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Let’s leave parenting to parents on the Internet as well

Submitted by on Tuesday, 30 December 2008 7 Comments
"Boyz in the Hood" is an amazing movie, but with F bombs flying as frequently as bullets it's not material for a 5-year-old.

Yet we let Big Guy hang out for a few minutes when he showed up on his nightly sleep-avoidance prowl early in the film, when Tre was a boy watching police arrest other youngsters.

"Is that a bad neighborhood? Is that why they're taking those kids to jail?"

Not all people who live in bad neighborhoods are bad, but sometimes they're stuck because they're poor and can't get what they need to create a better life, we said. But the daddy in the movie's trying to teach his son to do the right things.

"His friends can help him, too," Big Guy added.

Sometimes friends tell you to do the wrong things, Dad said. That gave me entre to remind Big Guy of an episode at school back in the fall, where a friend encouraged him toward mild trouble. "Times like that, when you know it's wrong, you shouldn't listen to your friends."

Given a choice between bed and Mom on a Soapbox, Big Guy picked bed and was asleep before the film got gory.

It was a rare occasion where age-inappropriate material reinforced values we're trying to teach. Most parents wouldn't let a kindergartener watch even five minutes of "Boyz in the Hood," but it worked for us tonight. And I bet Big Guy will handle it better than he did "Monster House," an alleged family movie with a PG rating that gave him nightmares for weeks after he watched it at a friend's house.

That's because ratings systems can be a load of hooey when it comes to kids, and that's why a possible British rating systems for Web sites is ridiculous and scary.

Scary because officials hope to get the Obama administration to join in setting international rules for English-language Web sites, according to The Daily Telegraph of London.

The article quotes a British Cabinet minister as describing the Internet as “quite a dangerous place” and says he wants Internet-service providers to offer parents “child-safe” web services.

Whoa and whoa. Talk about Net Nanny with Big Brother riding shotgun.

I've been on the Internet since shortly after Al Gore invented it and not once have I run into those "dangerous places." I'm sure I could find them without too much trouble. I'm sure they could find me as well -- all I'd have to do is click on any of the spam links the fly my way every day.

But it's not as if I'm a mouse whisker away from disaster every time I launch a browser. And neither are the guys.

They have their own YouTube play lists of material I've screened, and I'm always at their side as they explore because there's no way to vet every "related video" that might pop up. I did all that without the help of my ISP. That's my job.

Yet, the Brits are talking about forcing all providers serving that country to offer only sites that are "family friendly" -- whatever that means. The list includes America Online.

Even more chilling: the British want industry-wide "take down" times that would force sites ranging from Facebook to YouTube to remove "harmful" or "offensive" material once they're notified of its existence.

Isn't that peachy? The queen wants to poke around in my Facebook account. Didn't we ditch those people a few centuries back?

The effort's doomed to fail anyway because, as Technosailor so accurately points out in his blog post that turned me onto this topics, declaring standards for the Web has never assured that they'll be followed.

So why waste a bunch of taxpayer time and money on something that will never work, just because some Brit has a bug up his butt about the evils of the Internet.

Here's hoping the Obama administration says, "Thanks for thinking of  us, but we have better things to do right now."

Because we do, even if England doesn't.

Copyright 2008 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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7 Comments »

  • MePregnant said:

    Let’s leave parenting to parents on the Internet as well | 9to5to9…

    The British want the US to join in creating international standards for family-friendly Web sites. Talk about Net Nanny with Big Brother riding shotgun….

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  • Leslie K. said:

    How come everyone else can find the scary places but ME???????

  • ParentingPink said:

    The way I see it, my house can be a scary place sometimes, so finding something on the internet would be a welcome distraction :-)

    Hope you had a wonderful Xmas!

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  • Debra said:

    He he he, Leslie. Maybe I should email Mr. Minister and see if he can send us a list.

  • Genevieve said:

    What a concept – a great read even if astounding. I agree, leave the parenting up to the parents.