The Haps With Herb

(Final Edit) The Info Highway

(Final Edit) The Info Highway

Herb April 17, 2006

Sorry if you’ve gotten several e-mails regarding this one entry.  I think this is the final edit, complete update.  Really.  I think I’ve corrected everything.  I think.

I apologize for not updating sooner.  It is one of my resolutions that I have been weak on this year.  I think, “Oh, I better update” or “I need to update” or “If I write about that, I’ll really make the (depending on the subject) liberals/conservatives/libertarians mad” but then I don’t actually do it.

One of the things that have been on my mind of late are some of the things that Pops has been talking about.  After reading Pops‘ entries,

and I began to wonder and worry about posting pics also.  After carefully considering on it and discussing it in the Blogdrive forums, I have decided that I will upgrade my Blogdrive account as well as use  because I think the BD stats in the upgraded version will give me what I want.  I really recommend to everyone to try “Statcounter” though.  It is interesting and will give you a better insight as to what goes on on the Internet.  While I haven’t ruled out the option of taking down the pics completely I think this is the step I am going to take for now.

As I read a couple of these entries I did form some opinions.  I guess I should say that I have become able to articulate some ideas and thoughts I have had about children, (And yes, hateful as my younger readers may find this statement, it’s almost invariably true anyway) and teenagers are children, and their use of the Internet.  My ideas will probably not be popular with them and it will take some pretty strong parents to adopt these ideas if they haven’t already done them on their own.

First, I definitely don’t think children should ever be allowed to use the Internet without supervision.  Whether you have the safest safety filters around or not, it just seems unwise to me to just let them go “wandering” around by themselves.  I have often compared the Internet to an almost unlimited public library.  When we would take the kids to the library we would take them over to the appropriate section, and walk around with them and find out what they were interested in and look at what they wanted to check out and occasionally pre-read it.  As they got to be a little older, we still would look at what they were checking out.  There were times when I would say, “You know, I don’t want you reading that” or “That’s a little too old for you.”  This is a parent’s job.  (If you’re interested in what I think belongs in libraries, both in public libraries and schools, you can read my piece on “How to Ban Books“, which I will link on the updated sidebar if I ever get done with it.)  If you as a parent guide your child (by example as well as sermon…They WILL check out what you are reading and want to know what it’s about) from the very beginning they will know what choices to make as they get older.  Now, if you care about what they read, and what they see (you do at least control their viewing a little, I hope?  I have controlled my kids’ viewing for the last 20 years by not having a TV or its assorted accoutrements in any form.) And where they go when they are outside, why in the world would you let them roam wild and free on the internet?  When I used to work at the big-name bookstore we had a nice children’s area, intended for supervised play and reading; I was shocked and amazed at the number of supposedly educated, intelligent, well-to-do people that just turned their kids loose while they went shopping.  Talk to one of these wild, screaming, maniacal brats and tell them they can’t throw books at each other and they need to settle down and find their parents, you will find that some people live in a world that is alien to yours.  Why would you lambaste the clerk for preventing your little monster from hurting themselves or someone else?  If  you are one of those parents that lets your kid run amok, then you probably let them do whatever they want on the ‘net, as well.

Switching to older children/teenagers, I will switch to the analogy of the Internet being to the computer/information world what the Interstate Highway system is to travel in America.  Do you just let you kids get in the car with any-old-body that pulls up in the driveway and toots the horn?  Even though teenagers don’t like it and may think it’s fogey, they should be supervised as well.  Just like you have the right to know who their friends are, what music they have in their rooms, where they are going and with whom and for how long, what shows they watch etc., cyberspace should be no different.  I would never let my kid go with a bunch of wild kids careening down the road and acting all crazy, but if you let your kids go unsupervised down the information highway, it’s kind of the same thing.  You should want to meet your kids’ friends, talk to their parents and find out their attitudes, etc.  So, why would you let your kids go free-wheelin’ down the information highway with a bunch of thugs?

Most teenagers and certainly children should not have their own internet connection in their rooms.  If they do, you need to (find out how if you don’t know) check their history files, their cookies, turn on their messengers and see what their screen names are, what their profiles say and what their chat buddies profiles say.  Obviously I believe in using the Internet, but since it is not regulated (much, yet) you are responsible to maintain safety, so, as I say so often when I watch people on the Interstate, “HANG UP AND DRIVE!!!”

Remember, the Good Book says, “My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother:”

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