ZOMBIE THREAD ALERT: This thread hasn't been posted on for a while.

Justine Roberts speaking about Internet Porn again...

(24 Posts)
BadgersPaws Thu 19-May-11 12:56:21

...and she still completely misses the point.

www.theregister.co.uk/2011/05/19/mumsnet_regulation/

At one point she seems to possibly suggest that the reason that there was such a bad reaction to the (thankfully) abandonded campaign to get ISPs to block porn earlier in the year was that "Lots of people on Mumsnet are very keen on pornography".

No Justine, how wrong can you be?

The reason that so many people reacted badly was that the campaign was ill conceived, technically ignorant and influenced by dangerous extremists. And Justine doesn't appear to have listened very well to the arguments against the proposals as she said:

"I think the regulators should put pressure on the people involved, the ISPs to come up with a solution to this."

The "people involved" are the parents and not the ISPs, the ISPs cannot really do anything about this problem. Every single day that you chase the fantasy of there being some magic bullet that someone else can provide is yet another day when you avoid the one and only true solution, which is helping parents to both understand the problem and to deal with it.

Anyone who tells you that the ISPs can do something to make this go away is either technically ill-informed, out to make money from the problem or has some other agenda.

For example one of the leading groups who are pushing for ISP controls and filters are SaferMedia. They are the sort of people who do want outright censorship of the internet. The sort of people who want to block everything from sex education to Steven Segal movies. The sort of people who consider homosexuality a deviance. The sort of people who point to China's attempts to censor the Internet as being an example of how things should be done rather than as an example of horrific, expensive, deeply flawed and failing attempts to stifle freedom.

I really hope that the comments were taken somewhat out of context and the Justine understands that this really cannot be tackled at the ISP level.

I really hope that people like SaferMedia are still not trying to influence people like Justine.

Mumsnet could really make a difference in pushing for education, help and awareness over this issue.

However once again I'm worried...

piprabbit Thu 19-May-11 13:02:28

I was hoping this ill-advised campaign had died, shame that anyone is still trying to keep it alive instead of focusing on giving parents genuine help and advice right now.

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 19-May-11 14:45:57

It was taken out of context. I clearly said that I thought parents were ultimately responsible for their children's internet safety and that government regulation was a bad idea because of all the suspicion/nervousness around potential miss-use. But I said I thought parents' needed help because the stats show that many don't use internet safety tools (only 54% parents use filters) and even Google safesearch and that in any case what about mobiles (half of children go online via mobiles) which are used outside the home. And that the ISPs in particular are well positioned to offer some help. Broadly what I called for was a sensible debate around the issue without it dissolving into hysteria about censorship and freedom of speech. After all we all (I think) agree about the desired outcome. I'm agnostic about how we get there but it's important to be able to have the debate, if only to raise awareness...

(ps the porn comment was a remark about no one's out to stop consenting adults view porn, not so keen on 8 year olds seeing it.

piprabbit Thu 19-May-11 14:54:02

I recently went to a session where a group of parents almost unanimously requested additional information and support for making internet use safe for their children. I promised to see if I could find some resources for them to look at, while we (as an organisation) tried to arrange something more specific.
So I posted information about CEOPs support for children and parents on our (well-used) website. Two months later and nobody has clicked on the link - but links to social activities have been well-used.
I'm assuming that the parents aren't actually bothered enough to do anything about internet safety. I think that's the tough bit - encouraging parents to actually take action, not just moan about it.

NetworkGuy Fri 20-May-11 10:54:46

Thanks Justine - esp for "I thought parents' needed help because the stats show that many don't use internet safety tools". I saw that in The Register article too.

It was disappointing to see someone who is on MN add a pretty negative comment on The Register - some from non-members were only to be expected and frankly quite childish, but that's life.

BadgersPaws Fri 20-May-11 11:12:07

Thanks for the clarification.

Is it worth contacting that website and offering an interview to clarify your views? At the moment they seem to be being presented as you still believe that the solution is something technical at the ISP level, that's certainly how commenter have understood the article, and such a view is justifiably being rubbished by a primarily technical crowd who understand that that is impossible.

I suspect you'd get a lot of support if you clearly stated that ISP filtering isn't the answer and that you want to help educate parents to implement the only controls that will protect children.

And that support is vital if Mumsnet is going to be taken seriously over this, as it Mumsnet is being put in same ignorant/ill-informed camp as people like SaferMedia and that's terribly damaging.

NetworkGuy Fri 20-May-11 13:27:55

I think clarification may be needed because "We're not saying we need regulation," in respect of porn is almost immediately contradicted (in The Reg piece) concerning suicide

I would support BPs view that you (Justine) could do worse than try to get a "right to reply" to some of the critics, because you (MNHQ) have clearly said on different threads that legal pornography sites are not something you want banned, hardly the same as suggesting MNetters are porn-lovers, just not the knee-jerk reaction that some other groups which met with the Minister and ISPs would strive for.

Also, it is worth checking The Reg for their coverage of TalkTalk HomeSafe - things like 'Homework Time' (blocking Facebook for example) seem doomed to failure... as indicated in the Campaigns thread ages ago concerning blocks in place at schools where Snorbs wrote about the teens at his daughter's school being easily able to bypass them - his comment was :-

It's about as hard as typing in "how to bypass school filters" into google. Try it.

Xenia Fri 20-May-11 18:49:28

A lot of posters on mumsnet have very strong views again porns so it's best not to annoy the user base.

However a lot of us have absolutely no problems with porn at all and think responsibilities should be with parents. Lots of women enjoy pornography and some of those may even be mumsnet users. The state must not be a big brother. We shoudl all be fighting against more regulation. We need to cut back the frontiers of the state in all kinds of areas and in particular certainly not have more regulation etc here.

Also not all parents have the same views as others on what children should and should not see and at what ages. We don't want a nanny/ big brother state deciding things like - it's child abuse if parents are naked at home or it's child abuse if mothers wear the burka at home. We want freedom for parents within reason to bring up their children as they think is best.

BadgersPaws Sat 21-May-11 12:16:09

"We want freedom for parents within reason to bring up their children as they think is best."

The thing is even if you are adamant and certain that there are things on the internet that children shouldn't see and that it's OK for the Government to decide what those things are any plan to filter at the ISP level will utterly fail to do this.

So this argument isn't about "porn should be banned" vs. "freedom on the internet". What this is really all about is "I know how the internet works and ISP filters are doomed to failure" vs. "I don't know how the internet works and won't listen to those who do".

There's an article here about how filtering is "working" in China":
www.theregister.co.uk/2011/05/20/china_firewall/

China have tried to tackle the problem at the ISP level and have thrown a level of resources at the problem that we could never hope to match and have no problems stomping over peoples freedoms and arresting/shooting those who disagree.

And despite that they can't make filters at the ISP level work, they have to try and block entire Internet sites as the filters just can't keep up. So no Twitter or Facebook.

And it still doesn't work.

How well do you think any approach here that would have a fraction of the budget and lack the ability to shoot those who don't comply would work?

The people pushing ISP level filtering are either technically ignorant, trying to get their hands on public funds or working to their own agenda of which censoring porn is but one tiny part.

Xenia Sat 21-May-11 16:16:44

I agree that there are two separate points - will filtering work but secondly and more importantly why shoudl we be subject to it in the first place? Why should we move in the direction of China. Why should Cameron or the EU or mumsnet or other women tell any of us what the rest of us can look at whether that be wanting our children to watch blood sports on line or anti vivisection materials or watch creationist videos or aetheist materials, South Park or the Bible in pictures. It's for parents to determine and indeed for children once they reach an age when they should have that choice.

(I agree over the technical issues too)

The thing is once you start censoring where does it stop? It probabl is the case that most women in teh UK would be happy to see porn banned. I wouldn't but plenty would. Hoever that doesn't mean it's right to do so. First of all the majoriy are often like thick headless sheep on all kinds of issues and are often wrong - they want to string up without trialalleged sex offenders and countless other stuff which is why it is so much better we have others than the majority deciding things - how our democracy works. Secondly I want people to have rights to look at material I don't approve of. If their material is stopped next could be mine even it's just knitting patterns or the flat tax appreciation society or whatever people are into.

Filtering and censorship are the thin end of the wedge. This Government is supposedly seeking to rid us of all the laws Labour brought in to remove our rights and in some areas it does appear to be wanting to do so - less vetting etc. Let's hope it gets going properly rather than introducing more. It has a very long way to go.

"First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me."

PlentyOfPrimroses Sat 21-May-11 16:38:51

"Lots of people on Mumsnet are very keen on pornography," she said. Apparently late on Friday night is the best time to verify this, Roberts said.

shock have the feminists spotted this yet? It's uncomfortably close to the daily mash spoof article

I don't remember seeing much 'hysteria' hmm about censorship and freedom of speech (although I do think the proposed technology is dangerous in that regard) - most of the less-than-logical posts I read were of the 'think of the children!' variety.

I agree that parental education and support is the way to go and would wholeheartedly support a MN campaign to those ends. Most people nowadays manage to run antivirus and firewall software on their own systems - why should this be any different?

Ryoko Sat 21-May-11 17:28:05

Why don't parents get off their arses and inform themselves? honest to god I think everyone has turned into a lazy shit since the invention of Google, if they can't find what they are looking for with a few one word searches on a search engine and no one answers a post on a forum that seems to be it and they give up and swan off to do something else.

and that goes for everything really, no one bothers researching anything for themselves past taking the words of Wikipedia as 100% fact, no one bothers looking into anything and expects everyone else to do things for them.

A nation od dumbing down sleep walking into big brother control over everything.

BTW why the hell would a child need a phone that can access the internet? you can still get bog standard pay as you go non internet phones, I wouldn't give a kid any other type thats asking for trouble and they are not 100% safe, you are not supposed to use them for hours upon hours a day.

PlentyOfPrimroses Sat 21-May-11 17:47:56

I'm not sure laziness is the main problem, although there's certainly some of that. Lots of people are still really nervous of computers - especially downloading and installing software - they're frightened they'll break something! I'm helping out with basic IT classes for adults at the moment and was amazed by how many relatively young people turned up (30's and 40's) who weren't even confident switching the thing on. We're hoping to cover 'how to do a google search' next week.

I'd like to see proper, regularly run workshops for parents in every school covering all aspects of internet safety and for each school to have a member of staff that parents could contact if they were having problems with this.

Ryoko Sat 21-May-11 18:10:51

Thats still lazy IMHO, I don't get people who don't strive for understanding, it astounds me that there are drivers out there who don't know how the internal combustion engine works.

All things need to be learned, and researched, invention is fascinating, I don't understand people who own computers, let the kids on the things but really have no understanding of them, it's not that hard to gain knowledge, endless courses around, books to pick up and read, magazines to buy, I endlessly see adverts for free Which magazine guides to windows computing would be interesting to know how many of those have been sent out.

The workshops are a good idea but they would probably be hijacked by brands as advertisement for their products, after all the government is not adverse to giving contracts for everything to private companies, Internet security brought to you by McAfee.

I doubt many people would turn up to them anyway, like buying 18 rated games for kids, no one really cares until something happens that affects them and then they blame someone else for it.

PlentyOfPrimroses Sat 21-May-11 20:24:00

It's definitely a head-in-the-sand attitude but I do think the basic problem is fear. I think there are a lot of people who wouldn't have a computer at all if it weren't for the DCs needing one for homework. They don't understand it and they don't really want to have anything to do with it. It scares them and they'd rather not think about it, let alone think about all the horrible stuff that's out there.

All things need to be learnt but nobody can be an expert in all fields. I don't really understand how my boiler works but I'm happy to allow it in my house and let it provide hot water and heat. I'm quite happy to call in the experts when it goes wrong. This though, is one of those things which every parent needs to learn a bit about.

It's been quite eye-opening helping out on this basic IT course. All the classes are over-subscribed - people know they are being left behind. For most participants, this isn't the first class they've done - they've already had bad experiences on other courses. Most of the complaints are that previous courses have been too fast for them or that the tutors have been impatient, or that the courses have not been relevant to their needs.

I've never seen a course specifically for parents addressing internet safety - I think it would be an interesting thing to try. I think the branding danger is something worth considering - apart from anything else, if everybody is using the same software it's more vulnerable to attack <cough> internet explorer <cough>

I just think we shouldn't underestimate the amount of hand-holding that may be necessary on this one.

Xenia Sun 22-May-11 20:30:04

Schools do it around here - courses on i nternet safety but we mustn't assume all parents have the same view about what chidlren shuld access nor impose a view on them either. We need to accept some parents are very strict Mulsims, some are libertarian, some want to ensure girls only see material which shows women as housewives or only shows women as world leaders. We need to ensure parents are left to bring up their own childre in the way they think best and keep big brother state out of it.

As that is indeed the Conservative way hopefully we will be okay unless interfering do gooders seek to impose a one size fits all

NetworkGuy Tue 19-Jul-11 21:10:53

Channel 4 has just started series 5 of the Sex Education Show, this time from Redborne School, with a piece about what teens have seen which rather shocks the parents.

Good to see the show pushed parents as needing to discuss porn and getting more aware of parental controls and moving computers out of bedrooms.

HedleyLamarr Wed 20-Jul-11 00:57:31

If porn is outlawed and cut by the ISPs, then expect a massive increase in investment of programmers in onion routers. The porn industry was the first to introduce secure online payment and led the push toward HD video streaming. Where porn leads, the internet follows. I'm not condoning it for under 18s, but those over the legal age are surely free to choose what they watch within reason (and the law).
Thanks NetworkGuy for bumping this, I wasn't here when it was first posted.

Empusa Wed 20-Jul-11 00:59:32

"I said I thought parents' needed help because the stats show that many don't use internet safety tools (only 54% parents use filters)"

That sums it up for me! If someone cannot be bothered to use the tools already freely available then it is their own fault responsibility. Not someone elses.

Empusa Wed 20-Jul-11 01:02:08

"So this argument isn't about "porn should be banned" vs. "freedom on the internet". What this is really all about is "I know how the internet works and ISP filters are doomed to failure" vs. "I don't know how the internet works and won't listen to those who do"."

Just thought this needed saying twice.

HedleyLamarr Wed 20-Jul-11 01:26:27

I agree. Parents should be filtering their childrens' web browsing habits. As to your second point, that sounds right too. I'm agreeing too much, must go somewhere and pick an argument. grinwink

NetworkGuy Sat 30-Jul-11 00:20:40

Empusa wrote "If someone cannot be bothered to use the tools already freely available then it is their own fault responsibility. Not someone elses."

Unfortunately, the way that the minister for Culture, Media and Sport was thinking, the ISPs should block porn, and if they don't do it on a voluntary basis, then they need to be told to do it, which takes away public choice over the matter and goes against commonsense methods like educating parents.

It seems that the technical issues are considered something to be ignored (the fact they can be worked around is perhaps being overlooked for now, though developments in Italy recently to block VPNs and proxy servers is rather worrying), just like under Labour when their minister wanted every web page to get a rating of 18, 15, etc like films (and ignoring both the number of pages and that 'dynamic' pages can be innocent one second and 'XXX' the next if someone has uploaded an explicit photo!).

NetworkGuy Sat 30-Jul-11 00:22:13

Politicians (and their civil service advisors) are just not technically aware when it comes to the net (and more generally with IT, as so many costly civil service failures projects have shown).

NetworkGuy Sun 17-Jun-12 19:15:02

I know this is an old thread, but just recently spotted that OpenDNS offers their "FamilyShield" free for personal use. See their web page... > www.opendns.com/home-solutions/parental-controls/ <

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