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Re: [vox][OT response] Article: A parent's guide to LinuxWeb filtering
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Re: [vox][OT response] Article: A parent's guide to LinuxWeb filtering

Ken Bloom wrote:

On Thu, Jul 01, 2004 at 12:21:30PM -0700, Dave Margolis wrote:

Bill Kendrick wrote:

Noticed this article over at NewsForge.  Looks neat, and is written in
a down-to-Earth fashin, from the first few paragraphs I've read so far...

A parent's guide to Linux Web filtering
By: Joe Bolin

Interesting stuff. Cool use of Squid. I'll have to look into Dan's Guardian...

The program is called DansGuardian, not "Dan's Guardian".
If you look about 1/4 down the newsforge page, they author of the article wrote it that way. However, I stand corrected, and I'll apologize to "Dan" when I see him. :-)

First off, the article serves as a nice simple tutorial in setting up a
transparent proxy in general, so you can be introduced to that
technique without necessarily setting it up as a content filter. In
this case, you're asking about web content filtering to remove
objectionable ideas.
Hmmm, The article that I was commenting on was called "A Parent's Guide to Linux Web Filtering". If we were talking about "A System Administrators Guide to Linux Web Filtering", I might agree, but I think the parents the author refers to in the first paragraph ("Can I set up parental Web filters for my children using Linux?") wanted to know how to filter out porn and/or other objectionable material. Some companies, governments, etc. endeavor to filter out non-productive content (like Sports sites, music sites, or whatever), but my guess is most filtering if for porn.

Does anybody see the real value in Web filtering?
An adult might do it to protect *himself* from the temptation. The
only problem is that if you set this yourself, you'll know exactly how
to disable it. Although the some methods of disabling it are more
complicated than others (eg. Transparent proxying is more complicated
than using your web-browser settings to set up proxying, which is more
difficult to beat than putting the common porn sites in your hosts
file mapped to, you might still find yourself going to
disable it, but it can help supplement the force of willpower to keep
you from visiting said sites.
That's just a silly concept. That would be like locking the door to the kitchen as a diet technique. If it works for you, great, but you'd have to hide the key from me for that to really work. I'm not going to loose any weight until I come to grips with the fact that I need to be on a diet. Compulsive behavior is compulsive.

(The Jewish sages said: the greater a man, the greater his evil
That is a very cool quote.

1. Sure I can filter stuff at home, but I can't filter what my son sees at a friend's house. It would be nice to say I could have better control over how responsible the other kid's parents were, but we know that's not possible. We're already dealing with this type of thing with cartoons. We try not to let our son watch violent cartoons, but his friends parents let their kids watch Power Rangers and Yugio and all that stuff. I could get all uptight about that and try to talk to the parents, or I could just communicate with my son about violence and the potential effects of what he watches, which is my preference.

In a place where there are agreed upon community standards (like a very
religious community), you would be much less likely to have this
problem. In many Orthodox Jewish communities for example, people don't
own TV's, so there's none of this problem about watching violent
cartoons at a friend's house.

I agree. In a smaller town, or a closer-knit community, the effects of these issues would be greatly reduced. Bill mentioned that TV was a lot less gnarly when we were kids. The A-Team had guns, but they never actually shot anybody. The Dukes worst crime was speeding. However, we live in an increasingly-gritty urban society, where kids at younger ages have access to computers, cell phones, etc. Only through communciation and involvement with our kids are they going to end up on the right path. I can lock that kitched door, but that won't keep them from trading their PBnJ for Ho-Hos at school. Hopefully, if they absolutly must satisfy their curiosity, they'll taste the Ho-Hos and say, "you were right dad, those are nasty".

3. I expect my son to be pretty technically astute (he already is, and we've never pushed it on him). If my future teenage son hacks my content filter to see some boobies, I'm gonna give him a high-five.

Remember that in general, congratulating your child for doing
something cute, but nevertheless ethically wrong, isn't going to teach
him any ethics. You decide whether viewing porn is ethically wrong,
but I think it is.

I meant that high-five thing as a joke. However, I do think cleverness deserves a reward. Having said that, I don't want my kids coming up with "clever" methods for stealing cars, so I agree.

I don't think viewing porn is ethically wrong. I DO think it's a bad way to get information about sex. I honestly wish my early understanding of sexuality wasn't muddled by Huslter. We can blame some dude at boyscout camp for that.

I also think that porn is destructive for the way our society views women, the human body, etc. These are the things I want my kids to understand...not so much the "naughty" part of it.

4. What about electronic freedom and all that? Doesn't content filtering (even for porn) seem to contrast a strong belief in OSS and organizations like the FSF and EFF?

It may be significant whether one's doing it for himself/his family
versus when one does it to a whole organization that he controls,
versus doing it to random members of the public.

And false positives exacerbate this issue.

Agreed. We're not talking about filtering the public's access to the internet, so the whole content filtering as an impingement on freedom thing that I was musing about is kind of moot.

Anyway, I plan on being involved on my sons' use of the internet as much as possible. I don't plan on being too upset if they are curious about sex, drugs, or anything else that I was curious about. My parents were available, but pretty laissez faire. I turned out all right.

Remember that putting computers in common-areas of the house (so that
you can supervise that your children aren't doing anything
objectinable) only works to an extent. When it's late at night, or the
parents are out of the house doing errands, there's no longer any
supervision to keep kids from doing something that's objectionable.

Good point.  This also points back to what I said about other kids' houses.

I'm curious to hear some comments from other parents (especially of older kids).

I'm not a parent. I'm a college student.
Cool, thanks for your commments. I was just thinking out loud...it's good to get other perspectives.

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