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Censorship Government United States Games

FTC Says Virtual Worlds Bad For Minors 355

Posted by timothy
from the when-bureaucrats-attack dept.
eldavojohn writes "A new report from the FTC is claiming minors have access to explicit content via online virtual worlds such as those found in online games. The report makes five recommendations to keep little Johnny away from the harms of Barrens chat: Use more effective age-screening mechanisms to prevent children from registering in adult virtual worlds; Use or enhance age-segregation techniques to make sure that people interact only with others in their age group; Re-examine language filters to ensure that they detect and eliminate messages that violate rules of behavior in virtual worlds; Provide more guidance to community enforcers in virtual worlds so they are better able to review and rate virtual world content, report potential underage users, and report any users who appear to be violating rules of behavior; and Employ a staff of specially trained moderators who are equipped to take swift action against rule violations."
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FTC Says Virtual Worlds Bad For Minors

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  • Or parents... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by i.r.id10t (595143) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @03:50PM (#30392982)

    Or parents could be parents. Don't want you kids looking at something? Act as the filter don't let them buy/play games that expose them to things you don't want 'em to see....

    Take some responsibility here folks!

    • by Pieroxy (222434) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @03:56PM (#30393064) Homepage

      But why? It so much easier to let the government spend our money and restrict the liberty of all for our lack of action. And there's this cool movie tonight on TV, so I'll think about it tomorrow.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by DJRumpy (1345787)

        They didn't restrict anything. They made recommendations. They are doing what a government is supposed to do. If they didn't, you wouldn't have safety in the workplace, safety in toys, safety against harmful chemicals, etc.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Pieroxy (222434)

          They didn't restrict anything yet.

          There, I fixed it for you.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Darkness404 (1287218)
          The difference is, lack of safety in the workplace might kill you, same with toys, chemicals, etc. Whats the worst thing porn is going to do to you? Or bad language? The answer is not much. No one has been killed by swear words, no one has been killed by watching porn, no one has been raped by watching R rated movies, etc.
        • craziness (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Phantom of the Opera (1867) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @06:31PM (#30395542) Homepage

          I'd be more concerned with what sort of effect being plugged into a virtual world does on brain development, physical coordination, compulsive behaviours, addiction, muscle tone and face to face socialization.

          The focus on dirty words makes this whole thing a stupid joke.

      • by Nidi62 (1525137)
        Too bad for you they'll edit out anything worse than "gosh darnit". It's ok though, I'm sure you like drug kingpins talking like 5 year olds.
    • by Narpak (961733)

      Or parents could be parents. Don't want you kids looking at something? Act as the filter don't let them buy/play games that expose them to things you don't want 'em to see....

      Or better yet lobby for introducing mandatory implantation of filter chips directly into children's brain; tracking their movements, emotions and thoughts. That way bad and anti-social behaviour can be punished with electroshocks immediately. Remember it is all about keeping our children safe!!

      • Or better yet lobby for introducing mandatory implantation of filter chips directly into children's brain; tracking their movements, emotions and thoughts.

        Damn -- you beat me to it.

        Okay, mister smarty pants. I'll see your brain chip, and raise you a remote-control kill-switch.

      • From the movie...

        Cartman: Damn! Shit! Respect my fuckin' authoritayyy!
        [shocks Saddam]
        Saddam Hussein: You need to watch your mouth, brat.
        Cartman: Dog-shit taco!
        Saddam Hussein: Quick Satan! Do something!
        Cartman: Try this on for size... Blood drenched frozen tampon popsicle!
        Saddam Hussein: Hey, buddy! I know I was mean before. But don't worry - I can change!
        Cartman: OK... not! Fuck, shit, cock, ass, titties, boner, bitch, muff, pussy, cunt, butthole, Barbra Streisand!

        I, for one, welcome our new children overlords with electro shock abilities.

    • Re:Or parents... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by tixxit (1107127) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @03:59PM (#30393120)
      Most people nowadays have liquor cabinets at home and beer in the fridge. In order to protect minors from consuming alcohol, we propose the following measures. Use more effective age-screening techniques to prevent kids from opening the bottles. Child-proof caps and lids would suit this purpose. Use or enhance age-segragation techniques to ensure kids aren't allowed access to parts of the house where the liquor resides. Re-examine consumption filters to ensure that bottles that are drunk by kids are detected and quickly discarded. Provide more guidance to household enforcers (other adults and siblings) to ensure they can accurately detect when a kid is getting drunk and report the kid or discard the bottle. Employ a household staff of specially trained moderators who can watch your kid like a hawk to ensure they don't consume alcohol.
      • Let me shorten that for you: If you're a parent, don't leave your child home alone. Thank you.
      • Re:Or parents... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by fermion (181285) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @04:23PM (#30393530) Homepage Journal
        Both of these are correct. I was exposed to a good amount of what would be called inappropriate content, but most of it was either through my parent of my peer group. My parents took me to museums and classical performances. At both, sometime the content was kind of explicit. My peer group had various materials as well which we all looked at. What we did not have was all this content which I allowed to viewed as a replacement for parenting. TV was much less graphic, and we did not have cable. I did not watch a lot of late night tv until I was well into high school. I did not watch the evening soaps alone. I was sent outside to play and learn about the graphic nature of the world for real, not in virtual reality. It was way more fun.

        The liquor and other poisonous ingestibles are the same. All sane parents keep the kids away from these things.All sane parents make sure small children cannot get to the alcohol, drugs, or drain cleaner. Most of these have child proof caps for as a backup.

        At some age, most kids will learn not to OD on drugs or drain cleaner. I think we all agree that some don't. Also, many parents will teach children about the proper dosage of drugs, alcohol, and the such. This is the serving you get of wine. This is the serving you get of beer. This is when you drink cognac. If you need an asprin, this is what you should take. Clearly not all parent teach such civility, just like not all parent teach how to set a table, which fork to use, or to open doors for others, but the many do.

        But learning and teaching takes time, which is why children can just be set out on their own and be expected to make long term best decisions, which may not be spending 10 hours a day playing the video games, or for a 14 year old trolling for facebook to find an older man to go out with in hope of impregnation, then a house and child support.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by wiredog (43288)

      Yes. Parents need to be pro-active [adequacy.org] in defending their children from online threats.

    • Re:Or parents... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dotren (1449427) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @04:00PM (#30393134)

      Mod parent up.. beat me to the punch.

      Parents should be the one who ultimately decide whether their kids are ready to join online worlds and, if they're not, prevent them from doing so.

      We as a people should not need a government organization dictating what our children should or should not be exposed too. I realize it's politically incorrect to blame voting parents for anything these days but there is no government rules that will replace a good parenting. Furthermore, I'm starting to realize a good chunk of those pushing for things like this are parents who really don't want to put in the work to raise their children and instead would prefer the government or schools do it for them.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by MrTester (860336)

        Mod Parent (both of them) down.

        We as a people should not have to tell people to read the article before they run around spouting off.
        Oh. Wait. This is slashdot. What am I thinking?

        "I'm starting to realize a good chunk of those pushing for things like this..." Yeah. "Things like this" are reccomendations that people who are going to host a childrens site really ought to have moderators who can tell when a 20 year old pedophile is sending foul language to my 8 year old daughter on the Build-a-bear site a

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by natehoy (1608657)

          From the FTC site:

          Of the 14 virtual worlds in the FTC’s study that were, by design, open to children under age 13, seven contained no explicit content, six contained a low amount of such content, and one contained a moderate amount. Almost all of the explicit content found in the child-oriented virtual worlds appeared in the form of text posted in chat rooms, on message boards, or in discussion forums.

          So the FTC studied 27 "online worlds" and of those 14 were listed as open to kids under 13. Of the 14 worlds, 13 of them seem to be doing a good to excellent job of policing their discussion boards and/or chat rooms for inappropriate content. All but one of the sites with inappropriate content were sites that were not registered as open to kids under 13. In other words, not the "Build a Bear" site you mention. The sites actually designed for your daughter (and trust me, I understand yo

    • Re:Or parents... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by SOdhner (1619761) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @04:12PM (#30393326) Homepage Journal
      I'm not for a second saying that parents shouldn't take responsibility, but I have to say I've been humbled somewhat in this area and do think that whenever possible people should help parents do this by giving them the tools they need.

      Not too long ago my house gained an eleven year old. Before that I just rolled my eyes and said "Parents need to just keep track of what the kids are watching" ... once she was there I suddenly became aware of just how hard that is. The commercials that play during otherwise acceptable shows, for example - not to mention all the problems with knowing what is and is not possible in an online game.

      I don't want to see things censored, but I welcome voluntary attempts to make the colossal task of monitoring easier for parents.
      • Re:Or parents... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by PitaBred (632671) <slashdot@NoSPaM.pitabred.dyndns.org> on Thursday December 10, 2009 @04:21PM (#30393480) Homepage
        Why do people insist on trying to control everything their children do? Of course they'll get around it. The ONLY thing you can realistically do is teach them how to deal with things they may not understand, and educate them on what you don't like and why you don't like it. You're not raising a child. You're raising an adult. Teach them how to deal with life.

        And yes, I do have a kid.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by interkin3tic (1469267)

      Or parents could be parents. Don't want you kids looking at something? Act as the filter don't let them buy/play games that expose them to things you don't want 'em to see....

      I personally would argue more that a few kids getting exposed to violence or -gasp- S.E.X. is more than an acceptable tradeoff for freedom.

      The problem with arguing along the lines of "Parents should keep their kids from looking at that stuff" is that we all know they're not going to even take reasonable steps, and we all know that kids are going to find ways around their parents' efforts no matter what.

    • Re:Or parents... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by shentino (1139071) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @04:50PM (#30393946)

      That's a hard sell when these virtual worlds are marketing the crap out of themselves as substitute babysitters so that parents can relax and leave their kids in front of the screen.

      The only marketing done towards children is designed to get the kids to beg mom and dad for the goods. A few tantrums from a spoiled brat are frosting.

      It's all well and good to say parents should take charge, but spend 2 minutes in their shoes and you'd have a bit of sympathy.

      What they need is support, not blame.

      No, I am not a parent (yet anyway), but I am a young adult that was a hellhound to raise. Recently I found out I was autistic, which seemed to put my mom at ease knowing she didn't fail as a parent as badly as she thought she did, and even she had to go it alone while I was young.

      Single mother, with an autistic child.

      Yes, parents have responsibilities, but let's not take their job for granted.

    • Precisely! Why would any parent give that manner of control over their children to the government? Consider the following:

      Your child needs to be junk-kicked in his man business. Do you want someone like Dick Cheney to be the one junk-kicking your child's man business? Do you want the Supreme Court sending Sonia Sotomayor to your home to junk-kick your child? I certainly hope not. If anyone is going to junk-kick a child's man business, I would hope that the child's parent(s) would care enough not to allow
  • Riiiiiiight... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Locke2005 (849178) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @03:51PM (#30392990)
    All this is necessary because kids never hang out with older kids in REAL LIFE and hear those words from them! How about just teaching your kids what is and isn't appropriate -- eventually they are going to have to learn to cope with these bad influences anyway.
    • by Gerafix (1028986)
      Ah, see, that's the master plan. Soon enough we're going to have to keep the children in a secure location until they're say twenty years old. For their protection of course. In this secure location free from outside interference they will prosper under our Intensive National Deployment Orchestrated Child Transformable Responsible Improvement Naturalization Abiding Trust of Economists, or our INDOCTRINATE program for short.
    • All this is necessary because kids never hang out with older kids in REAL LIFE and hear those words from them! How about just teaching your kids what is and isn't appropriate -- eventually they are going to have to learn to cope with these bad influences anyway.

      Exactly.

      The world is not child-safe. There are movies, games, books, pictures, and people that your child probably shouldn't have access to.

      Parents are supposed to actually raise their children. They're supposed to do the content filtering - not some computer program. And they're supposed to explain the content as it becomes appropriate for their children.

    • by dlanod (979538)

      Exactly! I know my wife and I occasionally let slip expletives of our choice... the natural follow-up to this law would be to remove our children because of it, or install devices in their ears that beeps out any such word until they're 16, 18 or 21 (depending on where you are in the world).

  • Surely seeing profane language and a few distended assholes is much worse than smoking cigarettes, sneaking booze from your parents liquor cabinet, hearing older kids use profane language, and looking at some stolen porno magizines...

    Kids have, and will always be kids. They will hear and do things before their parents willingly expose them to it... all except the distended assholes. That is definitely an unfortunate consequence of the internet.
    • A friend and I were out at Ikea buying some furniture and as we it onto the cart he drops it on his foot and says "Fuck!" Some lady we hadn't seen up to that point says "Excuse me, there are children here." My friend turns around and as politely as possible and says, "The world isn't censored"

      My point being that more people need to realize that the world isn't censored, it will never be possible to censor the world and if you want your kids to not swear you need to teach them it is something you don't like
      • A friend and I were out at Ikea buying some furniture and as we it onto the cart he drops it on his foot and says "Fuck!" Some lady we hadn't seen up to that point says "Excuse me, there are children here." My friend turns around and as politely as possible and says, "The world isn't censored"

        On the flip side, when your friend goes to the store and has to put up with someones kids who are running around yelling, screaming, and crying, he should remember that the world isn't censored.

      • by Archfeld (6757) *

        there is a difference between censorship and the expectation of polite behavior in public. While the quick response cursing due to injury is NOT unexpected, the lady wasn't out of line with her comment either.

    • If your argument is that internet porn is no worse than porn magazines, you are very wrong.
    • all except the distended assholes. That is definitely an unfortunate consequence of the internet.

      I don't know - freaks were around before the Internet. I was in high school when the internet was just starting to catch on but still uncommon and some of the things I heard the seven-year-olds talking about on the bus were far worse than what the teenagers were talking about. One day I heard slices of two conversations on the same bus:

      Teenager: "So they're fucking without protection? Oh my God, she really thinks he's gonna stick around? His parents are divorced and no one knows where his mom lives. She m

  • by Locke2005 (849178) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @03:57PM (#30393086)
    Champions Online would let my daughter create a cat themed hero, but wouldn't let her name it "Pussy Cat"... I haven't tried naming a character "Dick Cheney" yet.
    • by Maestro4k (707634)

      Champions Online would let my daughter create a cat themed hero, but wouldn't let her name it "Pussy Cat"... I haven't tried naming a character "Dick Cheney" yet.

      An MMO I play bans words based on a list, but the filter's stupid as can be and matches the words wherever they show up. So you can't say glasses, because there's a bad word in it. Can't say assassin either (and there are mobs called assassins in the game.) Other things that get blocked are any sentence with "put a" in it (because without the space it's a bad word in Spanish apparently); grape; sentences with stuff like "push it" in them; and lots, lots more.

      The end result? The censor pretty much only w

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by natehoy (1608657)

      That's just a filter. Name it \/ag1na Cat and it'll probably be fine.

  • I would much rather not have to deal with other people's children or silly rules to protect them. Build kiddie pools and throw the little snots and the content filters in them.

    • by Ephemeriis (315124) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @04:09PM (#30393284)

      I would much rather not have to deal with other people's children or silly rules to protect them. Build kiddie pools and throw the little snots and the content filters in them.

      Except that isn't how it will work.

      The reason we need things like this in the first place is because parents aren't doing their job. If parents were paying enough attention to realize that Grand Theft Auto probably wasn't child safe... Or if parents were actually explaining what is appropriate language and behavior... It wouldn't be necessary to come up with these rules and filters to protect them.

      The fact of the matter is that many parents just toss their kids in front of videogames. It's easier than actually parenting them yourself. It keeps them distracted and quiet while you go do your thing. Except that not all videogames are child-safe. And weeding out the child-safe ones from the adult titles would require effort these folks are obviously not interested in expending. So the ultimate goal here would be to render absolutely everything child-safe.

      Which means that all your videogames would become kiddie pools. And even though you're an adult, you'd have to put up with the content filters and rules that are designed to protect the children of these lazy parents.

      • Second Life manages perfectly well to keep child safe areas alongside the most disturbing furry wtfery without mixing the two.

      • Which means that all your videogames would become kiddie pools. And even though you're an adult, you'd have to put up with the content filters and rules that are designed to protect the children of these lazy parents.

        It's not just video games, and it's not just for children. I recently spent several hours trying to find out how to disable the child protection restrictions on my parent PVR so they could watch their recording of "Downfall", which had been rated 15s. Their complete inability to figure out how

  • Nanny Business (Score:2, Interesting)

    by SirAstral (1349985)

    We already know the details of nanny government and all that jazz... but when are the businesses going to stand up, pool their money and fight being pushed into becoming nannys themselves? They may think its cool now to have a little power, but soon they will start getting sued by parents for not keeping their little dissident children in line. It won't be facebook, craigslist, and myspace being sued. It will be the companies that run games like WOW, Everquest, EVE, and the rest getting sued for the GM's

  • I'm pretty sure that is impossible to build effective age restrictions into the internet. The one article mentions that some of the worlds set it up so that if you enter a birthday that says you are too young they block you from creating an account with a different birthday from the same computer. This only hurts households with multiple users and only needs to happen on one world for the kids to learn that they need to enter that they are over the legal age the first time.
  • by Fulcrum of Evil (560260) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @04:01PM (#30393142)
    the most irritating people in these virtual worlds are the damn teenagers - I'm all for separating out the populations or at least allowing me to filter out messages from kids. Most adults have at least some level of decorum.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Most adults have at least some level of decorum.

      What Internet are you on, and how do I sign up?

  • by nightfire-unique (253895) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @04:01PM (#30393154)

    I'm of the opinion that the "real world" with all its war, police brutality, marketing, religion, fear and suffering is worse.

    Really... are sex and swear words that bad?

    • Swear words, maybe not. Sex? Yes. Let's see. We have STD's, broken families/divorce, sexual abuse, domestic violence, emotional trauma... all very closely, in varying degrees, tied to sex.

      Yes, I am of the opinion that adultery in a marriage has very, very severe adverse effects on a marriage, which in turn very adversely affects all in that family - especially the children. And yes, I do think that porn brings similar issues along with it.

      It seems that the world today wants to base many things on trust

      • by Reapy (688651) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @05:13PM (#30394218)

        One could argue that lack of experience in dealing with life's 'ugly' side leads to people having unrealistic expectations of what to expect in their life from friends, partners, and family. It can lead to poor decisions when choosing a partner, choosing to have kids, or choosing to even get married. These poor decisions in turn can lead to horribly broken homes, full of grief, misery, or just general lack of "life", which are terrible places for kids to grow up, kids who will continue on developing their own issues from growing in those homes, continuing the cycle.

        One of this country's (US) biggest problems has always been the refusal to even acknowledge half of these problems and examine alternative lifestyles with an open mind. I don't mean just gay/lesbian couples either. I mean a couple who may choose to not have kids, a couple who may live together but refuse marriage, a couple who has an open relationship, having multiple 'friends with benefits'. All of these and more exist out there and work for other people, but if you dare make the mistake of admitting in public that you don't want to be married forever and have 2.5 kids, wooh buddy, something must be wrong with you!

        The more exposure, and even better parental guided exposure, to life that a person (not just a kid) can have, the better. Yes, your 6 year old does not need to know the ins and out's of your divorce, but they do not need to remain ignorant forever. Maturing as a person is experiencing life and understanding more then you did when younger. If you are not experiencing and learning, you aren't growing, and you aren't maturing.

    • by dlanod (979538)

      They are when politicians think they can convince people to vote for them based on it...

      Plus sex and swear words don't have a real lobby group, unlike police brutality, marketing, and religion.

  • by bughunter (10093) <bughunter@ear[ ]ink.net ['thl' in gap]> on Thursday December 10, 2009 @04:04PM (#30393198) Journal

    I'm convinced that most adults, especially those who claim the mantle of "protecting the children" forget what it's like to be a child.

    I mean, come on. Don't you guys remember the ribald jokes told as early as the first grade, and the whole fascination with that mysterious, taboo subject that nobody who talked about it really understood, and nobody who understood it talked about it?

    I am a parent of a five year old, and I'm far more concerned about advertisements and commercials than I am worried that he'll overhear a reference to boobies or weiners. Exposure to "adult subjects?" Please. Like you never told a joke about headlights or train tunnels when you were six, or sung the "Miss Lucy" song.

    And as for chat rooms and other "predator" hangouts, well, that's another level of threat... one that the media has a whole other set of objectivity problems with. (And common sense and involvement with your child is all it takes to manage that threat.)

    • I mean, come on. Don't you guys remember the ribald jokes told as early as the first grade, and the whole fascination with that mysterious, taboo subject that nobody who talked about it really understood, and nobody who understood it talked about it?

      I must have had really cool parents. They introduced me to James Bond movies at a very early age, and my dad and I watched lots of violent kung fu films. I could seduce sexy Russian double agents and break a man's spine with my index finger by the age of 10, although I admit the opportunities to do so were few and far between.

      My mom taught me to play blackjack at age 12, and we had a rollup felt Craps "table" that was the most requested item for family game night. I started counting cards on my own by age 1

  • No surprise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by royallthefourth (1564389) <royallthefourth@gmail.com> on Thursday December 10, 2009 @04:05PM (#30393228)
    I remember when I was a minor on the internet I had access to explicit content.

    You know what they're really missing here? Teenaged boys are looking for explicit content and you'll never be able to stop them from finding it.
  • by The Raven (30575) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @04:07PM (#30393250) Homepage

    This whole segregation thing is crap. 95% of interactions between a child and an adult are positive. Segregation leads to 'Lord of the Flies' inbreeding of immature thought. Mixed company is the proper company for a child to have to learn how to grow up to be a sane, responsible, rounded individual.

    Look at our history... children didn't grow up in segregated 'child only' areas... they grew up working with their parents and community members. They were exposed to life.

    I'm of the opinion that over 95% of interactions between a child and adult are positive. How many of you have grouped with an obviously young kid, and helped them through an instance? Asked them to please be more polite, or type neatly, or don't ninja all the loot? Grouping, chatting, and talking with more mature players is what helps children learn maturity (at least in the context of an MMO).

    Perhaps some of the other points of the article have merit, but I'm quite against age segregation. We are a community... act like it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Alarindris (1253418)
      Great point. Interesting story I have to add.

      I used to run a WoW guild. Everyone in the guild was between 20 and 40. Or so we thought. Our kickass bear tank that we had for months, revealed that he was 13. We hadn't heard him on vent, so we were just dumbfounded. Very polite, mature, organised, and punctual. Guess what?

      He was home schooled. One of the best youngsters I've met TBH.
  • by loshwomp (468955) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @04:07PM (#30393256)

    [...] minors have access to explicit content via online virtual worlds [...]

    Minors have access to "explicit" content in the real world, too. How is this any different? Are these concerns merely puritanical in nature, or is there evidence that this is actually harmful?

  • by Duradin (1261418) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @04:08PM (#30393266)

    Who needs terrorists when children are doing such a great job of destroying our society?

    • by Gerafix (1028986)
      To be fair it's mindless bureaucrats trying to justify their existence. I would imagine that if children were actually running the country it would turn out a whole lot more sensible, at least more Crayony and plushy.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sowth (748135) *

        No, it would be the same. The baby boomers who are running things act exactly like children.

        Arguments based on who is in the better clique, not on the real issues or ways to solve problems or whether or not the government should try to solve certain problems in the first place. Their attempts to solve problems are based upon only a very superficial look at the problem and solution.

        They succumb easily to bribes. They only consider their specific situation--one of the "solutions" for healthcare was to low

  • ...; Seal little Johnny away in a hermetic reality bubble lest he experience anything that might alarm him or his parents; ...

  • Either make the .kid domain with strict regulations/requirements and legal fines if you don't follow them.

    Another radical idea would be for parents to do their job of parenting and just stop annoying us with all of this. The internet is just like the real world, not all places are kid-friendly. Parents should know that.

    Even age itself, for adults, doesn't quite cut it. Some people just can't handle some types of content while others can.

  • The belief that there are certain things which it is of vital importance not to appear to condone.

  • by Jaysyn (203771)

    Why does the Federal *TRADE* Commission give a fuck what is going on with kids in online settings? Isn't this the domain of the FCC?

  • Children just can't be left unsupervised on the internet until they are old enough to make proper decisions. I don't understand why parents (and governments) feel that the internet needs to be made child-proof; it just isn't and it never will be. Computers need to be left in common rooms with access restricted whenever the parents aren't home.

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      I don't understand why parents (and governments) feel that the internet needs to be made child-proof; it just isn't and it never will be.

      Because some people think the world should be made child proof to accommodate them. I've been in several contexts where it's a primarily grown up venue and had someone chastise me for swearing withing earshot of their children. Don't want to hear me swear? Keep your kids away from the damned beer garden -- piss off. Even if it's not a "grown ups only" context, I don't

  • by 2obvious4u (871996) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @04:19PM (#30393436)
    I've got four kids and I've taught them that there is not such things as bad words. Words are a tool of language; its how you use them that matters. There is nothing wrong with the word bitch, especially when used in the proper context. Our genitalia have proper anatomically correct terms, penis and vagina. There is a proper place to use words, you don't talk about penises and vagina in proper company or in public places, the words are not bad, but it is rude because it might offend or embarrass others. The idea that a word is naughty or bad is just as wrong as saying that sex is naughty or bad. None of us would be here without sex, including test-tube babies since at some point in history their grandparents or great-grandparents weren't test tube babies.

    Censorship of thoughts and language of any kind is a bad thing. If you censor a word or call it bad, it will just be replaced by an innuendo or another innocent word will acquire its meaning. Language is like the internet, it too views censorship as damage and routes around it.
    • by gapagos (1264716)

      Mod parent up insightful.
      I have a hard time understanding why parents can't just teach their kids to be RESPONSIBLE and be aware that some things are inappropriate in certain contexts, but it doesn't mean their existence should be denied.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Alpha830RulZ (939527)

      Preach it, brother. I have done the same with my kids. Further, we've had many conversations around the notion that the religious factions in the US have made talk of sex 'dirty' when it really is simply a natural, pleasurable act that unfortunately can also have some unfortunate side effects (STD, pregnancy, heartbreak). I've told them that I don't particularly think porn is anything that unusually evil, and I don't spend a single minute worrying about them finding some 'bad' place on the internet. As

  • 3.3 (Score:5, Funny)

    by Wiarumas (919682) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @04:22PM (#30393496)
    Sounds like someone at the FTC got ninja looted by a minor.
  • I think this one needs a no shit sherlock tag (and perhaps a pedobear icon)....

    but yea...there's plenty of cursing in the game world...not just virtual worlds in MMOs.

    But then again...if you consider the fact that in MMO's...you're hacking or slicing or using magic or something to kill and destroy....yea....at the very least, it should be rated "PG-13"

  • Y'know, I remember when I was going online in my early teen years. I remember chatting with people online about all manner of things. Yeah, I went into a few cybersex chatrooms for the thrill of it, I hung out in adult discussion channels.

    I learned from it.

    I talked to 25-year-olds and 35-year-olds about philosophy. I spectated on public cybersex, and learned things about human behavior and desire. I watched people wiser and smarter than I was make good decisions after good decision, then fuck up, do somethi

  • My 14-year old cousin transferred to my realm and sometimes is on vent with us. The conversation drifted off into the sophomoric-put-down gutter and some of the digs had me raising an eyebrow about my cousin being in channel until I saw he was commenting in raid chat "haha - that was awesome. LOL! Oooooh - snap - I'm going to use that on my brother!"

    In any case, unless all forms of communication are removed except strict emotes... the problem's not solvable.

     

  • Develop a gatekeeper that, rather than asking for an age or birthdate, actually tests emotional maturity based on some signal criteria. If you test out as mature enough for the subject matter, you're in. If not, you get redirected to something appropriate for your maturity level.

    PROS: Emotionally mature users would be admitted, and others blocked, regardless of age. Advanced tweens and stunted twenty-somethings could both be dealt with appropriately.

    CONS: Where exactly do you draw the line? Chronolo
  • Because segregating kids from the "adult world" and then suddenly plunging them into that world on their magical 18th birthday is a great way to raise capable, well-adjusted adults.

  • As a parent, I take great pride in knowing exactly what my son's doing in World of Warcraft. He knows that if I get home home from work and my dailies haven't been run then there's going to be hell to pay.

  • Why not just ban them from the internet? Seriously, that appears to be what everyone wants. Take away a wounderful resoure from the children. It is for their own good!
  • by King_TJ (85913) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @05:42PM (#30394716) Journal

    I can see a lot of truth in many of the comments posted here.

    I know one of the problem I continually face is in trying to let my kid "go out in the real world and BE a kid". Personally, I'm a big proponent of what Penn & Teller were trying to say in one of their episodes of "Bullshit" .... that the world is NOT more dangerous for kids today than it was in previous generations. In fact, statistically, it's more probable that your kid will randomly be struck by lightning than become a victim of a predator, while playing outside. But my own beliefs and opinions don't dictate what the rest of the community believes either.

    As one example, my girlfriend's 3 year old wanted to play outside, a few weeks ago. We live on a dead-end street, where there are at least 4 other families around with young kids. In fact, the people next-door to us have a 3 year old who loves playing with her 3 year old. So she let her go play, since my daughter and her 6 year old son were already playing outside anyway. Seems reasonable enough, right?

    Well, not more than 10 minutes later, I get a frantic knocking on my front door. One of the neighbors a few houses down was basically demanding I run out and get her kid, because she was standing outside, on the sidewalk, in front of his house, with no other kids around! When I went to get her, she looked a bit puzzled, and didn't even want to come back in. She was simply standing around because she WANTED to, and was in no danger I could see. (Apparently, the 6 and 7 year olds decided to play in a neighbor's back yard, and didn't want her to go with them since she was "too young" to play whatever they were playing.)

    This isn't the first time I've dealt with this sort of thing, either. On several previous occasions, my kid was outside playing, only to be taken by the hand, by an angry parent, and led up to my doorstep. Basically, they tried to tell me I was being irresponsible, because I let my kid play outside and their kid(s) had to go in for dinner, or because they were leaving to go someplace, or what-not. It never occurred to them it might actually be OK for my daughter to walk up and down our street and find her own way back home, when she wanted to come home!

    This is in a low-crime, middle-class suburb, mind you .... I do find it interesting that when I used to live in a rougher, lower-income part of town, I *never* saw these issues. Whether it was because parents were too busy to be bothered with hovering over their kids constantly, or because they just had more common sense and less fear of the "real world", I don't know? But kids of all ages played outside, both during the day and even after dark, on a street that WASN'T dead-end and had no sidewalks -- and everyone got along just fine.

Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.

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