The Internet is a sneaky place filled with pornography, corrupted .mp3 files and pictures of people planking. Kids are always active, and it’s impossible to keep an eye on them at all times. So when you combine the two, you’re asking for trouble. But according to one researcher, you shouldn’t worry about it, because the best solution is to let your kids surf the web with no supervision whatsoever.
There was a great public concern that teenagers would come upon some guy jerking off and be traumatized, or somehow be mysteriously cajoled or beckoned into a life of promiscuity, but boyd said the teenagers’ actual reactions when they did encounter a flabby, bald middle-aged man staring into the camera and performing sexual acts was “Ew,” and they clicked past him. “It was the best abstinence-only education you can think of,” she jokes. Her point is that our deepest fears of kids’ confrontation with pornographic material, and what happens in that moment where they see something pornographic, may be overblown and irrational. And in fact, she argues that, on close examination, many of our cultural anxieties about what happens to kids online are based more on parents’ imaginations than the realities of teenage experience. (Take what she argues are the exaggerated fears of cyber-bullying for instance, or fears of sexual predators online, when the vast preponderance of sexual predators are people kids know in their daily lives.)
Is she serious? Cause it sounds to me like a clever way of getting out of parenting. Stopping the problem is too hard, so let’s not even try. Oddly enough, that’s also Mitt Romney’s plan for helping poor people.
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