Don't be too harsh if they break a rule or do something stupid. Show them you're angry or worried (yell if you need to, penalise them in a SMALL way if need be i.e. one week no internet or extra task around the house) but don't leave it at that. Talk to them afterward to show you're still interested. Learn to forgive your kids for breaking rules, and show them that it's ok. We all know how difficult and unforgiving life and society are. They don't need that at home as well, because then there's no difference between home and the wild for them.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 16, 2003 @09:44AM (#7486772)
    Well, I have had Internet access since I was 12, been in front of computers blowing shit up since far before that, and getting my hands into as much computer knowledge as I can ever since I was 4.

    Yeah, as I teen I drooled over nude girls on the net, I played some of the most violent games ever created, and I spent hours upon sleepless hours in my room, with the door shut, tinkering with code, stroking my penis, having sex with my girlfriends(yes, geeks get girls), and writing hot steamy letters love letters that I never feared my mother would dare read.

    And she never did, she respected my privacy, she always has, and she always will. She knew what I was doing some nights, she didn't mind. I wasn't exploiting poor women of the net, I was venting sexual frustration, I wasn't doing drugs, I was chugging coffee, I wasn't hacking AOLer's accounts, I was learning python. and I wasn't getting the girl pregnant, I always wore a rubber.

    This is what I did as a kid, and I am sure I am not alone. Where did it get me? I graduated high school with honors, went to college, got a job as a network admin, and will be married next summer. I have a clean civil record, aside from numerous speeding tickets, am generally kind to strangers as long as they are as courteous to me as I try to be to them, and I even teach 12 years old basic programming in my spare time.

    I got where I am today being a so called, bad kid, because my parents understood that I wasn't being bad, I was being responsible, given my age, and they trusted, and respected me.

    Your kids are never going to grow up if you keep making them be 12 all their life. They can make their own choices, it won't get them killed, unless you raised a real moron.

    Remember, easiest way to get a kid to do something, is to tell them not to. Also, might be worth mentioning that my parents were much strickter with my older sister, and regularly invaded her privacy. I turned out alright, and she spends most of her days looking through the world from the bottom of a bottle. Think about it.

    That being said, no, I have no children, nor will I ever have any.
  • Proxy + VNC (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jridley (9305) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @10:28AM (#7486922)
    The computer my 11 year old daughter uses is connected to the net through a linux box running Squid, set up to log accesses. It also has VNC server on it. She knows that I have a history that she can't erase, and that I can look at her screen at any time from any computer at home or work without her knowing I'm doing it.

    OK, this is the sort of stuff that we chafe when our employers do it to us. But I've found that it works well for us.
  • by Condor7 (541565) <Condor7 AT operamail DOT com> on Sunday November 16, 2003 @10:36AM (#7486955)


    If you want to know why pornography is evil then just think about it from the point of view of the photographic objects. Imagine that was you, how degraded would you feel if you were the subject of those pictures. What kind of psycological defences would you have to put up just to get up in the morning?

    This kind of flawed logic seems to be very common. You would feel degraded by being the subject of pornographic photos, therefore everybody would feel degraded by it, therefore pornography is bad.

    The world isn't that simple. There are a lot of people who enjoy or seek out things that others consider degrading or even harmful. What one person finds degrading, another might find entertaining or even arousing. Neither side is wrong until they insist that everybody else must feel the same way.
  • My Advice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CAIMLAS (41445) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @10:47AM (#7487008) Homepage
    I'm sure I'll get moderated as flamebait for this, but.... I hardly doubt anyone here has any advice that's either informed or from the perspective you're looking for.

    By this I mean two simple things: most slashdot folks are likely 16 through 27 or so (I'd imagine, since they're likely to have the most free time), are extremely liberal (most liberal folks I know are of the "don't discipline your child, it might scar him - until he's a teenager, then start", and "let kids do what they want, they're intelligent" persuasion - which is not to say all are), and are more likely to not have a family than to have one.

    All these conditions, in my mind, make any advice gotten here something you might not want to consider.

    That being said, this 21 y/o father and husband thinks that if, by the time they're 12 or 13, and they're still lying to you, something was done wrong from the beginning. There's evidently a trust issue. Recalling back to the few years to my adolecense, I'd say that this lack of trust is likely due to the fact that they're alienated by you and/or see you as the enemy.

    My experience is that if you're the enemy (and I don't just mean your child is upset with you for a couple days, I'm talking about long-term resentment and/or distrust), then it's most likely that you weren't open enough with them when they were younger, aren't open enough with them now, and communication lines need to be cut and re-laid. Tell them that you trust them. Let them know that they've got someone they can talk to if they need to. Be interested in -them-, and care about the things they do. This means spend time with them if they'll allow it. Develop a report with them more sophisticated than the simple "this is how my day was" kind of conversation. You'll thank yourself later.

    As for the actual guidelines that I'd suggest (from a fairly liberal-right kind of guy): back off for now, and develop that relationship. If that doesn't seem to be working, let them know that you don't appreciate it. Check their browser caches and/or history, if you're paranoid and/or want to be restrictive of their behavior: if they're bad, let them know about the harms/dangers of whatever they're doing, don't chastize them or punish them. By the time a kid reaches adolecense, they're likely too independent (depending on the kid) to be disciplined effectively, unless the infraction is quite severe. Dolling out punishments like cheap doctor's office candy just causes hatred towards you - they'll see you as being mean.
  • Re:WTF? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by stewby18 (594952) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @11:51AM (#7487305)

    all of the women in porn are there because they chose to be

    For varying definitions of the word "chose". In the same sense that everyone in a gang "chose" to be, everyone addicted to drugs "chose" to be, and everyone who is a prostitute "chose" to be. Let's be realistic: there are many people who have a lot their lives forced upon them for a wide variety of reasons... When a choice is between "be beaten to death and dumped in an alley or porn|prostitution|gangs|whatever", the whole "chose" aspect isn't quite as much a justification.

    This is not to say that you don't make a lot of valid points. I would imagine that most mainstream porn is much more like your description than mine, but saying that *everyone* in porn chose to be there is to ignore certain unpleasant realities of the world.

    None of the above should be construed as anti-pornography though; there are sweatshops and forced labor facilities in the world, but that doesn't mean I'm against manufacturing or textiles.

  • Re:Trust them (Score:4, Insightful)

    by octalgirl (580949) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @11:58AM (#7487333) Journal
    Thank you for that. It is so nice to read about a parent who actually pays attention. I work in schools, and internet safety is so important, yet the numbers of kids getting snatched because they met someone online, just keeps going up. The key point you make is '5 minutes', because that's all it takes. It's not about trusting kids, it's about understanding that without proper adult supervision and guidelines, kids will trip over their own two feet in just five minutes. Making mistakes is part of growing up, most adults understand that. That mistake shouldn't be life endangering or put them on the path to nowhere.
  • by StandardCell (589682) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:40PM (#7487576)
    It's one thing to have a contrary opinion of the law, but another entirely to accept it. It doesn't need to be done cheerfully, but it needs to be done both for your sake and your child's sake.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 16, 2003 @01:50PM (#7487983)
    The point is, people choose to be in those images.

    Many images you run across are taken on the sly, or are of quite young people. These things absolutely discust me. But to deny that this nasty, underground market exists is wrongheaded.

    I have no problem with my children seeing porn. I do have a problem with them seeing porn of a 15 year old girl with two things stuck in her and the expression on her face says something like "what did I do to deserve this?" It's sick and morally repugnant.

    Unfortunately, the line between "good" porn and "bad" porn isn't easy to draw. When is porn a real choice (note: getting $5 for being shown nude is probably not a choice, but more an act of despiration).
  • by Anonnymous Coward (557983) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @01:54PM (#7488006)
    Respectful reasoning? What did you do to be entitled to any respect? You disregarded the will of your parents, who, aside from being wiser than you, had absolute authority that you should have respected. You experienced the consequences of not showing the respect and deference your parents were due: "Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee."

    I do agree that passive monitoring is the way to go, unless it's necessary to intervene to avoid a clear and present danger. I feel no obligation, however, to "reason" with my children. A parent is an absolute monarch to his or children, with all the responsibilities that come with that. If a parent abdicates that responsibility, his or her children are already lost.

  • by TrentC (11023) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @02:52PM (#7488302) Homepage
    Despite dire warnings, we've gone ahead and put computers with Internet access into our adolescent (11, 12, and 15-year-old) childrens' rooms.

    Well, if you ignored the dire warnings, I'm assuming it's because you trust your kids to be able to handle the privilege according to your guidelines.

    Unfortunately we've had instances where all of these rules - especially that last one [don't lie to us about what you're doing] - have been broken, so now we are looking at getting more specific.

    Well without knowing the specifics of how they broke the rule (Were they looking at porn sites? Were they getting frisky in online chat? Were they posting to racist newsgroups?), I can't say for sure what would be the right way to handle it. However, I can think of an easy fix to start with: yank the computers out of their rooms, and put one or two into a public room.

    While one could argue that having access to the internet is becoming essential, having private, effectively unmonitored access is still clearly a privilege.

    Jay (=
  • Re:Not at all. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Tyro (247333) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @02:53PM (#7488312)
    Ah, so I'm "closed-minded" am I? Closed-minded because I want to raise children who know right from wrong, are responsible, respect the positions of others while defending their own, and can think/reason for themselves? Because I want to mold how my children think and how they reason, I'm a bad parent who's stunting their intellectual growth? What would you substitute in place of a loving and involved parent? The TV? Their friends? The internet? Some kind of "it takes a village" claptrap?

    I happen to think that hands-off parents are a major problem in our society... too busy with work, too busy with social climbing, too busy period to be involved in their childrens' lives. Is that what you want? Good lord, man... just because you have a beef with your parents doesn't invalidate the parental model. I get the impression that you feel stifled and confined, and that you want to "do your own thing" as quickly as possible. That's normal... but if you're still living at home, that's probably NOT going to fly. You'll be able to go your own way soon enough, but there's delayed gratification involved. Not to be patronizing, but the sooner you learn to delay gratification, the better off you'll be.

    You still haven't said what you'd put in place of me. You've done a hatchet job on me as a parent (closed-minded, indoctrinated, neurotic... it's OK, I don't take it personally), but you have utterly failed to present any sort of worthy alternative to a caring, involved parent (Who, BTW, wants nothing more than intellectually mature and well-rounded kids).

    I could have chosen a mental midget as a life's mate... someone I could dominate and would always agree with me.. but my wife is a terminally-degreed professional who can more than hold her own in a discussion. Ever date a woman who's beautiful, but a complete moron? I have, and holy smokes, talk about painful. My most feverent hope is that my kids are able to hold their own in a discussion, defend what they believe, and say "no" with conviction and authority.

    I'm not interested in raising robots. Hell, if I wanted a family of those, I'd go buy a bunch of Aibos.

  • Re:Now look here (Score:2, Insightful)

    by linuxpyro (680927) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @04:09PM (#7488760)
    I agree. I'm 16, and not only have I had access to the Internet for serveral years, I have also set up most of our home network. My parents have decided to trust me. I would also like to say that there is a lot to learn on the Net. Sure there is crap, but where isn't there? If kids don't find it on the Net, they'll just get it somewhere else. It's just how life works.
  • by bamberg (9311) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @09:40PM (#7490357)
    Lust is the driver behind pornography, Lust to have something (sex), which God created for intimacy inside of marriage outside of marriage. The lack of self-control in fulfilling that lust in any of many different ways (pornography is only one) removes our ability to enjoy the very thing we desire. It is our own evil desire (inside of every one of us) that feeds lust and draws us into the traps of pornography where nothing ever satisfies. Here is one of the problems with lust: When we attempt to fulfill this lust apart from Gods design it is like chasing the wind. One picture is never enough. Having sex once outside of marriage is never enough, nothing is enough. As soon as one desire is fulfilled another comes. God wants us to embrace our sexuality and accept the plan He had when He created sex. Battling lust is part of how we do that!

    This is an interesting theory. Where's your evidence?
  • Re:WTF? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Degrees (220395) <degrees@sbLAPLAC ... t minus math_god> on Monday November 17, 2003 @02:34AM (#7491586) Homepage Journal
    I know you have already heard a lot of rebuttal on this, however, I would like to add one more point.
    The point is, people choose to be in those images.

    In my home county, we had a Sheriff a few years ago who had a young teenage daughter. Some bright (not) drug dealer came up with an idea, and seduced the girl - you know, when they hit that rebellious age (13-14) and they want someone to treat them like a 'grownup'. Got her hooked on crack-cocaine, then withheld the crack until she agreed to get her picture taken giving the guy a blowjob. His theory was that the photos would be the equivalent of a 'get out jail free' card. If the Sheriff arrested him, he'd send the photos to be published.

    Not that drug dealers are all that bright to begin with, but this guy was counting on the Sheriff's shame to be more powerful than his anger. He was wrong, but that leads to a different story.

    My point is that yes, the girl chose to be in those images, but there was nothing good / fun / pleasurable in them.

    Not all that glitters is gold.

    As I understand it, this is the problem with the 'girls gone wild' videos - the girls show their tits in exchange for drugs. Can you say "debased"?

    I don't deny they have every right to debase themselves - but I think it's a crying shame that the television industry uses them for such a great profit center. It says something about their customers, too.

    I believe in freedom, and I believe that people should be free to live their life any way that doesn't harm other people. But I think it is a disservice to society to argue that

    ... all of the women in porn are there because they chose to be, and while some may feel dirty, most don't.
    Personally, I think that is just wishful thinking. I am sure that quite a few people (customers) entertain that wishful thinking - but still, the for-profit porn industry isn't exactly clean living.

    I read some of your other posts - and I 100% agree with your point about putting all the family computers in the family room. In fact, this is what I did. It's a good idea, and sensible. This evening, my step-son and I played a game of C&C Generals: Zero Hour together, and it's more fun that way. Being in the same room, we can tell each other about what part of the map to check out as we bombard the enemy to smithereens. But I digress

    I have also done the other technique you mentioned - my router sends me emails of all the URL's visited. I've told my step-sons that I don't want porn in the house of any kind, and that yes, I am checking. Of course, when they were younger, they tested me on that. And I explained my position to them: Just as you are what you eat, you are what you think.

    The point I made to my step-sons was that porn (falsely) sets expectations. Girls want to matter as real people. They don't want to have to overcome the ideas in some sex crazed boy's mind, planted by porn. So the rule in my house is: no porn. I think it is demeaning to women, and not good for my kids. And I think they repect that.

    Let me take you on a hypothetical thought experiment: twin teenage boys with a younger sister, go on their first date with twin teenage girls (to different places). Both boys prepare for the date, and get done early. One boy spends the extra half hour with younger sister, entertaining her, listening as she talks about horses, and all that kind of stuff. The other boy spends the half hour surfing porn. Which of the twin girls will have the better date? Which one will most want to go out on another date?

  • by cascadefx (174894) * <morlockhq&gmail,com> on Monday November 17, 2003 @10:50AM (#7492770) Journal
    People don't say, "Only give your kids Internet access in public family areas" because it doesn't work as a monitoring tool. They give this advice because it is the best option.

    Every person I know that has put Internet in their kids bedrooms has regretted it. Every person that only allows access in common family areas while the parents are home has been quite happy with the results. The kids don't seem to really mind either.

    Pick up any book, talk to any psychologist or law enforcement officer, and they will tell you the same thing.

    To ignore this advice is to ignore better, hard won, thinking on the matter.
  • by striton (232219) <[ts.hcnif] [ta] [noraa]> on Monday November 17, 2003 @12:42PM (#7493557) Homepage
    There is no need for them to have private computers. Just as I wouldn't let them have private TVs, I wouldn't let them have private PCs. We have two computers in public places in the home. Their privacy is respected in that we don't stand over their shoulders, but their monitors are clearly visible to others in the home. The Internet is a wonderful place, but it can also be dangerous. It is my job as a parent to protect them from harm.

    This is a thorny issue simply because people have varying moral views. I personally feel pornography in any form is more harmful than most believe and I choose to protect my children from it as much as possible. One way to do that is to control, at least in the home, the chances of them coming across such material.
  • by Wilk4 (632760) on Monday November 17, 2003 @01:45PM (#7494104) Homepage
    Duffy Robbins was talking about the issue of letting your kids learn recently... he had a good point, you can let your children learn things by experience in areas where the consequences are not *too* damaging. For instance, it's one thing learn not to touch hoth things by touching them once... but you don't learn from things that kill you the first time or cause severe damage, physical or otherwise...

    "Sure son, you can toddle across that busy highway if you want... or use my circular saw... " "Sure honey, you can email and visit that pedofile for a while..."

    Anyway, one thing to consider is that not all lessons can be learned by trial and error. Sometimes the consequences are just too severe and you have to learn by other ways...

  • Re:WTF? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 17, 2003 @03:26PM (#7495133)
    > Which of the twin girls will have the better date?

    Well that depends... If one of the twins was brought up to think that sex was normal and natural, was not raised to feel ashamed or guilty about her body, was not taught that nakedness was inherently wrong.. then her normal teenage urges will lead her to have a fantastic time with the boy who took the time to learn some of the ins and outs of sex.

    On the other hand, if the girl was brought up in a household like yours, where naked people are BAD, sex is evil, and those urges she feels should be bottled up and converted into guilt and shame.. well yes that girl will have a better time with the horse whisperer. But that's a real shame.

    You want to teach kids how to sane and healthy in mind, body, and spirit? Then teach them that porn can be erotic and fun, or silly, or boring, or disgusting, or unhealthy, or wild and educational at the same time. Just like fire, vacations, crossword puzzles, and everything else in life. Above all don't let them feel guilty or ashamed of their bodies and their urges. Teach them to masturbate, teach them to be responsible, teach them to be compassionate. But for the sake of all that's sane don't expect to teach 15 year olds to ignore their hormones and talk about horses without a lifetime of serious harmful psychological conditioning.

I'd rather just believe that it's done by little elves running around.

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