Robert Scoble
Hilight of my Washington DC trip? Having my 14-year-old son talking about porn with the FCC Commissioner. I'll blog that later.
Oh I have to hear about that. - Kreg Steppe
Would have loved to have overheard that one, heh. - CJ Kloote
Patrick, my son, told the commissioner that if he tries to censor the Internet it'll make him just want to seek it out even more. I shared with him how smart the kids are and how they will get around any blocks you try to put in place. Patrick told him he turned on all of his own parental controls just to see what they did on his Mac. He said they made his computer unusable. I love that Patrick was able to stick up for his ideas with the FCC Commissioner. Afterwards Patrick said to me "I hate it when people try to censor what I see." - Robert Scoble
Putting this in my "Unexpected sentence of the day" file. - John Craft
Wonder how the commissioner reacted... :) - Vinodh Nandakumar
The commissioner is trying to protect kids from porn. I told him that Patrick and a group of kids visited (back then it was a porn site) because a teacher told them not to (that was when he was seven years old). I told him that wasn't the surprising part, but that one of the kids knew how to delete the cookies and history in the browser so that the parents wouldn't be able to see that they had visited that site. - Robert Scoble
Vinodh: when my son said you won't be able to stop it, the commissioner said "we've got to try." - Robert Scoble
Thank you Scobleson, it may get though their thick skulls one day! - Dave Pook
We are smarter than you realize. Wonder why Patrick ain't on Twitter/FF? - Yuvi
When will they ever explain WHY they've got to try, especially with a living, breathing example of why it won't work right in front of them? - Rick Powell
I am a firm believer in getting the government out of the censorship biz, so don't take this wrong. Generalizing this to everything is flawed, however. It is true that kids are more than smart enough to find ways to do all sorts of things we probably should discourage them from doing - so just because controlling something is hard does not ALWAYS mean we should give up trying. - Soulhuntre
I don't mean answering these questions in terms of feasibility or technology. I mean asking the basic question as to why regulating content for particular users or any user is the government's business at all? And sorry, asking that question is what a conservative would do. A fundamentalist would not see the point of asking that question at all, and so to answer your implied question, that's the reason why he would never give up trying. - Rick Powell
@Soulhuntre - I agree - there are areas where I think censorship is good. But porn didn't do any harm to anybody, so why censor? The best thing to fight negative consequences of porn shown to children (like thinking that sex is, well, like in porn movies) is to tell them about it. Censorship won't change anything, it makes it much more interesting. (I like Austria's law that punishes denial of the holocaust, on the other hand. We are able to control Neo-Nazis violence pretty well through that.) - sebmos
And yes I think that fundamentalists are currently in charge of this administration. - Rick Powell
Tumbled this quote, with link to FRIENDFEED, not Twitter. - Phil Glockner
I just finished reading Corey Doctorow's "Little Brother" so this tweet really resonated with me. Censorship, ultimately, is a futile excercise- not the least because people dont like being told what content they can or cannot consume. The solution is not censorship, or any other enforced form of protection. If they want to protect kids from *anything* don't you think it would be more productive to actually explain to their kids the reasoning behind that. Once I understand the reasoning, it should be my choice how I act on that. If they cannot articulate why we need protecting, how can I be expected to blindly accept their position? Isn't that how any adult would expect to be treated? - David Adam
Explaining the reasoning for things to kids is a good first line of action - but it is not always going to work. For one thing, younger kids are KIDS and in short their brains and logic functions simply do not always function rationally. Any parent knows this. Children are absolutely worth talking to and reasoning with - but sometimes that will fail. - Soulhuntre
sebmos - I personally find laws like that to be no better than censorship of porn. Saying "I support free speech - but obviously not THAT speech because it offends some people" seems odd to me. That is exactly the argument used to control porn. - Soulhuntre
The difference: Neo-Nazis commit violent acts against all kinds of people (political enemies, foreigners (especially asylum seekers), non-believers) - they still do - and they make an obvious lie. Porn doesn't harm anybody, it's not a fact that can be proven wrong, etc. Neo-Nazis don't offend people, they kill people. (And try to destroy democracies, which is their stated goal, much like the NSDAP back then.) - sebmos
A modern democracy should do everything it can to stop people from violent acts, especially if they are politically motivated, and especially if they have the goal of destroying the democracy. - sebmos
Explain why the fact that parenting is subject to failure, in other words, that kids and parents are human, is a reason for government to intervene? The FCC Commissioner can't, he just knows it's true, deep down in his heart. Not good enough, sorry. Unless we make elected officials answer these basic questions, we will only go in circles. - Rick Powell
A few thoughts - one I am not advocating censorship - my point was that imperfect control is not universally a reason to abandon mitigation efforts. In the specific case of the FCC - we are having the wrong discussion. The FCC censors because "we the people" have asked them to do so - they CAN censor some areas because, in theory, "we the people" own some communications media (spectrum). Frankly that's OK with me ethically - those that own something can control it as the please. - Soulhuntre
So if the body politic owns something, then as a nation we can elect to control it. What bothers me much more is government censorship and control attempts of PRIVATE communications channels (the internet and so on) but that isn't in danger from the FCC but the court system. BTW the laws that most often are used to censor speech and obscenity are NOT Republican ones in the main but bi-partisan or left sided. Every religiously driven censor is matched by an extreme feminist or political correctness thug. - Soulhuntre
With the final caveat being, as long as it doesn't violate the First Amendment, which, actually, is why we are having the right discussion. - Rick Powell
@ sebmos - I don't think it's entirely accurate to say that 'porn doesn't harm anyone.' A 10-year-old who's looking at some of the extreme stuff available can come away with a distorted view of what healthy sexuality looks like - that's 'harm' in my view. That said, FCC intervention isn't wise, because it worn't work. What does work is proactive parents who aren't afraid to talk openly about sexuality with their kids. - John Craft
@sebmos - your point about the neo-nazi thing is fine - but not, to me, good enough to censor. There are many who feel that porn drives violence (they think it drives rape) and denies what they see as a "war against women" and purports a lie (that women should / want to be raped). Their feelings are as strong as yours so why not let them censor too? Its a very slippery slope. - Soulhuntre
@John Craft - The average 10-year-old won't see extreme stuff, but "normal" stuff in best case. You really would have to search for extreme stuff - something I'd say they won't, because they are happy with what they can find easily. - sebmos
Great. Patrick is going to be the catalyst of some new legislation. Another Scoble rocking the boat. :) - Kreg Steppe
@Soulhuntre - There are actually studies that suggest that porn decreases violence against women, because men have easier, other ways to satisfy themselfes. Also, this is a different thing: It doesn't work. Porn isn't controllable. No matter how hard you punish people, it won't change anything. Just look at the Middle East. Or look at the US, which is strict compared to European countries. Or look at the Middle Age. - sebmos
@sebmos - remember, I am not arguing FOR censorship of porn, I am arguing against censorship in general. My point is simple, for everyone who agrees with you in objecting to one form of speech (holocaust denial) there are lots who all agree on censoring something you would not want censored. The only way to not get in trouble is simply avoid censoring in all but extreme circumstances. To many, the case for stopping porn is as strong as the case to avoid denial commentary. - Soulhuntre
@johnacraft - the issue isn't (to me) the FCC with porn - frankly they have almost no impact on the adult industry (which I am part of). It's federal law that is out of hand and off kilter. The "2257" stuff, not the FCC, is the real problem. - Soulhuntre
good discussion here. as a typical mom, i worry about my son on the 'net. currently, standing over his shoulder works (when he goes 'net, i turn on extra monitor in kitchen. he knows i watch). i do have porn concerns for children. awful, raunchy stuff i do not want my under 10 (or even 14 yr old) to see on 'net. terrible images of women. terrible. sooo, bigger question to wise folks here, how do you handle this issue? - Barbara K. Baker
@Barbara - You're watching what your children do on the internet with an extra monitor? Omg... (That's definitely the wrong way to handle it. They'll find a computer you can't monitor and will do it anyway, but in secret. They loose trust because they have to keep secrets from you, they won't go to you if they really have questions about sex.) - sebmos
You think things are kicking off now? Wait till kids that have had the internet their whole lives start making waves I'm thinking the next 3 years it's going to be really hard just to keep up with what's going on. Great story, sounds like he's a good kid, must already have a big set of Cojones to banter it up with the FCC commissioner! - Toby Graham