Monday, July 18, 2011

I just blocked my niece in Google Talk

My niece is young. She just drew this not too long ago:

x's and o's

She now has an email and added me in her chat list in Google Talk. I blocked her.

I blocked her because she talks to me during the day while I work and asks me when I am coming to play. I can only respond to this so many times. I tell her to go outside, throw a ball, or draw something. I think she watches TV instead. Hopefully soon, she will have some friends she can interact with online and leave her boring uncle alone.

Soon she'll have a cell phone, and then she will text me, I can't block that.

Then I got to thinking more...

Initially I thought, "she is too young for this". But she isn't. I was 10 when I was online. It's a 20 year difference between her an I, so basically in comparison, she is late to the game. When I was 13 I was hacking AOL, writing web sites and writing software. 9th grade I was taking programming class in high school. My senior year, I was in computer science AP. But that is just age.

Isn't the web dangerous for children? Yes, but it's as good as it's bad, otherwise, it would be illegal. Is it more dangerous the younger you are? There is nothing that is going to stop someone from finding what they want to find on the web. The content was there years ago, now it's just faster to get and more abundant (both good and bad). It's also easier to contribute content now.

Do you think the web is safer for your college son or daughter posting party pictures and video, or your pre-teen who is simply discovering what's going on?

Parental control? I didn't have them. I also didn't wear a bike helmet, I watched rated R movies and ate junk. Do I think these controls help? I don't know, I am not a parent (I am an uncle).

Parental controls are simply prone to breaking through the control. You're child will likely get pretty smart about getting around digital controls the same way they get around physical ones (might make for a good software developer upbringing actually). Forced to wear a bike helmet? You ride far enough down the street until your parent's can't see, and you lose it. Blocked from visiting your favorite porn site? Go to your friends house. Same deal.

I think if I had kids and I applied controls to their devices, I would try to break it myself. I tried to applied controls for my wife's aunt and her kids awhile back. I didn't even know how to do it. I don't think I care to do so. It's the web. I wouldn't be who I am right now without it. How can I justify restricting someone else from it?

So where does that leave me and my niece? I need to teach her the way of the force. I'll unblock her now.

No comments:

Share on Twitter