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What do you think about internet filters?(10 posts)

What do you think about internet filters?MXL02
Aug 12, 2002 12:29 PM
I am somewhat ambivalent about them. Are they a form of censorship (the bad connotation) or good parenting? I used one several years ago when we first got internet access to keep my teenage son from going astray. I finally gave it up because it did not work well, (basically it filtered everything and he couldn't use the internet) and I felt it was the lazy way to monitor my son's behavior. So we just went with full internet access, with a long discussion about pornography and why he should stay away from it.

This worked for awhile, but just recently I caught him looking at an adult site, and he claims they sent him an unsolicited email...whatever, I bought Cypersitter and installed it. I can't be there all the time, and he is getting too old for me to watch him constantly.

I know basically he is a good kid, but he is human and full of teenage male hormones...I just don't want to make it so easy for them to get to him or visa versa.

Any other parents out there with similar problems or advice?
can be goodDougSloan
Aug 12, 2002 1:30 PM
When little Luke gets on the internet in few years, he'll have his own computer that will be "locked down" in terms of what he can access.

Porn is not the only problem. There are predators, idiotic scary zealots, and all sorts of junk a young, impressionable kid should not see.

As far as porn, I think it is a good idea to at least try to limit their exposure. Would you turn you kid loose in an adult book store? The internet has a million times more than any book store.

Also, inevitably your kid will have friends over, and if porn is available on his computer, no doubt his friends will be looking at it, too. I think you have some responsibility to other families to prevent this. This should be reciprocal, too.

The software is not perfect. However, if there is a dedicated computer for the kid (and they are so cheap, why not?), then his can be locked down and you will not be overly restricted. Also, set it up with some administrative options so that only you can do certain things, including erasing system files; that way, at least, you can look at certain folders and see where he's been. Of course, bright kid will likely find a way around this. Just let him know that if you catch him, the computer is gone.

As to "censorship," I think you absolutely must censor a kid. I think a better term might be "responsible screening."

good luck. kids can outsmart any filter i know aboutColnagoFE
Aug 12, 2002 1:49 PM
you can't be there all the time. better to educate them about it and let them know why you think it's wrong (ie. degrading to women, etc. etc.). i'd rather the kid reads something and asks me about it rather than hides it away from me. the world is not a pretty place sometimes and by the time a kid is in his/her teens they damn well better know about some of that stuff. not to encourage porn, subversive literature or drugs or anything like that, but they better be aware of it from as many angles as you can give them. hiding it away only adds to the allure at that age and is basically a useless gesture in the long run. IMHO of course.
how old is he and why should he stay away from it?ColnagoFE
Aug 12, 2002 1:44 PM
I mean I look at porn once in a while and I don't think it's warped my fragile mind. If he's nearing the upper teens you might as well forget about it once you've said your peace. heck when i was a kid you had to work to get access to those porno mags. now it's a only a few clicks away.
beg to differDougSloan
Aug 12, 2002 2:37 PM
"...I don't think it's warped my fragile mind." :-)

yeah you could be right there! :) (nm)ColnagoFE
Aug 13, 2002 7:07 AM
Once they're in middle school, your control is about gone.cory
Aug 12, 2002 3:18 PM
I'm with ColnagoFE on this one--you can direct (I don't think you can absolutely control) what your kids see until they're in about sixth or seventh grade. After that, unless you're going to lock them up, they're simply exposed to so much stuff it's pretty much out of your hands. I still supervise my 17-year-old daughter as far as curfew, knowing where she's going and who she's with, all the usual stuff. She's an honors student and a varsity soccer player, but it's because of what we taught her 10 years ago, not what we're doing now.
If you think you can CONTROL even a 13 or 14-year-old, while allowing anything approximating a normal life, you're mistaken. One of the reasons I hope this board lives is so I can watch Doug deal with the realities of parenting in the 21st century....
happy to entertainDougSloan
Aug 12, 2002 4:10 PM
No doubt you can't fully control what a kid will do. No doubt I will attempt to persuade instead of needing to control. No doubt the kid will do lots of things I wished he would not.

Nonetheless, I don't think that means we shouldn't take practical measures to attempt to impose some limitations. As I said, I wouldn't allow him to run loose in a porn book store (aside from the legal issues). I would not permit him to join the "young Nazi's" or whatever hate groups. I don't think we need to abdicate imosing some limitions simply because the kid might circumvent them.

I think there is a difference between not being able to or wanting to "CONTROL", as you suggest, and giving up. You can't really control a 13 year old. I understand that. However, that doesn't mean you hand him a bottle of vodka and the keys to a Corvette, but encourage him not to drink and drive. To the extent you can limit the instrumentalities of getting into trouble, why not try?

Aug 13, 2002 7:10 AM
you can and should set limits and by no means should you enable bad/risky behavior, but sometimes you just gotta hope that 1% of what you taught them sinks in and they make it out of the teenage years OK.
Aug 12, 2002 6:44 PM
You all pretty much covered all aspects of the issue...I agree with those who feel that a filter is an attempt to overly control a person who is pretty much an adult anyway and when away from home will do as they please. I guess my feeling is that rather than being a firm attempt at controlling him, (since in actuality, I can't!) it is a way of reinforcing the boundaries which I believe in. My own feeling is that boys will be boys and most, myself included, will go to strip joint, or see an x-rated movie at some time in their life.
But like other aspects of adulthood, I want to try to teach him about sex in terms of love and respect, not spanking your monkey at some photo on the internet.
So, my belief is that use of a filter is not so much an attempt to control as it is a part of parenting. Parenting cannot be done using software or a machine, but I believe that these products may help in the communication process between child and parent, by setting limits and showing where you draw the line. I, like, most of you, have to learn this business on the job, so I will let you know how it works out.