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FTC Says Virtual Worlds Bad For Minors

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the when-bureaucrats-attack dept.

Censorship 355

eldavojohn writes "A new report from the FTC is claiming minors have access to explicit content via online virtual worlds such as those found in online games. The report makes five recommendations to keep little Johnny away from the harms of Barrens chat: Use more effective age-screening mechanisms to prevent children from registering in adult virtual worlds; Use or enhance age-segregation techniques to make sure that people interact only with others in their age group; Re-examine language filters to ensure that they detect and eliminate messages that violate rules of behavior in virtual worlds; Provide more guidance to community enforcers in virtual worlds so they are better able to review and rate virtual world content, report potential underage users, and report any users who appear to be violating rules of behavior; and Employ a staff of specially trained moderators who are equipped to take swift action against rule violations."

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355 comments

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Or parents... (5, Insightful)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 4 years ago | (#30392982)

Or parents could be parents. Don't want you kids looking at something? Act as the filter don't let them buy/play games that expose them to things you don't want 'em to see....

Take some responsibility here folks!

Re:Or parents... (3, Funny)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393064)

But why? It so much easier to let the government spend our money and restrict the liberty of all for our lack of action. And there's this cool movie tonight on TV, so I'll think about it tomorrow.

Re:Or parents... (0, Offtopic)

haderytn (1232484) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393098)

But why? It so much easier to let the government spend our money and restrict the liberty of all for our lack of action. And there's this cool movie tonight on TV, so I'll think about it tomorrow.

What movie?

Re:Or parents... (0, Offtopic)

Megane (129182) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393170)

It's that one with that whatshername, you know the one that dated that guy, she's been in ALL the gossip shows lately.

Re:Or parents... (0, Offtopic)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393478)

Yes!! That's the one. It's gonna be great. What were we talking about again? Bah... We'll see tomorrow. The kids are online, they'll get to bed by themselves.

Re:Or parents... (2, Insightful)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393358)

They didn't restrict anything. They made recommendations. They are doing what a government is supposed to do. If they didn't, you wouldn't have safety in the workplace, safety in toys, safety against harmful chemicals, etc.

Re:Or parents... (2, Insightful)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393450)

They didn't restrict anything yet.

There, I fixed it for you.

Re:Or parents... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30393456)

They didn't restrict anything. They made recommendations. They are doing what a government is supposed to do. If they didn't, you wouldn't have safety in the workplace, safety in toys, safety against harmful chemicals, etc.

They recommended a bunch of things that cost the company running the virtual world money (and therefore cost their customers more) instead of telling parents to be responsible for their children.

Re:Or parents... (1)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393640)

What part of Recommendation do you not understand? The company is certainly within it's rights to ignore the recommendation, however if it makes sense, and children are likely to get online without parental consent or supervision, then why not? Your argument that it would cost the company more money is a rather broad statement. It could be something as simple as requiring a credit card number, which on the back end would be a database, and an additional authentication page when setting up the account.

Re:Or parents... (1)

Narpak (961733) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393080)

Or parents could be parents. Don't want you kids looking at something? Act as the filter don't let them buy/play games that expose them to things you don't want 'em to see....

Or better yet lobby for introducing mandatory implantation of filter chips directly into children's brain; tracking their movements, emotions and thoughts. That way bad and anti-social behaviour can be punished with electroshocks immediately. Remember it is all about keeping our children safe!!

Extreme measures call for extreme times (1)

handy_vandal (606174) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393312)

Or better yet lobby for introducing mandatory implantation of filter chips directly into children's brain; tracking their movements, emotions and thoughts.

Damn -- you beat me to it.

Okay, mister smarty pants. I'll see your brain chip, and raise you a remote-control kill-switch.

Oblig. South Park... (1)

Kemanorel (127835) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393356)

From the movie...

Cartman: Damn! Shit! Respect my fuckin' authoritayyy!
[shocks Saddam]
Saddam Hussein: You need to watch your mouth, brat.
Cartman: Dog-shit taco!
Saddam Hussein: Quick Satan! Do something!
Cartman: Try this on for size... Blood drenched frozen tampon popsicle!
Saddam Hussein: Hey, buddy! I know I was mean before. But don't worry - I can change!
Cartman: OK... not! Fuck, shit, cock, ass, titties, boner, bitch, muff, pussy, cunt, butthole, Barbra Streisand!

I, for one, welcome our new children overlords with electro shock abilities.

Re:Or parents... (5, Interesting)

tixxit (1107127) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393120)

Most people nowadays have liquor cabinets at home and beer in the fridge. In order to protect minors from consuming alcohol, we propose the following measures. Use more effective age-screening techniques to prevent kids from opening the bottles. Child-proof caps and lids would suit this purpose. Use or enhance age-segragation techniques to ensure kids aren't allowed access to parts of the house where the liquor resides. Re-examine consumption filters to ensure that bottles that are drunk by kids are detected and quickly discarded. Provide more guidance to household enforcers (other adults and siblings) to ensure they can accurately detect when a kid is getting drunk and report the kid or discard the bottle. Employ a household staff of specially trained moderators who can watch your kid like a hawk to ensure they don't consume alcohol.

Re:Or parents... (1)

dagamer34 (1012833) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393160)

Let me shorten that for you: If you're a parent, don't leave your child home alone. Thank you.

Re:Or parents... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30393526)

Whoosh!

Re:Or parents... (1)

Xphile101361 (1017774) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393568)

Ummm..... why?

When I was a little teenage brat, I never once sneaked into my parents liquor cabinets, or into the multiple cases of wine or beer. My parents would leave me for 4 day weekends at times, so it wasn't like I didn't have opportunity. If parents are worried about their kids drinking when they shouldn't be, then they need to beat some morals into the little brats.

Re:Or parents... (4, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393530)

Both of these are correct. I was exposed to a good amount of what would be called inappropriate content, but most of it was either through my parent of my peer group. My parents took me to museums and classical performances. At both, sometime the content was kind of explicit. My peer group had various materials as well which we all looked at. What we did not have was all this content which I allowed to viewed as a replacement for parenting. TV was much less graphic, and we did not have cable. I did not watch a lot of late night tv until I was well into high school. I did not watch the evening soaps alone. I was sent outside to play and learn about the graphic nature of the world for real, not in virtual reality. It was way more fun.

The liquor and other poisonous ingestibles are the same. All sane parents keep the kids away from these things.All sane parents make sure small children cannot get to the alcohol, drugs, or drain cleaner. Most of these have child proof caps for as a backup.

At some age, most kids will learn not to OD on drugs or drain cleaner. I think we all agree that some don't. Also, many parents will teach children about the proper dosage of drugs, alcohol, and the such. This is the serving you get of wine. This is the serving you get of beer. This is when you drink cognac. If you need an asprin, this is what you should take. Clearly not all parent teach such civility, just like not all parent teach how to set a table, which fork to use, or to open doors for others, but the many do.

But learning and teaching takes time, which is why children can just be set out on their own and be expected to make long term best decisions, which may not be spending 10 hours a day playing the video games, or for a 14 year old trolling for facebook to find an older man to go out with in hope of impregnation, then a house and child support.

Re:Or parents... (2, Funny)

wiredog (43288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393124)

Yes. Parents need to be pro-active [adequacy.org] in defending their children from online threats.

Re:Or parents... (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393362)

It took a little while before I realized that was satire...scary.

It was... (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393572)

The best internet troll ever. Not long after it was originally posted (back in '01) it appeared here. So many Slashdotters fell for it that the sheer number of comments (mostly bites on the troll) crashed the server.

It was awesome.

Re:Or parents... (5, Insightful)

Dotren (1449427) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393134)

Mod parent up.. beat me to the punch.

Parents should be the one who ultimately decide whether their kids are ready to join online worlds and, if they're not, prevent them from doing so.

We as a people should not need a government organization dictating what our children should or should not be exposed too. I realize it's politically incorrect to blame voting parents for anything these days but there is no government rules that will replace a good parenting. Furthermore, I'm starting to realize a good chunk of those pushing for things like this are parents who really don't want to put in the work to raise their children and instead would prefer the government or schools do it for them.

Re:Or parents... (1, Insightful)

cellurl (906920) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393286)

I agree with you, but let me share a story.
Friend of mine had 4 girl daughters, me, I had no kids.
I was blathering on about no-government, yadda, let parents decide if kids smoke dope, etc, when my friend with 4 daughters looked at me and said,
"I hear you, but when you become a parent, and your kids become teens, you will be thankful for any help from the government in this area".

I know now what he meant....

up to 30k [wikispeedia.org]

Re:Or parents... (2, Insightful)

Akira Kogami (1566305) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393558)

Sure, if the parenting help from the government actually worked. Kids can still get a hold of drugs and they can still watch porn.

Re:Or parents... (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393650)

So.... we want the government to watch parents with teenagers but we dont want them to help single or married people with no kids in the area of... oh I dunno Medical assistance? I call BS.

Re:Or parents... (1)

Aeros (668253) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393498)

Unfortunately so many parents have it in their mind that they don't actually need to take on this responsibility. They expect the teachers to also teach their kids morality instead of teaching it themselves. In my opinion these are the types of 'parents' that really do not deserve to have that title.

Re:Or parents... (2, Interesting)

MrTester (860336) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393586)

Mod Parent (both of them) down.

We as a people should not have to tell people to read the article before they run around spouting off.
Oh. Wait. This is slashdot. What am I thinking?

"I'm starting to realize a good chunk of those pushing for things like this..." Yeah. "Things like this" are reccomendations that people who are going to host a childrens site really ought to have moderators who can tell when a 20 year old pedophile is sending foul language to my 8 year old daughter on the Build-a-bear site and then do something about it.
HOW DARE THEY SUGGEST SUCH A THING.

I am a parent. And $#!@$ you for suggesting that it is lazy of me to expect Build-A-Bear to effectively prevent pedophiles from harassing my daughter on line. There is nothing in this article that states that these things must be implimented everywhere. Its meerly suggesting that sites that are targeted to kids need to make a better effort to protect children.

Re:Or parents... (4, Insightful)

SOdhner (1619761) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393326)

I'm not for a second saying that parents shouldn't take responsibility, but I have to say I've been humbled somewhat in this area and do think that whenever possible people should help parents do this by giving them the tools they need.

Not too long ago my house gained an eleven year old. Before that I just rolled my eyes and said "Parents need to just keep track of what the kids are watching" ... once she was there I suddenly became aware of just how hard that is. The commercials that play during otherwise acceptable shows, for example - not to mention all the problems with knowing what is and is not possible in an online game.

I don't want to see things censored, but I welcome voluntary attempts to make the colossal task of monitoring easier for parents.

Re:Or parents... (5, Insightful)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393480)

Why do people insist on trying to control everything their children do? Of course they'll get around it. The ONLY thing you can realistically do is teach them how to deal with things they may not understand, and educate them on what you don't like and why you don't like it. You're not raising a child. You're raising an adult. Teach them how to deal with life.

And yes, I do have a kid.

Re:Or parents... (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393448)

Take some responsibility here folks!

I am an entitled baby boomer and everything is someone else's fault.

I am also a politician.

Re:Or parents... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30393610)

Take some responsibility here folks!

Oh, HELL no.

That wouldn't be Change I Could Believe In!

Riiiiiiight... (5, Insightful)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#30392990)

All this is necessary because kids never hang out with older kids in REAL LIFE and hear those words from them! How about just teaching your kids what is and isn't appropriate -- eventually they are going to have to learn to cope with these bad influences anyway.

Re:Riiiiiiight... (1)

LOLLinux (1682094) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393034)

All this is necessary because kids never hang out with older kids in REAL LIFE and hear those words from them!

Or from their own parents.

Times have changed (3, Insightful)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393334)

Is "profane" language really such a concern anymore? Every I know who is under 40 tends to swear quite freely... having kids turns them into a hypocrite about the subject or what?

These concerns have always struck me as very unsophisticated... a belief in magical "bad" words seems pretty backward even by general religious standards... and if you're not religious, than what possible justification is used for the belief in "bad" words? Tradition?

Re:Times have changed (2, Insightful)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393382)

Alternately, everyone you know who is under 40 is a dick.

What's polite and what isn't doesn't make sense, for the most part. It just is. Magical "bad" words are there to let people know that you not only don't care for someone/thing, but you despise it.

Re:Times have changed (1)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393504)

and if you're not religious, than what possible justification is used for the belief in "bad" words? Tradition?

Social Norms. The words are neither "good" or "bad", but socially acceptable or not.

Re:Riiiiiiight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30393118)

Fuck yeah!

Re:Riiiiiiight... (1)

Gerafix (1028986) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393280)

Ah, see, that's the master plan. Soon enough we're going to have to keep the children in a secure location until they're say twenty years old. For their protection of course. In this secure location free from outside interference they will prosper under our Intensive National Deployment Orchestrated Child Transformable Responsible Improvement Naturalization Abiding Trust of Economists, or our INDOCTRINATE program for short.

Re:Riiiiiiight... (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393308)

All this is necessary because kids never hang out with older kids in REAL LIFE and hear those words from them! How about just teaching your kids what is and isn't appropriate -- eventually they are going to have to learn to cope with these bad influences anyway.

Exactly.

The world is not child-safe. There are movies, games, books, pictures, and people that your child probably shouldn't have access to.

Parents are supposed to actually raise their children. They're supposed to do the content filtering - not some computer program. And they're supposed to explain the content as it becomes appropriate for their children.

Re:Riiiiiiight... (1)

dlanod (979538) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393468)

Exactly! I know my wife and I occasionally let slip expletives of our choice... the natural follow-up to this law would be to remove our children because of it, or install devices in their ears that beeps out any such word until they're 16, 18 or 21 (depending on where you are in the world).

Suck me sideways! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30392998)

Fucking shit, never woulda guessed that!

The Internet is The Internet (1)

Dadamh (1441475) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393002)

If you are a parent with children, you have to be aware that the internet is not a child-safe place. Is it possible for a kid to abstain from porn and other explicit stuff online? Sure. Will they always be able to avoid all of it? Probably not.

It's not really the job of these virtual world companies to constantly police their worlds and take out everyone that says a naughty word. If you let your kids use the internet, they are going to see things you don't want them to.

Get over it.

Re:The Internet is The Internet (3, Insightful)

MrMr (219533) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393068)

Don't blame us parents, this is the FTC talking about control.

Re:The Internet is The Internet (1)

KDEnut (1673932) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393222)

I agree completely. Someone should remind the FTC that the REAL world is also bad for Minors and has been since shortly after it's inception, and that porn/cursing/bad behavior was every bit as accessible twenty years ago. Parenting is the modifier to the world's constants.

Oh really? I question the questionable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30393030)

Segregation would make everything fail. Its a fact.
People act like asses on the web because they can, and it is a good thing. It is also a good piece towards humor.
And most online games are "bad" to an adult, since the servers are filled with swearing ninjalooters most of the time. Or we could play EVE online, where we got 101% more backstabbing and bitching than other games, and this one is closer RL than most of the MMO's in WoWs style.
So i question this blatant joke of a research.

Re:Oh really? I question the questionable (1)

daveime (1253762) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393624)

Sounds like someone just got their Gallente Battleships salvaged out from under them. My ninja salvager runs on your tears. ROFLMAO OMGWTFBBQ KTHXBAI.

But seriously, that game is so addictive, even for 41 year old kids like me ;-)

FTC has it wrong about the specifics imo (1)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393042)

However they may be right for different reasons [penny-arcade.com] .

Got to keep them out of school too. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30393060)

Are they going to take the kids out of public schools as well? Online chat is nothing compared to what's talked about in the hallways of our middle schools and high schools.

Because the internet is worse than real life.... (2, Funny)

mayko (1630637) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393078)

Surely seeing profane language and a few distended assholes is much worse than smoking cigarettes, sneaking booze from your parents liquor cabinet, hearing older kids use profane language, and looking at some stolen porno magizines...

Kids have, and will always be kids. They will hear and do things before their parents willingly expose them to it... all except the distended assholes. That is definitely an unfortunate consequence of the internet.

Re:Because the internet is worse than real life... (1)

Pulse_Instance (698417) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393294)

A friend and I were out at Ikea buying some furniture and as we it onto the cart he drops it on his foot and says "Fuck!" Some lady we hadn't seen up to that point says "Excuse me, there are children here." My friend turns around and as politely as possible and says, "The world isn't censored"

My point being that more people need to realize that the world isn't censored, it will never be possible to censor the world and if you want your kids to not swear you need to teach them it is something you don't like so that they learn to hide the fact that they swear like a trucker when you aren't around.

Re:Because the internet is worse than real life... (1)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393578)

A friend and I were out at Ikea buying some furniture and as we it onto the cart he drops it on his foot and says "Fuck!" Some lady we hadn't seen up to that point says "Excuse me, there are children here." My friend turns around and as politely as possible and says, "The world isn't censored"

On the flip side, when your friend goes to the store and has to put up with someones kids who are running around yelling, screaming, and crying, he should remember that the world isn't censored.

Re:Because the internet is worse than real life... (1)

Archfeld (6757) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393652)

there is a difference between censorship and the expectation of polite behavior in public. While the quick response cursing due to injury is NOT unexpected, the lady wasn't out of line with her comment either.

Re:Because the internet is worse than real life... (1)

Interoperable (1651953) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393616)

If your argument is that internet porn is no worse than porn magazines, you are very wrong.

Censorship works great!!! (3, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393086)

Champions Online would let my daughter create a cat themed hero, but wouldn't let her name it "Pussy Cat"... I haven't tried naming a character "Dick Cheney" yet.

Re:Censorship works great!!! (1)

Maestro4k (707634) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393590)

Champions Online would let my daughter create a cat themed hero, but wouldn't let her name it "Pussy Cat"... I haven't tried naming a character "Dick Cheney" yet.

An MMO I play bans words based on a list, but the filter's stupid as can be and matches the words wherever they show up. So you can't say glasses, because there's a bad word in it. Can't say assassin either (and there are mobs called assassins in the game.) Other things that get blocked are any sentence with "put a" in it (because without the space it's a bad word in Spanish apparently); grape; sentences with stuff like "push it" in them; and lots, lots more.

The end result? The censor pretty much only works on people trying to talk normally (that is, no intentional bad words). All the teens/pre-teens who want to say offensive stuff bypass the filter by changing spellings. Oh, and thanks to the weird censoring of stuff like "put a", players have learned new bad words that they didn't know before.

Trying to censor stuff in chat is just doomed to failure, and if done really poorly (like the above), it becomes nothing but a joke. Not to mention that even if you could somehow magically keep all offensive language out of MMOs the kids will just hear the stuff from their peers at school anyway.

Sounds good to me (1)

Rix (54095) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393096)

I would much rather not have to deal with other people's children or silly rules to protect them. Build kiddie pools and throw the little snots and the content filters in them.

Re:Sounds good to me (3, Insightful)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393284)

I would much rather not have to deal with other people's children or silly rules to protect them. Build kiddie pools and throw the little snots and the content filters in them.

Except that isn't how it will work.

The reason we need things like this in the first place is because parents aren't doing their job. If parents were paying enough attention to realize that Grand Theft Auto probably wasn't child safe... Or if parents were actually explaining what is appropriate language and behavior... It wouldn't be necessary to come up with these rules and filters to protect them.

The fact of the matter is that many parents just toss their kids in front of videogames. It's easier than actually parenting them yourself. It keeps them distracted and quiet while you go do your thing. Except that not all videogames are child-safe. And weeding out the child-safe ones from the adult titles would require effort these folks are obviously not interested in expending. So the ultimate goal here would be to render absolutely everything child-safe.

Which means that all your videogames would become kiddie pools. And even though you're an adult, you'd have to put up with the content filters and rules that are designed to protect the children of these lazy parents.

Sure it would (1)

Rix (54095) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393440)

Second Life manages perfectly well to keep child safe areas alongside the most disturbing furry wtfery without mixing the two.

Nanny Business (2, Interesting)

SirAstral (1349985) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393106)

We already know the details of nanny government and all that jazz... but when are the businesses going to stand up, pool their money and fight being pushed into becoming nannys themselves? They may think its cool now to have a little power, but soon they will start getting sued by parents for not keeping their little dissident children in line. It won't be facebook, craigslist, and myspace being sued. It will be the companies that run games like WOW, Everquest, EVE, and the rest getting sued for the GM's and Dev's not keeping predators out of the game world.

People are a sleep at the wheel here!

You may have a bigger problem... (1)

LordDax (703437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393116)

If they can figure out how to get an MMO up installed, port forwarded and running with good FPS and low lat, you might want to also try asking your ISP to not allow them to download anything else to "My-book-reports-and-class-notes" which happens to be over 1gig in size...

Re:You may have a bigger problem... (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393464)

Port forwarded? running with good FPS and low lat?

What century do you live in?

Bad for minors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30393122)

I always thought that gold minors were an important part of many virtual wolrds.

Virtual (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30393136)

The Real World (TM) ain't too good for them, either. Of course, I have to no clue what FTA is about, nor does it faintly relate to the title.

Oh the irony... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30393138)

Parents telling the government to 'think of the children'. Parents not knowing what their children are doing online.

Dear Parents,

You gave your kid a computer and access to the Internet with little or no supervision or restriction. What the FUCK were you thinking?

Sincerely,
Someone who's thinking of your children for you!

p.s. If you thought the zombie box was bad 20 years ago, you're in for a world of hurt with the Internet.

Age gating (1)

Pulse_Instance (698417) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393140)

I'm pretty sure that is impossible to build effective age restrictions into the internet. The one article mentions that some of the worlds set it up so that if you enter a birthday that says you are too young they block you from creating an account with a different birthday from the same computer. This only hurts households with multiple users and only needs to happen on one world for the kids to learn that they need to enter that they are over the legal age the first time.

Keep the kids away from the rest of us (3, Funny)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393142)

the most irritating people in these virtual worlds are the damn teenagers - I'm all for separating out the populations or at least allowing me to filter out messages from kids. Most adults have at least some level of decorum.

Re:Keep the kids away from the rest of us (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30393354)

Most adults have at least some level of decorum.

What Internet are you on, and how do I sign up?

Teen Second Life (1)

Neuroelectronic (643221) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393146)

I wonder if this was in any way brought about by my 200-story-tall penis avatar that I built in Teen Second Life.

For what it's worth (5, Insightful)

nightfire-unique (253895) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393154)

I'm of the opinion that the "real world" with all its war, police brutality, marketing, religion, fear and suffering is worse.

Really... are sex and swear words that bad?

Re:For what it's worth (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393394)

Swear words, maybe not. Sex? Yes. Let's see. We have STD's, broken families/divorce, sexual abuse, domestic violence, emotional trauma... all very closely, in varying degrees, tied to sex.

Yes, I am of the opinion that adultery in a marriage has very, very severe adverse effects on a marriage, which in turn very adversely affects all in that family - especially the children. And yes, I do think that porn brings similar issues along with it.

It seems that the world today wants to base many things on trust and honor, but nobody wants to take personal responsibility in relationships even to have that trust. Many seem to dislike untrustworthy corporations, politicians, and banks, and yet get all upset if their spouse thinks it a horrible thing that she can't trust him around other women, or alone in Las Vegas, or whatever.

People apparently like to think that trust, morality, ethics, and all those good things are what other people should do so that I can benefit from them, but that I should be able to do whatever I want, as long as it doesn't hurt* anyone.

* By "hurt" I apparently only mean direct physical harm.

Please note the sarcasm :)

Re:For what it's worth (1)

dlanod (979538) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393522)

They are when politicians think they can convince people to vote for them based on it...

Plus sex and swear words don't have a real lobby group, unlike police brutality, marketing, and religion.

Re:For what it's worth (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30393542)

The real world is worse and, as a public school employee (no, not an english teacher you swarmy grammar nazis) in the midwest, i can tell you that most parents don't want to be, they would rather let the gov't raise them (no responsibility/no fault).

Having said that though, the real enemy of the kids is rarely mentioned: Poverty. A lot of the kids at my school dont' have parents because they work insane hours just to barely make ends meet and are often single parent homes, and the kids as a result end up with nothing including manners/guidance/sense.

What happens is the gov't steps in and they get free lunch free books etc and so when it comes time for them to take responsibility for anything they just shrug, someone else got them this far, why should they worry/care?

disclaimer: there are no easy answers, i'm just stating facts as i see them every day.

Out of touch bureaucrats? (5, Insightful)

bughunter (10093) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393198)

I'm convinced that most adults, especially those who claim the mantle of "protecting the children" forget what it's like to be a child.

I mean, come on. Don't you guys remember the ribald jokes told as early as the first grade, and the whole fascination with that mysterious, taboo subject that nobody who talked about it really understood, and nobody who understood it talked about it?

I am a parent of a five year old, and I'm far more concerned about advertisements and commercials than I am worried that he'll overhear a reference to boobies or weiners. Exposure to "adult subjects?" Please. Like you never told a joke about headlights or train tunnels when you were six, or sung the "Miss Lucy" song.

And as for chat rooms and other "predator" hangouts, well, that's another level of threat... one that the media has a whole other set of objectivity problems with. (And common sense and involvement with your child is all it takes to manage that threat.)

Re:Out of touch bureaucrats? (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393408)

I mean, come on. Don't you guys remember the ribald jokes told as early as the first grade, and the whole fascination with that mysterious, taboo subject that nobody who talked about it really understood, and nobody who understood it talked about it?

I must have had really cool parents. They introduced me to James Bond movies at a very early age, and my dad and I watched lots of violent kung fu films. I could seduce sexy Russian double agents and break a man's spine with my index finger by the age of 10, although I admit the opportunities to do so were few and far between.

My mom taught me to play blackjack at age 12, and we had a rollup felt Craps "table" that was the most requested item for family game night. I started counting cards on my own by age 14 when I noticed that the player had an advantage when the deck was heavy with face cards.

Somehow, some way, I managed to steep clear of organized crime and general ne'er-do-wellism in later life.

Ten years down the line... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30393202)

FTC: "You can't do that in public" Woman: "Huh?" FTC: "You can't nurse a child, THEY MIGHT SEE A BREAST"

Parenting only goes so far (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30393204)

I've been in Second Life and wandered innocently (naively? probably.) into some places that I didn't want to be, much less want a minor to be.

No surprise (5, Insightful)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393228)

I remember when I was a minor on the internet I had access to explicit content.

You know what they're really missing here? Teenaged boys are looking for explicit content and you'll never be able to stop them from finding it.

Prevent Beneficial Interaction (5, Interesting)

The Raven (30575) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393250)

This whole segregation thing is crap. 95% of interactions between a child and an adult are positive. Segregation leads to 'Lord of the Flies' inbreeding of immature thought. Mixed company is the proper company for a child to have to learn how to grow up to be a sane, responsible, rounded individual.

Look at our history... children didn't grow up in segregated 'child only' areas... they grew up working with their parents and community members. They were exposed to life.

I'm of the opinion that over 95% of interactions between a child and adult are positive. How many of you have grouped with an obviously young kid, and helped them through an instance? Asked them to please be more polite, or type neatly, or don't ninja all the loot? Grouping, chatting, and talking with more mature players is what helps children learn maturity (at least in the context of an MMO).

Perhaps some of the other points of the article have merit, but I'm quite against age segregation. We are a community... act like it.

Re:Prevent Beneficial Interaction (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393410)

95% of interactions between a child and an adult are positive.

On Xbox live? Hell, I'd say we're doing this just as much to keep the adults away from the kids.

true in the real world, too (3, Interesting)

loshwomp (468955) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393256)

[...] minors have access to explicit content via online virtual worlds [...]

Minors have access to "explicit" content in the real world, too. How is this any different? Are these concerns merely puritanical in nature, or is there evidence that this is actually harmful?

Who needs terrorists... (5, Funny)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393266)

Who needs terrorists when children are doing such a great job of destroying our society?

Re:Who needs terrorists... (1)

Gerafix (1028986) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393462)

To be fair it's mindless bureaucrats trying to justify their existence. I would imagine that if children were actually running the country it would turn out a whole lot more sensible, at least more Crayony and plushy.

3. Profit! (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393274)

...; Seal little Johnny away in a hermetic reality bubble lest he experience anything that might alarm him or his parents; ...

Stop it. Just stop. (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393296)

Either make the .kid domain with strict regulations/requirements and legal fines if you don't follow them.

Another radical idea would be for parents to do their job of parenting and just stop annoying us with all of this. The internet is just like the real world, not all places are kid-friendly. Parents should know that.

Even age itself, for adults, doesn't quite cut it. Some people just can't handle some types of content while others can.

USA Puritans (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30393388)

just remember, the US was founded in part by the Puritans, people so stuffy that the ENGLISH couldn't stand them.

Conservatism: (1)

edraven (45764) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393414)

The belief that there are certain things which it is of vital importance not to appear to condone.

FTC (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393424)

Why does the Federal *TRADE* Commission give a fuck what is going on with kids in online settings? Isn't this the domain of the FCC?

Regulatory group calls for more regulation (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30393426)

Imagine that, a group that regulates content calls for stricter regulation of content on a new medium.

I guess they are just as into job security as the rest of us.

Parents need to control online access (1)

Interoperable (1651953) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393430)

Children just can't be left unsupervised on the internet until they are old enough to make proper decisions. I don't understand why parents (and governments) feel that the internet needs to be made child-proof; it just isn't and it never will be. Computers need to be left in common rooms with access restricted whenever the parents aren't home.

Virtual World Bad For MInors, But (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30393434)

REAL WORLD via your six o'clock news is OK.

The U.S. is a joke.

Yours In Yasnogorsk,
Kilgore T.

No such thing as bad words. (5, Insightful)

2obvious4u (871996) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393436)

I've got four kids and I've taught them that there is not such things as bad words. Words are a tool of language; its how you use them that matters. There is nothing wrong with the word bitch, especially when used in the proper context. Our genitalia have proper anatomically correct terms, penis and vagina. There is a proper place to use words, you don't talk about penises and vagina in proper company or in public places, the words are not bad, but it is rude because it might offend or embarrass others. The idea that a word is naughty or bad is just as wrong as saying that sex is naughty or bad. None of us would be here without sex, including test-tube babies since at some point in history their grandparents or great-grandparents weren't test tube babies.

Censorship of thoughts and language of any kind is a bad thing. If you censor a word or call it bad, it will just be replaced by an innuendo or another innocent word will acquire its meaning. Language is like the internet, it too views censorship as damage and routes around it.

Re:No such thing as bad words. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30393668)

I very much agree there. Words just convey thoughts, and banning one word just creates another in its place. I laugh at censorship on TV where they replace "bad" words with poor voice overs...

"Forget you!"

"Frag off!"

"This drek tastes like dog poo" etc

Since the meaning is still being conveyed through actions and tone, nothing has been censored, but you have prevented someone from utilizing Fuck and Shit in their evolved ways. Next, they will have to start banning common words because they will hold the new meaning.

"I totally fast-forwarded Suzy in the tail-lights last night, then I pulled out and french fried her back, it was AWESOME!"

Facepalm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30393438)

*facepalm*

Got to love government mentality, find a problem with an insanely simple answer, and complicate it beyond all logic. Their called "Parents", if they aren't doing their jobs you've got a lot bigger problem their kids seeing some dirty words or even a little porno online. In a sane world I could understand every site/game/virtual world having a self applied voluntary rating tag, but if it was ever required by law I could just see it being used for ISP level filtering, harassment of host companies, ect. The internet has grown so successfully for one reason above all others, Freedom (of information). Its a pity that whenever governments see "freedom" and "successful" used to describe any one thing they get the uncontrollable urge to regulate.

Parents need to be Parents (2, Interesting)

Stregano (1285764) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393452)

If you are a parent and you are truly that worried, then stop paying for your kid to play WoW. Don't filter a MMO and downgrade it for us. It starts with filters and then just expands and makes the good online games dull. If you don't want your child to do something, don't let them. It is not Blizzard's or SOE's fault little Timmy showed his wang to his class, it is your fault. Maybe you should have taught him that is not acceptable to do. Not all parents are like this. Some parents out there still do a great job parenting, but the parents that want to censor games instead of just not letting their kids play them, GRR! (that is my way of not getting flagged for flamebait and stopping).

Get a clue people!!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30393494)

All I have to say is that this is one of the inherent problems with Linux. Rather than the nice, logical, pristine system registry that Windows has you have a big mess of .conf files scattered all over the various disk partitions. Even the clean, responsive WIndows-type GUI cannot be found in Linux. You're stuck with some cobbled-together GUI if you're lucky. Most of the time you are left using a terminal shell like the the DOS dinosaur days.

I don't want to edit a hacked-up .conf file to get my modem to work, to get my video card's refresh rate correct, or to hear my speaker beep, thank you. I will stick with Windows, which has been around for years and is the most user-friendly operating system on the planet.

Heck, I remember back a few years ago our company's IT guy had the brainstorm of replacing our accounting system computers with Linux. After he found he couldn't get the accounting software to work on them the big boss yelled at him so bad that the poor guy broke down crying and swore he'd never try to push that Linux crap again. Can't say I blame him...

3.3 (5, Funny)

Wiarumas (919682) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393496)

Sounds like someone at the FTC got ninja looted by a minor.

needs a "nosh*tsherlock" tag (1)

MoFoQ (584566) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393562)

I think this one needs a no shit sherlock tag (and perhaps a pedobear icon)....

but yea...there's plenty of cursing in the game world...not just virtual worlds in MMOs.

But then again...if you consider the fact that in MMO's...you're hacking or slicing or using magic or something to kill and destroy....yea....at the very least, it should be rated "PG-13"

It's actually a big problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30393606)

It's actually pretty bad. I used to play an online Flash game that was heavily used by kids. This game had an auto-loading chat room on the side. I remember there were times when some of the users would repeatedly say some very disgusting sexual things in the chat room. Over and over again, going into extreme detail. The chatroom, at the time was very clunky, and not at all easy to set the ignore function. I remember feeling pretty nauseated that these kids (I'm guessing some were 9,10,11,12 based on what they were talking about) were subjected to this kind of trash.

They're the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30393642)

I just want to point out that a lot of the acts the FTC is aiming to protect children from are actually perpetrated by the children themselves.

Whenever I see or hear racial slurs, or comments I would consider inappropriate for public forums, they always seem to be spouted by those with the language comprehension of a 3rd to 9th grader. Most adults who pay their own subscription to these worlds aim to do better things with their time then spamming trade chat with inappropriate or blatantly offensive messages.

That said, I'm all for it. Get the little buggers off my virtual lawn and let them have their own sandbox.

"Age segregation" = "knowledge segregation" (1)

ZorbaTHut (126196) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393666)

Y'know, I remember when I was going online in my early teen years. I remember chatting with people online about all manner of things. Yeah, I went into a few cybersex chatrooms for the thrill of it, I hung out in adult discussion channels.

I learned from it.

I talked to 25-year-olds and 35-year-olds about philosophy. I spectated on public cybersex, and learned things about human behavior and desire. I watched people wiser and smarter than I was make good decisions after good decision, then fuck up, do something stupid, and recover from it.

Humanity learns from its elders. That is the way it has always been. The older ones teach the younger ones, the younger ones mull over what they've been taught and improve it, the younger ones become the older ones, the cycle continues. Why are we trying to break this? Children today are kept in the dark more than in any point in history - should we lock them in a small steel box, isolated from human interaction, until they're 18 and magically an adult?

I was emotionally mature early. Everyone I talked to said so. They said that at 16, I was wiser and smarter than a lot of their peers. And now I look back on who I was then and realize I knew nothing, but, indeed, I was still far ahead of the curve. Today, I give out advice to people, just like I was given advice to back then, and I know for a fact I've helped the lives of many people, I've given them a philosophical kickstart and pushed their lives onto good tracks.

And in twenty years, they'll be doing the same thing as I did, only even better because they'll have started from a better position, thanks to my efforts.

These recommendations are actively dangerous to the progression of humanity.

Don't forget the Vent server (1)

AutumnLeaf (50333) | more than 4 years ago | (#30393670)

My 14-year old cousin transferred to my realm and sometimes is on vent with us. The conversation drifted off into the sophomoric-put-down gutter and some of the digs had me raising an eyebrow about my cousin being in channel until I saw he was commenting in raid chat "haha - that was awesome. LOL! Oooooh - snap - I'm going to use that on my brother!"

In any case, unless all forms of communication are removed except strict emotes... the problem's not solvable.

 

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