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On defining the Safety Net

 I guess that growing up in a pub has been great training for a young girl before she's headed out into the Facebook world.  From a position of cautious social detachment she's interacted with lots of different kinds of people, and is far better equipped to "suss people out"  than most girls her own age.

Even so, she learned a lot talking to people from my own page, and now that she has her own I keep (with her permission) a very close eye over her shoulder.  I'm quite aware, though, that  unless I enforce an environment  in which she's under direct supervision I'm going to have to trust her judgement (and my training) on how she approaches the massive amount of information she can access, and how to avoid the sordid creepiness that (as in all forms of society) exists at its edges.  So far she's doing great!

You get a feeling, talking to folks in teens and early twenties, that they're evolving their own etiquettes and structures with which to deal with this nascent universe that they've grown up in.  A year ago it was great to see a photo of yourself online behaving stupidly while pissed at last Saturday's party.  Nowadays people would prefer, it seems, to have the right to give permisssion as to how others present them to the cyberworld.  Similarly, where it used to be thrilling to continue, in non-internet reality, conversations that were initiated on the internet, now a few kids are beginning to get the heebie-jeebies about how much personal information others know about them.

Watching ABC-TV's Q & A discussion on the topic tonight, I began to think that the topic of an internet filter has possibly been looked at from the wrong end.  Why not make net activity a subject that kids learn from primary school onwards?    Where are, for example, the WEA courses teaching parents how to teach the net to their kids?  

 I guess it comes down to what a government-mandated internet filter is intended to achieve.  It reminds me a little of how the Port Arthur murders ultimately caused everyone but the murderers to surrender their weapons.

I'd prefer we spent more energy giving our kids what they need  to deal with a kind of reality that they will hopefully inherit and reinterpret in a way we'd never be capable of.  I have a feeling that they'll be the ones who find a way to eradicate the crap that we're trying to hide from them.  

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I think Razer was saying

I think Razer was saying that the these locations can be colonised by "evil" forces, as any where else-  not that they themselves are intrinsically, "evil".

 A good warning, I'd have thought. No one is ever that safe.

The cyberworld is a commons in the process of being colonised by both humanity and  capitalism, inevitably including some of the pathologies good and bad  created of this. Hence both the urge for control and censorship, which speaks to the political mentality, as well as the invasion by scum who exploit  porn and also, for example, gambling and financial huckstering.

 Its not just the porn that bothers authorities, its the leakage of political information. Porn is just a pretext.


It's a gentle juggle as a single male (equal-time_  father, Marilyn, but the trick is to train kids to handle situations like this without knowing the details:

[AdelaideNow extract}

 He took footage of two victims who were raped while appearing unconscious and in some cases superimposed his victim's faces onto other pornographic images.

As long as this sort of stuff is being put on commercial media sites to increase their "ratings"  the kids are going to find out anyhow.   Better we do it sensitively and properly?

My approach was to teach my kid a double-fisted uppercut to the nuts on her seventh birthay.. trust me, there's f-all one can do afterward.  No details necessary, just an appropriate response to abstract badness.  Surely we can teach the net to kids on a similar reproach?  Preferably, though, in a way that doesn't leave male teachers bent double and quietly screaming..

Kids suss out wrongness long before adults do, without needing too many details. 

Fine, but

1 in 3 girls and 1 in 5 boys are sexually abused in this country before they reach 18 and most cases are by family members or close friends.

Stopping kids looking at porn while not doing anything about this is a bit like putting a bandaid on that oil flook in the Mexican Gulf.

 In my own family both of my sisters and myself were molested/digitally raped by either/or/and 2 uncles, 1 grand father and a father.

Not a thing was done and it still isn't.


Marilyn, Why didn't you and your sisters report these alarming events to other members of your family who could have then gone to the police?

I am sure that you have told your children and grandchildren how to handle these sort of events, I certainly hope so.

The Devil's in the detail

Today's Tiser titilations have been of the girl in the Harry Potter movies upset about comp-generated nude images of her, and the Hanna Montana girl lap-dancing at a party.  It's sadly obvious that that such stories are published for their prominence in the readership rankings (see bottom of most Murdoch home pages) which is bloody sad considering that such stuff is nothing more than kiddieporn for the masses.  It's a sad indictment of cultural hypocrisy.that such lusts are catered for.

Marilyn, unfortunately my offspring learned of such stuff while having a sleepover, her seven-year old friend telling a tale of what had happened to her.  I infer by the resulting social-work/court proceedings (not to mention a peculiar early-morning visit from the firend's mother) that the veracity of the words in that little girl's head might possibly have been a nasty tactic in a custody battle .  Tragic stuff, with a side effect of little kids knowing what they most certainly shouldn't. 

At any rate, primary school sex education has come along way of late, with the level of biology now being taught a lot more detailed.  It can only be a good thing to learn the right stuff so as to be able to discern the wrong, can't it?

Alan, for whatever reasons of different situations, it's painfully obvious that the course of action you prescribe is sometimes easier said than done. 

The Facebook teen murder

Amazing how quickly things can change.  Since the murder over the weekend of an 18 year old Sydney girl who thought she was going camping to get an animal rescue job., police have been advising kids to tread very carefully on the social networking site.  There even suggesting that names, photos and true ages are way too much information to be giving up.  They're even getting around to suggesting parents become Facebook Friends with their kids to keep tabs on who they're in contact with.

It's about bloody time, and a shame that people have to die for it to happpen. 

Small problem

In teaching the kids what to look out for and to ignore you are teaching them to look out for things you want them to ignore.

Far better not to mention things like kiddy diddling instead.


Interesting to see old WDst Ant Loewenstein is part of a panel for a public debate on internet censorship, around about now.

Is there a single issue that grates more with progressives than this pernicious web censorship issue?: Tonight the thing was out in the open to a degree, at least, care of ABC teev.

 Not good, but...

Way too much leg-pulling from populist media and politicians, not enough attention paid to real issues. 

Our political culture has become, "spoils of defeat".


No, I liked Helen Razer, another funny cranky bitch who have inhabited the pomo airwaves and op ed pages, most of all the the Age of a decade ago. A crack team of female writers and their  removal and the connection with the deterioration of broadsheet journalism is not quite accidental, to me.

 As to Catherine Devenny, hope its a good enough bitch-slap to get her back to the sober yet humorous writing that got her to where she got in the first place (at least until a couple of weeks ago).

Cognitive pathways

It was one major point, Paul, in which I intensely disagreed with that Helen Razer.  I've never encountered her before, and like her spunk, but when she was referring to Facebook as "an evil place" it began to appear that she hadn't though things through very far.  Sure there are elements of evil everywhere, but that doesn't mean that what spawns the evil as a side-effect is necessarily a bad thing.. apart from the evil-spawning that is.

Between Facebook and Youtube lies a world of "common knowledge"  of great enormity, to the degree in which  there's a level of interactivity and idea-sharing available to hundreds of millions of people that humanity has never before had the opportunity to experience.  From their own homes people can share their thoughts and experiences with such an ease that it could almost be called technological telepathy   Who knows, once we start implanting the circuitry we might well be relying on the rules being created now as a code of ethics by which we self-create our next evolutionary step.

Such stuff is too important to be steered by the rules of petty electoral politics.  There's a lot more at stake here than four-yearly balances of power. 


 That was an interesting night's tel on auntie tonight. And the discussion Richard speaks of was, however flawed, an example of how corpuscular an awareness of issues can develop with current media, when moderated by a skilled presenterlike,  in this case, Tony Jones.

 Yes terribly cautious, I know. But I got that that message of new cognitive pathways also. The government are foolish to persist in this nonsense, the usurpation of personal conceptual integrity is just one more gregrious brick in the same wall that has featured Dr Haneef, the  Sedition laws ( what is "sedition", but a matter of "taste" in the end?) , surveillance, secrecy and arbtirariness and refusal of accountability  in government and big business, that threatens  the Great Democratic Experiment.

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