Yo Yo Yo

I received a nice e-mail the other day from Lynn who is part of a group who has developed a new web site that is really great. Here's how she describes it... "This site was developed with children's safety in mind. Parent involvement is key to helping keep our kids safe. The only people our kids can communicate with our the ones we, as parents approve. No personal information is give out at any time."

Although the site is still in it's Beta stage (that means it's still being tested to us ordinary folks), it has a lot of great features worth looking at that kids will love - e-mail, instant messaging, homework help, and games. For parents, there's the assurance that it is a safe place for our kids to play. Check it out here. Registration is free.


If it's good enough for the office...

A recent survey - reported on by Canada's CBC - shows that the majority of businesses monitor online use by their employees. The whole story is here. There's a lesson here for all of us - we should be willing to monitor use by those in our care. For a business that's an employee, for a parent that means our kids. The article points out that businesses should set in place clear and reasonable guidelines, expectations and awareness among employees - both for fairness and for privacy reasons. As parents we should do the same.


Macleans tackles online porn in this issue

There's a great in-depth story in Canada's Macleans magazine this month about those nasty types that prey on children and how they thrive in the online environment. The article quotes investigative journalist Julian Sher in this paragraph:

The Internet "doesn't create pedophilia," Sher notes, "but it certainly does fuel it." In the past, pedophiles were isolated, repressed by the revulsion most people felt toward them and limited in their opportunities. "But now offender after offender will tell you about their eureka moment," says Sher, "when they first went online and saw not only the images -- the live images -- available, but immersed themselves in the acceptance, the assurance they
were among like-minded people."

Read the entire story here.

It's a reality check we must constantly remind ourselves of that the dangers online won't go away any time soon. So let's pay attention. Let's inform ourselves by reading this kind of story and paying attention to what our kids are doing online.

Public Pics in a Pickle

An interesting debate is going on here about recent suggestions that public photography be banned or at least regulated in certain places - especially where kids congregate. There are some good points - about privacy and concern about online posting of inappropriate snaps of unsuspecting kids. I wonder where this one will go or how far the authorities (or the public) can push such an idea? Any thoughts? I'd like to hear what you think.

To Triple-X or Not to Triple-X

For some time, there has been a movement out there that has suggested that the internet masters should designate a special address for adult content. Like the .com, .org, .net designators, these adult sites would use .xxx A neat idea that would help identify adult sites. The problem with this idea was the lack of control. I've been torn on the issue myself for a lot of reasons some of which are raised in this post by Larry Maqid over on the online CBS site. Some of the other reasons are contained in the comments to that same post. For me, the designation, whether mandatory or not, legitimizes the free-for-all of online access. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a prude, I just don't think that it should be easy for youngsters to access or be unwittingly exposed to adult content. A standard designation may make it easier to filter and block sites, but it will also allow less savoury characters to hide behind that wall of legitimacy. Free speech, regulating content, security... this one covers it all. The regulators rejected the proposal, by the way. As I said, I don't know if that was good or bad. What do you think?