Wednesday, October 24, 2007

When the Web 2.0 goes bad

Techcrunch reports a new decision of the US court of appeals helping a new generation of Web 2.0 porn sites. Apparently there are sites that work like YouTube, only providing porn instead of funny home videos of skateboarding dogs, and the court's decision on age record keeping laws being unconstitutional removes one of the legal hurdles for these sites. I can hear US politicians howling already.

Personally, being European I have a more relaxed attitude towards sex and porn than the US public. It would appear to me that most parents would want their children to have sex after a certain age, and would not want them to take drugs or to kill other people at any age. Thus I'm with the general European policy of restricting kids access to depictions of violence more strictly than their access to nude images.

In any case all the politicians and parents thinking that they could "shield" their children from porn are deluding themselves. You might be able to prevent them from accidentally stumbling upon it. But a normal teenage boy will actively search for porn on the internet, and the technical solution to prevent him from finding it doesn't exist. Restrictions to porn websites of any kind, Web 2.0 or old style, won't help a bit. 70% of the traffic of the internet is from filesharing, and a good portion of that is pornographic material. As filesharing is mostly illegal anyway, adding another law to restrict it won't hinder it a bit.

The only solution is the forgotten art of "parenting" that many people nowadays haven't even heard about. Parents need to talk with their teenage children about sex, just as they need to talk with them about drugs, violence, and all the other bad things in live. Trying to create a perfect world bubble around your children will not only not work, it also ends up with your children being less likely to be able to handle difficult situations when they finally come into contact with the real world. Regarding sex, it is better to listen to scientific facts than to outdated ideas of conservative politicians.

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