I've been writing about parenting and technology long enough for themes to begin to emerge. Like Lou Dobbs talking again and again about the "War on the Middle Class," I am going to keep following the evolving story about kids and online safety, and supporting the idea that "Safe Product Design is Good Product Design."
Monday's announcement that MySpace has unveiled a new safety plan, working in cooperation with 49 attorneys general, is a step in the right direction. However, it did draw the predictable criticism epitomized by this reader comment on The Social blog:
A Novel Idea...: reader comment from jltnol Posted on: January 14, 2008, 2:24 PM PST Story: MySpace agrees to social-networking safety plan
Why can't parents just do what the [sic] are supposed to do? Part of parenting is knowing what your kids are up to all the time.
If you can't do it then hire a baby sitter who can.
You need a license to drive and a license to fish, but anybody can have a child.
Wonderful! Another chance to hone my argument against such an unrealistic point of view. This is like saying, "You had a kid, so it's your job to drive safely. Why should car makers have to provide seat belts and antilock brakes? If you don't like it, don't drive at all."
Parents can't know exactly what their kids are up to at all times, especially when the category "kids" includes teenagers. In fact, I bet that if I told you that I maintained absolute surveillance on a 15-year-old at all times, you'd think I was a paranoid, hyperinvolved parent.… Read more