Log in

No account? Create an account
Previous Entry Share Next Entry
The Wood Verdict
"Playing online can lead to straying online", we were told by the Goverment's NetAlert advertising campaign.

It was a campaign that bugged me. I was especially disappointed that there was such a big focus on filters and so little practical advice. I couldn't tell whether they were simply out of touch, or whether they were playing on parents' fears and deliberately fueling the fire. Despite my unease, I struggled to pinpoint exactly what was wrong with it.

Enter Tom Wood.

Thanks to Crikey, I discovered The Wood Verdict - a blog written by a 16 year old student who got some media attention after easily cracking one of the filters funded by the Government.

Turns out he's not just a geeky schoolboy trying to show up the Government and show off his skills. He's actually articulate and is campaigning for change. He has written a comphrensive analysis of the NetAlert programme: the filters, the funding, the website, the campaign and the politics behind it. His writing would benefit from proofreading and better grammar, but his content is excellent. I can only find minor points to quibble with.

One thing I like is that he's focused on the topic, and is carefully evaluating and criticising policies from both major parties, rather than bagging the Goverment without reasoning. If this continues, he'll have a promising future in the political arena. (Poor kid!)

I'm not holding my breath, but Helen Coonan's department would be wise to follow the advice of Tom Wood. All it requires is a willingness to admit mistakes (not a strong point of many politicians) and reallocation of some of the funding set aside for filters.

Why is this so important? Because it's about the safety and well-being of our children. The Government is very good at telling us how dangerous life is for kids online, but rather weak at helping us keep kids safe. I'd prefer real safety.

  • 1
I did some investigation in this, despite my children being quite young (though my son is already playing on the net)

The "expert advice" is summed up as ...
- Filters for sub 13 yo, to reduce random undersirable matter.
- Talk with your children, advise of risks especially around releasing information and meeting with strangers.
- Only have online computers in public areas and perform "over the shoulder" monitoring.

I think I only really agree with the first two ... but hey ...

Yup. The points made are valid (some of them at least). But surely we can get something better than an out-of-touch booklet telling us to look after our kids. The TV ads could easily be changed to give actual advice, or to tell us a little about the risks.

I worry that we get a disproportionate view of the risks. It's not all about porn and predators. Yes, they're problems, but we shouldn't ignore bullying, self-esteem issues, legal issues, malware, etc. I used to dismiss all warnings as alarmist, until I heard Internet safety advocate Larry Magid giving a more balanced talk. Now I wish Australia could have a realistic online saftey programme as well.

  • 1