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Most Parents Allow Unsupervised Internet Access To Children At Age 8

samzenpus posted 1 year,14 days | from the how-old? dept.

The Internet 198

colinneagle writes "The timing for this study is interesting, given the arrests of two teenagers believed to have bullied a 12-year-old classmate until she committed suicide, but Microsoft found that 94% of parents said they allow their kids unsupervised access to at least one device or online service like email or social networks. The average age at which most children are allowed access to at least one online service, such as email or social media, was 8 years old, while 40% allow children under the age of 7 to access a computer unsupervised."

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my dady (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45148079)

lets me poop on tha inernets

Bad Idea, (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45148085)

8 years old supervised, 12 unsupervised but monitored and 16+ unmonitored.

Re:Bad Idea, (5, Insightful)

Defenestrar (1773808) | 1 year,14 days | (#45148183)

It's the parenting and maturity of the kid that counts; environment plays a role too.

Another problem with a statement like this is that "unsupervised" can mean a lot of things. When I was on a farm I had "unsupervised" access to my dirt bike at age five or so - even had chores which required its use about a mile away from the house (although I don't remember when the close in tasks/riding moved up to the further away ones). I bet my parents still kept an ear open and an eye on the clock while I was out on it and it's a sure thing that they spent the time making sure I knew what I was doing and how much trouble I'd be in if I went past the limits.

Other tools are the same way - knives, hand tools, power tools, guns (again environment is important - I was on a farm out in the country where there were active bounties on certain pests as well as other hazards (suspected rabid animals which needed putting down, etc...)), and even the internet. So, either parents these days are being reckless with their children's safety, or they've gotten a reasonable handle on how to teach their kids about limits and safety on the 'net. Personally, I think it's more of the latter than the former - but of course there's no test required to become a parent other than the physical.

Oh, if someone want's to play the "what if a pedophile targets your kid" card, I'll just say that there are tools to deal with that situation too - pretty much the same list as earlier ;)

Re: BULLSHIT (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45148411)

BULLSHIT.

You claim that at age 5 you had chores that required you to ride a mile from home on a dirtbike, and you were unsupervised during this time.

BULLSHIT.

No five year old has ever possessed the physical and mental skills necessary to accomplish this. You may have started your riding lessons at age 5, and you may have had some supervised rides out to the location where you later did chores by yourself, but I'll bet dollars to donuts that if you call your parents they'll tell you that you didn't have unsupervised chores a mile from home until you were at least 8 and probably closer to 10.

Re: BULLSHIT (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45148453)

... my mother was driving the tractor on the farm at age five. What kind of moronic five year olds do you know?

Re: BULLSHIT (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45148553)

You are a fucking shutin idiot if you dont think the poster you are replying to is actually fairly typical of a more rural area. Or even go back 30 years ago in the suburbs. 5 year old are much more capable than you presume.

Re: BULLSHIT (4, Insightful)

VortexCortex (1117377) | 1 year,14 days | (#45148909)

Not them, but I rode my bicycle to and from elementary school starting at 1st grade... Age 5. I also had to help KILL, GUT, AND COOK food. Take a trip to any 3rd world country and you'll see kids younger than 5 helping out.

Your culture is bullshit. Thats why your kids are bullshit. That's why your parents are bullshit and try to censor the kids against reality... You laugh when little boys are DUMBER than 3rd world nation kids -- You laugh because boys think girls have penises and girls think that boys don't; Then you wonder why the ignorance leads to teen pregnancy. You shelter them from the reality of how their favorite foods make it to the table; Then you wonder why they don't give a damn about decades long wars that kill hundreds of thousands of INNOCENT people. You are the bullshit.

At age 8 I was reading about black holes in science magazines and had taught myself how to code in GW-BASIC and created a lesson plan / grade manager program (basically a custom spreadsheet w/ reports) for my Geography teacher, and was selling my software on Compuserve. My parents let me do, read and watch whatever I wanted, and stay up as long as I liked as long as I was respectful and my responsibilities were met: Chores done, and I went to school the next day. They respected that I was a sentient being. It's too bad your parents treated you like bullshit.

Re: BULLSHIT (5, Insightful)

narcc (412956) | 1 year,14 days | (#45149121)

At age 8 I was reading about black holes in science magazines and had taught myself how to code in GW-BASIC

So you were a perfectly average 8-year-old in the 1980's. Good for you.

It was a different time. Kids today have advantages we would have killed for, sure, but they also face different problems. Parents also face dramatically different social and legal pressures.

When we were kids, it wasn't a big deal to ride your bike a few miles to a friends house, not checking in until after dark to ask if you can stay over night. Today, you're face would end up on the news before lunch, and net your parents a few visits from social services.

Christ, just look at shit like this [live5news.com] . If it were satire, it would be too implausible to be funny, but that's reality.

Why can't little Johnny code? Because we suspended him for planning out a game where you shot alien space ships with guns. The Horror!

Blame "culture" if you want, but it's a culture we've created. We're not kids any more. This is our world now. We did this. We're the ones who allow nonsense like the above to continue unchecked.

What are you going to do about it?

Re: Pics or it didn't happen? Well, about that... (2)

Defenestrar (1773808) | 1 year,14 days | (#45148935)

Now we were poor and didn't have a video camera, but I'm pretty sure my parent's photo album still has several shots of me zipping through the alfalfa. Perhaps the following will help your perception of what a five year old kid can do:

5 YO on a 50 cc Yamaha [youtube.com]

Another 5 YO on a 50 cc bike [youtube.com]

This one has a 3 YO [youtube.com] But mine didn't have training wheels.

My parents weren't reckless though; I was at least 6 before my dad removed the speed governor.

Re: BULLSHIT (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45149065)

I used to drive the tractor while feeding out hay to the cattle. When I started school as a 5 year old my kid sister took over.

I used to wonder the district - I went as far as as 15km before I started school. Most days I would turn up back home at lunch time but not always.

Re: BULLSHIT (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45149189)

Who the fuck modded this crap up? Havent the examples already quoted been enough to show how full of shit this guy is?

Re:Bad Idea, (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45149031)

On average, 113 youth less than 20 years of age die annually from farm-related injuries (1995 -2002), with most of these deaths occurring to youth 16-19 years of age (34%).
Of the leading sources of fatal injuries to youth, 23% percent involved machinery (including tractors), 19% involved motor vehicles (including ATVs), and 16% were due to drowning.
Injuries
Every day, about 243 agricultural workers suffer a lost-work-time injury. Five percent of these injuries result in permanent impairment.
In 2009, an estimated 16,100 youth were injured on farms; 3,400 of these injuries were due to farm work.

Just because you did it, or you can do it, doesn't mean you should do it. In other words, your example might be a great example of what NOT to do.

Re:Bad Idea, (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45149155)

I was on a farm out in the country

Yet, sadly, you managed to get access to the Internet, to the dismay the rest of us.

where there were active bounties on

even the internet.

Apparently they weren't offering enough. Do they take Paypal? I'll cheerfully donate, if it means not having to read your drivel here again.

Seriously, turn off the generator, Opie, and go to bed.

Re:Bad Idea, (1)

KiloByte (825081) | 1 year,14 days | (#45148273)

8 years old supervised, 12 unsupervised but monitored and 16+ unmonitored.

You meant: 1.5 unsupervised but monitored. At that age a non-stupid kid can operate a tablet well enough to turn it on and, eg, browse youtube categories.

That's one of my nephews. For the other one, his parents tried to keep him away from computers, but they visit relatives often enough that they gave up at the age of 3 and merely limit the time spent.

Supervising school-age children: ha ha ha. Monitoring might be doable early on, but only in the first few school years unless you're a nazi. I happen to know a 11 years old who's semi-competent at Unix sysadmin tasks; had I a kid of my own I'd strive for something of this kind rather than try to bring up a luddite.

Re:Bad Idea, (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45148279)

Only an IDIOT thinks that way.

have any idea how fucked up a 16-17 year old can get if he/she starts really chasing down the porn out there? that age can not handle Snuff or the other really sick shit out there. There is a rabbit hole of porn on the net that most 20-40 year olds get screwed up badly on. Yes the 18 year old brain is far more mature than the 16 year old IT's a proven scientific fact.

Only a complete moron would let a 16 year old unrestricted on the internet. Just like letting them go unrestricted or unmonitored with friends. You need to vet their friends and extract them from the scumbags. Because a lot of the kids they meet their age are pieces of shit. For example the 12 year old and 14 year old girls in the article..... Complete and total pieces of shit.

Re:Bad Idea, (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45148345)

What about in real life?

Do you honestly constantly monitor your 8 year old 24x7?

At age 4 I was already allowed to walk to friends houses that were a few blocks away.

By age 8, I was playing alone in the woods next to a highway.

By 14, I was staying up all night with my friends playing RPGs.

At 16, I got a girlfriend, and suddenly I needed a curfew.

Re:Bad Idea, (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45148713)

Here too, bro.

When I was 4, I walked 3/4 of a mile to a neighbor's house, cutting through a cornfield along the way, just to bring back a few quarts of strawberries for my mom.

When I was 8, I hung out unsupervised in that very cornfield lighting off firecrackers with kids 8, 9 and 10 years old.

By 10, we all walked along the interstate to the truckstop to look for half-smoked cigarettes on the ground left behind by truckers.

By 12, we were picking jimson weed along the highway to mix in with the cigarettes.

At 13, I was hanging out with 15 and 16 year olds who knew where to get pot.

By 14, I was one of those kids who knew where to get pot.

At 16, my source of pot introduced me to meth. I soon was selling it to one of my friends' mom in exchange for sexual favors (unprotected).

At 17, I got arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and possesion of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, was tried as an adult and spent 18 months in prison.

Now I'm 27, I've been clean for 9 years and work as a social worker with kids/young adults whose parents, like mine, couldn't be bothered to supervise them. This is real life.

Re:Bad Idea, (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45148817)

Spent my mod points.

Deserves "+1 Thread Over".

Re:Bad Idea, (1)

Pubstar (2525396) | 1 year,14 days | (#45149125)

The samefag is strong with this one. Seriously AC posting to another AC about how its "thread over" Nice try AC. Nice try.

Re:Bad Idea, (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45149169)

The samefag is strong with this one. Seriously AC posting to another AC about how its "thread over" Nice try AC. Nice try.

I agree, this smacks of an unsupervised 12-year-old.

Re:Bad Idea, (2, Informative)

flaming error (1041742) | 1 year,14 days | (#45149075)

That is *your* real life. Others of us didn't become drug dealers.

Re:Bad Idea, (1)

Pubstar (2525396) | 1 year,14 days | (#45149171)

I learned causality from gaming early on, I didn't learn it from my parents. I was unsupervised from 14 going on (with very lax supervision) when I was 10. I got into drugs... 'responsibly'. I never let them take over my life and interfere with me being a normal person. His real life is due to his poor decisions, not due to his parents lack of supervision. I turned out fine.

Re:Bad Idea, (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45149219)

I suspect that his point was that proper parental supervision might (or should) have prevented it, not that everyone becomes drug dealers. Or, anyway, that's how I read it.

Re:Bad Idea, (2)

Pubstar (2525396) | 1 year,14 days | (#45149153)

At 16, how were you able to get meth and sell it for sexual favors without repaying the guy for meth? If you make up stories, try to make them believable. Seriously, as someone who was exposed to some weird shit when they were younger, and I was getting stoned and spending most of my class time getting drunk in high school. After highschool I got heavily into RCs, MDMA, and other designer drugs. Guess what? I was able to still run my own side business, go to school, and hold a full time job. I was never really supervised after I turned 14. All I fail to see is someone who really lacked focus in their life. Mine wasn't given to me by my parents, I just wanted that bank. I saw that being a total fuckup like the people I hung out with in HS was going to lead me nowhere fast, so I broke away from them to make it for myself. Maybe I'm different, but if I was getting laid by my friends mom to fuel her drug habit, I'd be looking down that road and wondering if I really wanted to take that. Maybe you were just too weak minded to have that foresight. Or maybe it was games teaching me early on that if I fuck up now and screw off, its going to be a long and painful path to the end boss.

Re:Bad Idea, (2)

Xicor (2738029) | 1 year,14 days | (#45148439)

i was unsupervised at 8, unsupersed at 12 and heavily monitored at 15+. my parents didnt like me watching porn.

Yup, I'm one of those parents... (4, Interesting)

t0qer (230538) | 1 year,14 days | (#45148099)

My kids are 4 and 7. They've been exposed to computers as early as possible. We play a lot of minecraft. The 7 year old has graduated to looking at odd things on youtube and "Movie Star Planet" She loves to tell me, "If you search Justin Beiber on google, it says, "Justin Beiber eats poop"

I think it's good.

Just last week I'm building a PC and the older one wants to help. It wasn't a full build, just plugging in cables. I was in shock though, she pretty much knew where everything was supposed to go. She just lacked the hand/eye to wiggle things in correctly.

In school they're both far ahead of their peers in terms of reading and typing.

Re:Yup, I'm one of those parents... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45148159)

Have you ever been to a university library using a computer recently, when you notice a freshman sitting in the corner somehow was able to get porn on his screen and is kneading his dick in a brightly-lit space full of people?

I never thought I'd see that kind of thing until I witnessed firsthand what was obviously the offspring of a Gen-X'er. And it makes sense, because apparently that's all young millenials do all day instead of riding bikes and playing sports as I did when I was a kid. And for the record, I know not to wipe my nose or dance to my earphones, or even knead or otherwise touch my penis in public unlike most college underclassmen now.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:Yup, I'm one of those parents... (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45148175)

You're right, the existence of one idiot who hasn't learnt how to behave in a social situation is proof that an entire generation is doomed. And you're right, adding "Ethanol-fueled" to the end of it means it's okay to push that kind of waffle as rational thought, but have a get out clause when someone calls you on it.

Grow up, learn to reason, and stop drinking if you can't control yourself after you've done it.

Re:Yup, I'm one of those parents... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45148249)

Off topic: I'm not Ethanol-fueled, but he probably has mod points and wants to mod in here later. I've had a steady stream of them over the past month and I'm doing the same thing.

On-topic: here we go with the sancti-mommy and -daddy posts. My five-year-old has pretty much unsupervised access to the internet while I'm getting ready for work and my wife is trying to get some last bit of sleep in, which he uses to watch people on youtube showing off lego creations or transformers, or he'll turn on some cartoon on Netflix for him and his three-year-old sister. Bite me, perfect parents who control every aspect of your kid's life. Teens were emotionally damaged by bullying, or morally damaged by porn or violence, or whatever conclusions TFA is trying to draw from this statistic, long before the Internet.

Re:Yup, I'm one of those parents... (1)

godel_56 (1287256) | 1 year,14 days | (#45148297)

Teens were emotionally damaged by bullying, or morally damaged by porn or violence, or whatever conclusions TFA is trying to draw from this statistic, long before the Internet.

Yeah, I'm sure that eight year-olds had easy access to horse porn long before the internet came along.

Re: Yup, I'm one of those parents... (2)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | 1 year,14 days | (#45148327)

They had easy access to horses instead. Or whatever other livestock.

A child can be morally corrupted without parental supervision, absence of the internet or not.

Re:Yup, I'm one of those parents... (2)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | 1 year,14 days | (#45148447)

Yeah, I'm sure that eight year-olds had easy access to horse porn long before the internet came along.

If they grew up on a farm, you betcha!

Re:Yup, I'm one of those parents... (3, Interesting)

Minupla (62455) | 1 year,14 days | (#45148549)

Perhaps not horse porn, but I knew where the kids stashed their playboy collections in a vacant lot.

Re:Yup, I'm one of those parents... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45148617)

The ones on farms did. That's what older siblings are *for*.

Re:Yup, I'm one of those parents... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45148207)

I'm unclear, are you complaining that the younger guys and gals get more frequent and portable exercises with a higher endorphin payout?

Re:Yup, I'm one of those parents... (3, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | 1 year,14 days | (#45148225)

Yeah, it's actually really depressing going to public libraries these days, how many people you can see just using the public computers for porn.

In an edifice full of the wisdom of millenia, instead they are looking at porn.

Re:Yup, I'm one of those parents... (1)

Artifakt (700173) | 1 year,14 days | (#45148583)

I find this a little depressing too, when I consider just how much porn there is out there, how easy it is to find. The idea that these individuals somehow need more of it, enough that they will go to the extra trouble of trying to get more in public, on systems that are usually trying to make finding it more difficult, around people who must be indicating some sort of annoyance at least now and then. Often they are at risk of being thrown out of the libraries - that's certainly policy at mine, if they don't decide the viewer has been willfully exposing any children present to it and actually call a cop, but there's a bunch of people trying it anyway. And they will look right at the police and say things like "I didn't think about them looking over my shoulder - that's their parent's job. And besides, they asked me to let them look." Then they will act all surprised when "the man" takes them in. I actually saw and heard one guy explain to the police that his friend wouldn't let him borrow said friend's PC anymore, because the friend caught him looking for "underage" girls. Like saying something like this is going to get somebody out of trouble.

Re:Yup, I'm one of those parents... (1)

readeracc (3385797) | 1 year,14 days | (#45149197)

Most people aren't intellectual and aren't stimulated by learning and knowledge. Indeed, learning and knowledge is considered an effort to most people and only dealt with when necessary. Porn satisfies an immediate and instinctual desire. It's folly to believe that the majority of humanity is anything but barely civilized animals.

Disclaimer: I like myself some porn too. I just don't do it in a public-fucking-library.

Re:Yup, I'm one of those parents... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45149369)

Where can I find these public fucking libraries?

Re:Yup, I'm one of those parents... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45149353)

Maybe that's their fetish.. Maybe they are hoping you go over and embarrass them. Maybe even slap them in the face, kick them to the ground and then step on their erect penis..

Please?

Re:Yup, I'm one of those parents... (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | 1 year,14 days | (#45149173)

Damn kids, they need to learn on back issues of Natl Geographic like the rest of us!

Re:Yup, I'm one of those parents... (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | 1 year,14 days | (#45148173)

In the not too distant future, education will interface with the Internet earlier and earlier. And education online will become more and more robust and spoon fed. But now in the wild wild west era of education online, you need to be proactive in how you learn online. You absolutely need to be an active learner, but for many disciplines, the content is out there to get you a secondary education without a piece of paper.

I think if I ever make enough money to support myself, I'll move into the whole spoon feed Internet education realm. The easy money just isn't there for small players, but a small player can help a bunch.

Re:Yup, I'm one of those parents... (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45148215)

Fine. Those are all constructive activities with technology (even playing games, IMO). Exposure to social media and sites which serve information that is not age appropriate is the problem. The pressure, drama, and bullshit of FB and the like simply distract and stress out a developing child. And the wide-open internet awakens children to much more than they should know or care about at a young age. Children should be able to have childhoods. Send them outside and let them bang a rock and a stick together while, you know, /imagining and playing/ for a while.

Re:Yup, I'm one of those parents... (3, Informative)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | 1 year,14 days | (#45148219)

My 11 yr old completed Portal last night and moved onto Portal 2. The only 'supervision' was that I required her to finish Portal 1 first.

Learning to type and write is boring. Chatting to friends, blogging, showing off online are all fun. The same basic skills are learnt, only the latter is much, much more efficient.

Let them explore. Talk to them. Keep an eye out for trouble. This is no different to raising a child in earlier times.

Re:Yup, I'm one of those parents... (1)

t0qer (230538) | 1 year,14 days | (#45148651)

Your comment echo's my sentiments exactly. When I was in high school they had a "typing class" that I didn't do well in. Later when I started getting into online chat my typing speed increased ALOT.

All of their computers are in the same room as mine. They're never unsupervised for any extended periods of time. All of their accounts are controlled by mom and dad.

Re:Yup, I'm one of those parents... (3, Informative)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | 1 year,14 days | (#45148999)

Also, I'm a security designer. So I look at the browsing history and if I can find stuff she's been looking at that she might be embarrassed about, then I have the 'talk' with her to explain how to cover her tracks when using a computer and how to understand the many ways a computer can be used by someone to spy on you.

These are important modern lessons to learn.

Re:Yup, I'm one of those parents... (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | 1 year,14 days | (#45148431)

have fun when she takes the next step looking for beiber eating poop and ends up at some fetish site

Re:Yup, I'm one of those parents... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45148539)

That's how I started out, a father that taught me everything he could and worked to help me learn new things. By 8 I was already able to write rudimentary programs.

Re:Yup, I'm one of those parents... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45148839)

I see a lot of people treating internet usage as though it's in a vacuum. It's "The Internet~", i.e., somehow this mysterious alternate dimension where parents can't go.

Maybe these surveys should ask parents how many of them allow their children out of their sight ever. You don't think kids can get into trouble when you tell them to go outside and play and then you do housework all day without watching them? This is a cultural perception issue rooted in ignorance about the nature of "The Internet".

Kids are unsupervised all the time. That's just how life works. People need to stop blaming technology for things. Computers don't corrupt kids, life does.

Re:Yup, I'm one of those parents... (1)

Dadoo (899435) | 1 year,14 days | (#45149383)

The 7 year old has graduated to looking at odd things on youtube

I used to let my kids watch YouTube, too, until it became clear that quite a few of the videos on there aren't appropriate for children. Between the language - even in something as innocuous as a Minecraft video - and the borderline violence, I finally had to turn it off.

Zero Cool (4, Funny)

Austrian Anarchy (3010653) | 1 year,14 days | (#45148113)

If Zero Cool was not a lesson to all parents, I don't know what is. The fact that he grew up to be Sherlock Holmes is neither a blessing nor a curse.

I'd allow it (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45148143)

I was exposed to computers from a very early age. I used to sit on my brother-in-law's lap while he did programming assignments for college. Allowing children under 7 access to a computer unsupervised is perfectly fine in my book, as long as it's not connected to the internet. Kids are naturally inquisitive at that age and learning how things work. I learned an awful lot about how computers worked just by playing around with them. It would occasionally get me in trouble (Like accidentally formatting the hard disk), but I consider it well worth it.

That's a lot of coppa letters. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45148153)

That's a lot of coppa letters.

Bad Parent (1)

blackfeltfedora (2855471) | 1 year,14 days | (#45148163)

Both of my children (6 and 8) have their own gmail accounts with every restriction I can find turned on. They do not know the passwords and Chrome is only browser installed on their computer, which lives in the living room. After one of my History checks I did have to discuss some questionable Mario and Princess Peach videos.

Re:Bad Parent (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45148229)

Give us the links or it didn't happen.

Re:Bad Parent (1)

xvan (2935999) | 1 year,14 days | (#45148815)

Because and enough motivated 8h year old can't manage to create his own gmail account...

If so, that's stupid (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | 1 year,14 days | (#45148209)

Just goes to show how little Americans understand how the Net works.

If that's true, Most parents are NUTS! (3, Interesting)

bobbied (2522392) | 1 year,14 days | (#45148223)

I have two great kids but we simply DON'T allow unfettered access to the internet. Folks think I'm nuts, but we do not allow unmonitored access to social networks, e-mail or chat services from ANY device. Having been in the network security business previously, I have the tools and equipment to actually control and monitor what my kids are doing. I have multiple layers of network security and logging. They might manage to get by the filters, but they won't bypass the logging so I'll know. What's more, they both KNOW they are being monitored and I reenforce that view regularly by asking them about specifics I find in the logs. We also make sure that internet access happens only in the common spaces in our home. We have laptops (3) but you cannot take them to your room by yourself to use them and nobody but me has an administrative account.

Any parent who just turns the kids loose on the net is NUTS. There is a huge percentage of trash out there and it is irresponsible to just let a kid access this junk either on purpose or by accident. Parents need to be *active* in this area to avoid the sad stories like this one, as rare as it is. There are a number of other reasons to know what your kids are up to, sexting, pedophiles, identity theft, bullying etc are all reasons you need to at least monitor what your kids are doing online. (Not to mention to keep the NPAA off your case should they figure out how to bittorrent the latest movie they want..)

Re:If that's true, Most parents are NUTS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45148271)

Sounds like you were probably allowed unfiltered access when you were young, though. Everyone's gotta learn sometime.

Re:If that's true, Most parents are NUTS! (3, Interesting)

khellendros1984 (792761) | 1 year,14 days | (#45148443)

To a computer, I'm sure. To the internet? Depending on their age, that's not as likely.

Personally, I had access to a computer from a very early age (3 or 4), was allowed to run things like Doom when I was about 10, and didn't have unsupervised access to the internet until I was 15 or so (although I had access at home around 10 or 11, with a parent hovering, filtered and supervised access at school around 14).

The fact is that my children will grow up in a different world and society than I did, and what worked for me might not work as well in a new social context (always-on broadband internet connections, social networking, free access to staggering amounts and varieties of information). People raising kids right now have to play some things by ear, since there aren't necessarily solidified social norms yet.

Re:If that's true, Most parents are NUTS! (1)

Nephandus (2953269) | 1 year,14 days | (#45148835)

That last was a bit ambiguous. What's social norms have to directly do with this? Seeking personal approval from others? Normalizing your pseudo-legacy unit's programming? To be kind-ish, I could guess informing the child's expectation of others' probable notions of normality, though that wouldn't necessarily suggest direct immersion, anymore than promoting the child's involvement with hookup culture (at some presumed "right" age at least) or the like.

Re:If that's true, Most parents are NUTS! (2)

Greymoon (834879) | 1 year,14 days | (#45148513)

Grats on raising lambs for the slaughter. Your method will backfire - it is just a matter of when. A paper clip defeats your "security". Think about it.

Re:If that's true, Most parents are NUTS! (4, Interesting)

wisnoskij (1206448) | 1 year,14 days | (#45148525)

You cannot filter everything they see and are aware of forever. It is the Internet, not real life, they cannot actually get hurt, decapitated, or disabled while using it.
That is why the Internet is such a great place for children to explore unfettered. Little Jonny can wonder off alone and learn about the word and himself, and you do not actually have to worry about them being eaten by a wolf or breaking their leg like our parents/grandparents used to, when learning about the worded entailed large amounts of real danger and life threatening situations.

As far as I am concerned, knowingly filtering a child's knowledge, and retarding their ability to learn, is nothing sort of child abuse.

Re:If that's true, Most parents are NUTS! (4, Informative)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | 1 year,14 days | (#45149033)

Before you judge my response below, be aware that I'm actually the kind of parent who strongly believes in teaching kids to do things by themselves, eventually leading to unsupervised activities after guided exploration. By the time a kid is 4 or 5, he/she can be prepared to do all sorts of "dangerous" "adult" tasks, with proper education and training. In years past -- and still in many other countries -- 5-year-old kids can probably cook on a hot stove or in an oven (if not manage an open fire), use sharp knives for cooking and other repetitive tasks, etc.

But kids who learn to do these things are able to because they've been taught how to know what is safe and unsafe.

It is the Internet, not real life, they cannot actually get hurt, decapitated, or disabled while using it.

The internet may be a "virtual place," but that doesn't mean that interactions on the internet can't lead to real-life interactions (and even potentially dangerous ones).

The internet may be a "virtual place," but that doesn't mean that encounters there couldn't cause real-life emotional or psychological damage to young people who don't have the frame of reference that adults have.

That is why the Internet is such a great place for children to explore unfettered. Little Jonny can wonder off alone and learn about the word and himself, and you do not actually have to worry about them being eaten by a wolf or breaking their leg like our parents/grandparents used to, when learning about the worded entailed large amounts of real danger and life threatening situations.

The "wolves" and "broken legs" can still appear in different forms, from creepy guys who "groom" kids and young teens in inappropriate interactions (perhaps coaxing them into real-world "encounters") to cyberbullying scenarios that can drive a kid to depression or even suicide. In case you haven't noticed, people tend to be meaner on the internet -- not having to say or do nasty things to someone's face often makes it easier. How many people who lay on the horn in their car? How many of those same people would start randomly screaming at somebody who was walking too slowly in front of them?

The "virtual" space of the internet allows more abstract interactions -- often more extreme and unusual than in real life -- some of which children and young people may need guidance to navigate.

As far as I am concerned, knowingly filtering a child's knowledge, and retarding their ability to learn, is nothing sort of child abuse.

Filtering knowledge and retarding abilities to learn are different from providing guidance or creating reasonable restrictions when a child cannot be continuously monitored. I agree with you that the GP's approach can sound rather extreme. I personally think an ideal solution involves parents providing direct guidance and supervised exploration, rather than background monitoring and surveillance.

On the other hand, I don't see a huge amount of difference in the GP's behavior from a parent who puts up a fence around the yard so the 2-year-old doesn't go wandering into the street. Having a fence to keep the kid from wandering away in the few seconds a parent may be distracted by something else is a reasonable restriction. And it doesn't mean that the parent can't also have the gate open at times, teach the child to look both ways, teach the child never to run after balls into the street until he/she is older, etc.

The place I disagree with the GP is the sense of constant surveillance. Kids need to have "safe places" to explore on their own. There are places on the internet that is possible, just like there are places in the backyard that are safe for a 2-year-old. A better solution would allow a kid to wander about in those safe places without being worried about parental surveillance.

However, the entire internet is NOT always a safe place. It's incredibly naive to act like it is.

Re:If that's true, Most parents are NUTS! (1)

devent (1627873) | 1 year,14 days | (#45149331)

Oh please. The myth of the fragile psyche of the child. I think parents are the ones that "need guidance to navigate." in the "virtual-space". The "virtual-space" is the perfect environment for a child to flourish: it's save and it's detached from the real live. Of course a child needs guidance and explanations, but what it really does not need is constant control and censorship.

The most important what a child needs is trust in his or her parents: trust that the parents will give guidance and understanding when needed. How can a trust relationship be build if the parents are control-freaks and have no trust in their child?

Re:If that's true, Most parents are NUTS! (2)

timeOday (582209) | 1 year,14 days | (#45148567)

I am closer to you than most of the other responses (our computers are connected to desktop displays in the main room - no laptops in bedrooms). However, I have stopped short of using technical means for compliance. I think that fosters an adversarial situation, where circumvention is some sort of victory, instead of conveying standards and expectations. Granted we haven't had that "litmus test" moment yet of walking in on something, so it's all somewhat hypothetical until then.

Re:If that's true, Most parents are NUTS! (2)

Minupla (62455) | 1 year,14 days | (#45148765)

And when they go over to their friends' houses and get access to an unfiltered internet connection, will they have the skill set to self filter?

At the moment our daughter has access to an unfiltered network connection (she's 5) through one of our PCs. She uses it to go to abcmouse.com.

I don't think she'll get a PC in her room, and all our computers are in a public space in the house, but I'm realistic about my ability to shelter her, and more importantly, realistic about her probable eventual abilities to circumvent the filtering at school. She's attended her first Defcon after all.

Just like everything else, I work on blocking the biggest risks and educate about the low incident-but-high impact ones. I don't live my life assuming the worst will happen to me, and don't (or at least try not to) live my daughter's life like the worst will happen to her either.

Min

Min

Re:If that's true, Most parents are NUTS! (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45148813)

So you spy on your kids and you let them know that??? Great job, you have now ensured that your kids will never come to you for anything important, you are actively teaching them to hide things from you.

Re:If that's true, Most parents are NUTS! (1)

xvan (2935999) | 1 year,14 days | (#45148899)

There are a number of other reasons to know what your kids are up to, sexting, pedophiles, identity theft, bullying etc are all reasons you need to at least monitor what your kids are doing online. (Not to mention to keep the NPAA off your case should they figure out how to bittorrent the latest movie they want..)

Just put a porn filter and block facebook. And teach your kids about identity theft the same way you teach them to not eat candy from strangers...
By the time they can circumvent the porn filter they are old enough to watch porn, and will access it even if you don't want.

At different ages a child needs different degrees of privacy. The trust that they have on you will be related to the trust you have on them. Not having facebook will not prevent your child from being bullied, and if you need to spy his/her facebook to learn something is wrong at school you already are a clueless parent.

Re:If that's true, Most parents are NUTS! (3, Insightful)

Darinbob (1142669) | 1 year,14 days | (#45149207)

The key I think is just parental supervision. That doens't mean forbidding things just putting it in perspective. Ie, homework must come FIRST, then chores, and only then spend the small amount of remaining time in the day on television or internet or texting on the phone. But even then good parental supervision might encourage the children to read a book first and to go outside and get some real exercise (unstructured play that is, not necessarily sports).

So when a parent says they can't help it when their kid is on the smartphone all day, that means they're abdicating their job. Just cancel the phone, it is that easy. If you're concerned that they won't be able to phone the police in an emergency then get a dumb phone or lock down the dataplan. This is NOT child abuse. We survived for millenia without having the internet in arms reach at all times.

Unsupervised access to internet should be like most other things in life, it gets granted to you as part of a gradually increasing amount of trust and responsibility. Child proves they are a bit more responsible which earns a bit more trust. Eventually you get to the stage of going out to dinner without hiring a babysitter first, and similarly there should be a time when the internet can be used even without adults in the house.

Re:If that's true, Most parents are NUTS! (1)

devent (1627873) | 1 year,14 days | (#45149301)

I think you are a control freak. Do you have that little trust in your children's abilities and even less trust in your children to come to you if they find something disturbing on the Internet? I bet you would want to install a GPS tracker in your kids underwear to monitor in real-time where ever they go.

How can they learn anything for them self if you control everything? Humans need privacy to be human, and children have to figure things out in their own to build any confidence in them self. Your job as a parent should be to explain and help them in the world, not to control every aspect of their lives.

Not "Most Parents." (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | 1 year,14 days | (#45148237)

Just "most parents in the population sampled."

Re:Not "Most Parents." (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | 1 year,14 days | (#45148247)

Good point - maybe the survey was done in the Deep South.

Re:Not "Most Parents." (2)

ArbitraryName (3391191) | 1 year,14 days | (#45148775)

Thanks for explaining how surveys work.

Crazy talk! (5, Insightful)

pla (258480) | 1 year,14 days | (#45148241)

At age 8, I would never have allowed my parents unsupervised use of the home PC.

Now, by 12 or 13, I had learned enough about security basics to limit their access enough as to render them relatively harmless. But before that? No frickin' way - One "install our daily free coupon print driver" ad away from needing to do a total reimage.


Oh, wait... You meant... Ahahaahahhaaaaahah!!11!!1!!!!!

How quaint. As though non-IT professional parents have the least shot at keeping their kids off the internet. Cute notion, though.

Re:Crazy talk! (2, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | 1 year,14 days | (#45148329)

at age 8 I had complete root access of the computer and by age 9 I had started to disassemble it for hardware modifications and was OS hacking. I was online before my parents because I was the one who figured out the passwords for the local UUNET dial up node 300bps and I was rocking the ASCII art boobies!

My porn was finding more and more information, When I discovered what some people had out there, I really wanted a real computer so I started searching for business that went under to get my dad to go to the auctions. Scored a Cromemco Miniframe computer by the age of 12 that has 2 VT100 terminals. I had to hack the root password to even get access, so my very first task was to own the box.

Children need unrestricted access to the computer and to knowlege and information. they do NOT need unrestricted access to a cesspool.

Fast foreward to today, my daughter grew up having 2 computers that she had 100% control over. I bought her every book she ever wanted on programming, hacking, etc... but she did not get unrestricted internet access, Unless she figured out how to completely bypass my hardware filtering firewall, then she deserved the access. But I never detected any breaches, so either she never cared to try to get to nasty-horse-porn.com or she is a damn good hacker.

Re:Crazy talk! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45148403)

they do NOT need unrestricted access to a cesspool.

Meh. I allow my child unrestricted access to this 'cesspool' for educational purposes. Have to learn how to deal with idiots.

Honestly, the fact that a few kids occasionally kill themselves doesn't mean there's some huge epidemic.

Re:Crazy talk! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45148755)

I ran across one kid by the name of "emo indio mutante" who was a bit unique. Just a kid a little different from the rest. He wanted to stand out a little - to be seen. Just like everybody else is doing.

Most of the hate stuff he stirred up has now been removed, but there are still traces of it on the net. Images of him with "WTF?!??" printed over it. One user of a bodybuilding forum seemed to take it as his life's mission to destroy this kid, constantly seeding the forum with images ridiculing this kid.

The kid ( living in Curitiba, Brazil ) ended up killing himself from what I could tell - his life royally f*d up.

I kept links of it so I could share with the neighbor's kid so as to show him what kind of hate was on the net, and why it is so important to watch what you share on the net, no matter how harmless it may appear.

Someone can grab your images, photoshop them, whatever, and flood the net with ridicule and there isn't much one can do about it.

I felt so powerless to help that kid, and if there was some way I knew to torment his tormentor, I would go for it in a heartbeat. I feel what I saw on the net was pure premeditated murder, slowly and agonizingly done.

Yes, the kid is a bit different. Aren't we all? He did everything he knew to be desired, and all he seemed to get was hate.

Re:Crazy talk! (1)

Nimey (114278) | 1 year,14 days | (#45148729)

Absofragginlutely. Kiddo's getting mostly unrestricted access to a computer and dead trees, but (at first) strictly limited access to the cesspool, increasing as she gets older and can handle it.

Re:Crazy talk! (1)

narcc (412956) | 1 year,14 days | (#45149143)

at age 8 I had complete root access of the computer

I was online before my parents because I was the one who figured out the passwords for the local UUNET dial up node 300bps

Does not compute. Was your home computer a VAX or something?

Re:Crazy talk! (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | 1 year,14 days | (#45149223)

Trouble is we really don't have that type of computing anymore. No one does homebrew stuff really, and the computers come fully enabled with a giant pipeline to the net.

Started at 6 (1)

atari2600a (1892574) | 1 year,14 days | (#45148311)

...in 1996/1997 on AOL. I recall, 5 years later, our excitement when we got MSN after AOL got stupid, the parental controls on it were totally broken & I saw all the vaginas I wanted from then on out.

Re:Started at 6 (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45148991)

It saddens me that there are people born in the 90s on Slashdot.... and that 1996 is supposed to be a long time ago.

Re:Started at 6 (1)

narcc (412956) | 1 year,14 days | (#45149157)

Yet look at his username. I wonder what it's like to feel nostalgic for things long gone before you were born...

And in "real-life"... (3, Insightful)

profplump (309017) | 1 year,14 days | (#45148393)

And in "real life" 100% of parents allow 8-year-olds to have unsupervised in-person social interaction with their peers (and probably on the phone as well). The fact that socialization is happening with the aid of a computer does not make it inherently more dangerous; without the Interwebs this girl would still have been harassed, and we should be working to stop the harassment, not to stop the use of computers in harassment.

Re:And in "real-life"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45148601)

but the pedophiles!

Re:And in "real-life"... (3, Informative)

Nimey (114278) | 1 year,14 days | (#45148719)

I give you the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory: http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/03/19 [penny-arcade.com]

People (kids too) are more likely to be fucking barbarians when they're behind a computer and have a little pseudonymity, when someone can't reach over and punch them in the nose for going too far.

And as the AC noted, pedos.

Re:And in "real-life"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45149235)

This^ exactly.

My kids had access to computers as soon as they could manage a trackball and bang on the keyboard (quickly graduating to mice - the trackball experiment failed horribly). This was back when there was an actual market of educational software, and linux distros started focusing in that direction (Edubuntu). They learned about dual booting between WinX and linux before they were in school. Computer literacy is a necessity. My youngest was touch-typing by second grade, and both knew how to use a computer to *create* content. They never took to programming, which frustrated me, but otherwise have a good understanding as non-geek humans how the computers around them work, and shape the society that they are growing up in. They're not the the mini-me technophiles I hoped for - they're 'average' in that regard.

The internet? No. Hell no! The siren song of distraction from real life (3d touch feedback at the pace of the specious present) is too strong there for many adults (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc anyone?), and they maladjust even after years of 'real' socialization. A kid has no chance of resisting those forces. Yeah, some kids do fine growing up in all sorts of physically and psychologically unhealthy environments, but that's a small percentage, and who'd volunteer their kids for it?

Access was always restricted to common areas of the household. I explained the best I could the nature of the ills that they needed to be protected from (other-oriented and self-inflicted). Just like I explained why they couldn't have all the soda and candy and other junk food that johnny and sally were allowed to have. I wanted them to have a chance at knowing real relationships before thinking that a keyboard and mouse is any substitute for knowing real empathy with another human.

All the claims to the contrary in this thread, they haven't revolted, or lagged behind their peers technologically. What do do have is the respect and admiration of their peers. The adults around trust them to have a sound moral compass. They're not perfect - they're just normal good kids.

As they matured, they gained greater and greater access to the layers of the internet I found appropriate, and sometimes had to have access removed as it was mishandled (just like any other tool). Now that they're both in high-school, they pretty much get free reign - in the common area. They have their iPods at all times, but if they seem to have tuned out of the 'real world' too much, those are restricted until they tune back in.

Have they seen the pron and other prurient interests (unfettered gossip - ie: social networks) that are out there? Probably. There are many times when I see the telltales of windows and dialogs being closed quickly as I approach. "What'chya doing?" "Nothing" Yep, perfectly normal.

But...

They understand that right here, right now, with the people in their presence, is what matters more than anything on the other end of any electronic device. And they grasp that that device doesn't somehow diminish the effects their behavior has on themselves or others, granting them the right to behave like Fuckwads. They have self-respect. They have respect for others.

That's what the internet interferes with the most - real self-respect. Accountability to one's actions. At any age.

Re:And in "real-life"... (4, Insightful)

Valdrax (32670) | 1 year,14 days | (#45148785)

The fact that socialization is happening with the aid of a computer does not make it inherently more dangerous...

Yes it does. There is far more access to dangerous materials and dangerous people online than there is in person. While there's a slight advantage in a greater pool of potential victims to hide in the crowd of, the danger in the ability of predators of any stripe (not just sexual) to reach your kids from anywhere in the country or even the world. There's not as much ability for kids to tell what a "bad neighborhood" is online as in real life.

There's also less public shame for bad behavior and a greater tendency for people to act in herds of like-minded individuals. (See, e.g. the resurgence of white supremacist groups in the modern day or "thinspiration" sites.) You don't have to encounter people who disagree with you, unless you want to -- even if just to troll them. Witness comments section of any news or politics site.

[W]ithout the Interwebs this girl would still have been harassed, and we should be working to stop the harassment, not to stop the use of computers in harassment.

The harassment would have been completely different in tone and scale. Hiding behind a computer is quite different from doing something where witnesses who might disapprove would be present to act as a check or the much simpler one of being within arms reach. Witness Xbox Live, the domain of bullies who would be the bullied anywhere else.

Tools matter. There's a difference between two hotheaded boys getting in a fist fight and two armed hotheaded boys getting into a fight. The same is true of cyberbullying v. in-person bullying. People act differently in different environments, and online is more (and less) dangerous for certain types of behavior.

It's For the Children (4, Insightful)

LifesABeach (234436) | 1 year,14 days | (#45148399)

If you don't have children, you have no clue about this topic. And if you do, you're concerned about the lost child. But not enough to support those that would turn the internet into a corporate sponsored lock down.

I use to think I'd be a fine husband, till I got married.
I use to think I'd be a fine father, till I had chidren.
I use to think I'd be a fine grandparent; I pray that I just don't fuck this up.

People are evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45148485)

People create the content on the internet. Do parents supervise each and every conversation their child has with another human?

They can be unmonitored when they move out... (1)

mark-t (151149) | 1 year,14 days | (#45148515)

Although I allowed them unsupervised but still monitored access to the internet at age 12. Before age 12, they were always supervised.

Copyright infringement (1)

CanEHdian (1098955) | 1 year,14 days | (#45148687)

It's amazing at how many (including taxpayer) dollars are spent "educating" the kids about the "evils" of online copyright infringement. These dollars would be better spent educating about online bullying and setting up a website where kids, at their option anonymously, can get help from a real human being (of course properly vetted).

This explains ... (1)

PPH (736903) | 1 year,14 days | (#45148751)

.... Slashdot editing.

This reminds me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45148767)

That I have yet to install any kind of parental control on the computers... wish there was some kind of feature directly built in my router though.

Unsupervised? (1)

ark1 (873448) | 1 year,14 days | (#45148781)

People forgot about NSA quickly I see.

Free for all experiment (1)

zdepthcharge (1792770) | 1 year,14 days | (#45148915)

I gave my kids (11 and 6) uncensored access to the net as an experiment. The computers they use are in the living room so I didn't expect anything too extreme, but I did expect that we'd have conversations about content. And we did. After several days I insisted they did something other than watch Minecraft videos.

Kid is 17, doing fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45149117)

He has had a computer since 18 months, unrestricted access to the internet sometime later.

At 18 months, he had learning games. In the beginning, he could only bang the mouse, but very rapidly figured all that out.

For the last 5 years, he has been 'unschooled'. He has a couple of language tutors, piano lessons, dance class. Read a lot earlier, then got insane about video games, says he is now bored with those.

For him, education is keeping boredom at bay : he watches a lot of Youtube -- everything from serious science through complete dumbness (IMHO). He started wirting essays lately as a way of expressing complex arguments with friends -- Good grammar, pretty clear thinking and expression, structure could use some work. But I see worse blogs.

Result is his friends all think he knows a lot, and adults like talking to him as he is interesting. He is working through one of the GED books, is only having a little bit of problem with math, I think he has decided to try to Khan's academy.

Most of what happens in school is physical maturation of the brain. If the kid has had a stimulating, complex environment and learned to run his life himself, he can cover 12 years of grade + high school in 2 years entirely on his own. That is a standard outcome of adult literacy programs world-wide : 2 weeks in a classroom, then self-study with books until college.

Schools are terrible environments for young minds, I very much regret the years we had him in private schools. Big waste of $ and hard on him.

He started a job recently, feedback is he is great at everything, including writing emails replying to queries from customers. So not perfect, a normal kid, lots of interests, lots of knowledge

Darwin at work (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45149191)

I'm sorry to see how this is anything but nature doing it's own doing, .... oh wait, now "with a computer". Bulling is bulling no matter if it is with a computer or not.
I used to read BASIC programming books (for Apple II clones with radio cassette recorders) when I was 5.
When I moved to a new school at 7 (2nd or 3rd grade) I got bullied by two guys, every day for like a month, till one day one of them had an H8 2mm lead from a Koh-I-Noor automatic pencil sticking out of the back oh his neck and nobody really crossed my path in the school since. I left it after 7th grade.

I touched my first computer at school (Apple II clone) and later on had my first home computer (a XT clone with a NEC V20 chip). Did I had unfiltered access - for my parents filtering meant reducing the time. So they took the CGA cable from the computer to the monitor - no problem. I designed and soldered a contraption of transistors, resistors, and wires myself several days later that allowed me to plug it into the composite input of the TV, when I was 12. Later on I had other computers (a 386) taken keyboards, so I wrote autoexec.bat programs that would drop me in a menu to start a predefined list of programs when the computer was started between this and this time and the mouse buttons were clicked in a correct sequence - otherwise - boot as if this prog was not there. Anyway I was able to use 3D Studio 3 or SimCity 2000 Special edition with the mouse just fine. By age of 15 I removed windows from the home computer and had linux exclusively for more than a year. Not only that but I also wired the apartment building we lived in with 10BASE2 and had to recalculate one of the terminators from 50Ohm to 55 or something, and run internet from my 33.6KBps dial-up modem, via my NATting linux box to other people's apartments. Again the only supervision I got was how long the phone line was in use and that I had to get to bed by 0:30AM, because school started at 7:30, and I had to get up at 6:30, that when I was 15.
When I was 16 I got asked to install linux on the computers in one of the labs in my highschool by our Informatics teachers.
So tell me how this would have happened if I didn't had unrestricted access to my computer, or the internet- that was 1997/1998, IRC was wildly popular, and the ASL line to/from a stranger was a prelude to a P2P meeting over beers one our later, nobody had cell phones and I was 16. Oh yeah, I started drinking beer when I was 12.

So.. I would say - this is evolution doing its work at its finest. You are weak/dumb - you kill yourself. And you will be bullied regardless if it is "with a computer", "on the internet", "in the cloud" or in the yard.

Kids practically raise themselves these days (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45149309)

what with the Internet and all.

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