Sunday, February 17, 2008

Keeping it Clean for the Kids

Keeping it Clean for the Kids

A few things crossed my desk this week concerning controlling content our children see. I am pleased to see that my views have changes since my kids got old enough to repeat any obscenity they hear. So, let me weigh in on a few miscellaneous subjects:

Hanoi Jane Fonda and Diane Keaton: I won't repeat the terms they used, as the specifics are irrelevant (although if you click their names you can listen). But I had two thoughts. First, the respective hosts of those morning show (that I never watch, so I don't care) needed to call the women immediately for their language. It is the responsibility of show hosts to manage the content of their shows, and in some cases, kick the offenders off the stage. Second, the government, specifically the speech Nazis at the FCC (I won't repeat some of the words I associate with that acronym), should sure as hell not come running in and start chucking fines. It is not the job of the government to regulate content. That's our jobs via remote control. Simple answer to this problem: stop watching the shows.

Edited (raped) music: I have a large CD collection (300+) and my son likes putting them in various CD players around my apartment. Now, many of these albums contain songs with intense imagery and language that you can't use on TV, unless you're Hanoi Jane of course. Personally, I'm okay with it, and here's why: The songs already have intense content. If I were to buy the music that has been raped for radio, the content would not change except that a few words would be cut out. I have no problem with specific words, only vile ideas. Here's an example:

What is worse: 1. Fucking a slut? or 2. Making love to a child?

Obviously the second one is infinitely worse. It is the idea that matters, not the specific verbiage. The first statement is merely coarsely stated. The second calls for castration with a high pressure stream of boiling oil.

Internet content: My son (3 years old) was on the computer playing on the internet. I had set up the Firefox browser with links for many kid-friendly sites. He managed to do a search. He can't type words yet, but he can type letters. Like KKK. Well, I had to boot him off for a few minutes while i secured the browser a little better. I found an addon called FoxFilter, which I quickly installed. If you use Internet Explorer, there's the annoying content advisor (in Internet Explorer, click tools, internet options, then select the content tab). The point is that there are filters out there, and you have to pay attention. So, here's my list of free things to secure your computers:

1. Keep the computers public: A computer in a child's bedroom is the perfect platform for porn.

2. Limited accounts: Windows XP and Vista allow you to limit access to some people. All it takes is a password. And the passwords are extremely hard to crack unless you make them simple.

3. Filters and security: In addition to the browser filtering I have mentioned above, I have some other suggestions. K9 web Protection is a free program I found and installed. Although it filters all users equally, it's free. Keep your antivirus and spyware programs updated regularly. My choice is AVG, again free, and Ad-Aware. Beyond that, the most important is to control anything else that is loaded on your computers. If you don't know what it is, Google it. You'd be surprised.

It's your job to keep your kids on the straight and narrow. Don't expect others to do it for you and be afraid if the government wants to. And don't come up with any excuses, especially with the computers. Spend the time, learn what you must, and get help when the kids start hacking your passwords.

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