The Official Net Nanny Blog

The 6 Habits of Recovering Helicopter Parents

Are you worried that you might be a helicopter mom? Safeguarding our children is a priority for moms today but you may think you are stepping over the line.

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Last month I blogged about how the Australian government's decision to drop the educational NetAlert program and move forward with mandatory ISP filtering would do little to help protect families down under from the dangers on the Internet. 

To the surprise of many, including myself, it appears that the plan "has effectively been scuttled" according the the Sydney Morning Herald.  The fallout appears to come from independent Senator Nick Xenophon's decision to join the Greens and Opposition in blocking any legislation required to get the scheme started.

"The Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, has consistently ignored advice from a host of technical experts saying the filters would slow the internet, block legitimate sites, be easily bypassed and fall short of capturing all of the nasty content available online," the Morning Herald stated. On the heels of this, Senator Conroy still plans on moving ahead with the trial and even expanding it's scope outside of blocking illegal web site content. Senator Conroy recently said there was "a very strong case for blocking" other legal content that has been "refused classification." According to the classification code, this includes sites depicting drug use, crime, sex, cruelty, violence or "revolting and abhorrent phenomena" that "offend against the standards of morality".

Besides facing opposition from online consumers, lobby groups, ISPs, network administrators, some children's welfare groups, the Opposition, the Greens, NSW Young Labor and even the conservative Liberal senator Cory Bernardi, who famously tried to censor the chef Gordon Ramsay's swearing on television, Senator Conroy faces the toughest battle against the families he believes he is protecting. A poll from 2 weeks ago found that only 5 per cent of Australians want ISPs to be responsible for protecting children online and only 4 per cent want Government to have this responsibility. Parents actuallly want to take responsibility for what content their children consume. 

Parental control?
Imagine that.

Australian ISP Filtering Faces Failure

Last month I blogged about how the Australian government's decision to drop the educational NetAlert program and move forward with mandatory ISP filtering would do little to help protect families...

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Over the last couple weeks the Australian government has decided to end the NetAlert program, which was set-up 18 months ago to promote and distribute parental controls and Internet filters to every Australian family for free. That's right, the Australian government initially got it spot on by advocating responsible parenting and a holistic approach to Internet safety that included outreach, education and flexible empowerment tools.  

With the cancellation of the NetAlert program, the current political party has decided instead to introduce mandatory filtering at the ISP level. This has caused great controversy and outcries from down under that include censorship issues from Internet users, degradation of speeds that impact ISP customers, as well as forcing ISPs to become gatekeepers. This isn't sitting well with Telstra BigPond and the other service providers.

The most troubling aspect of the proposed ISP filtering mandate is the false sense of security that parents and educators will get from this. In today's evolving Web 2.0 world, the issues that effect and impact kids go beyond exposure to inappropriate adult or illegal material. Cyberbullying, harassment, sexual predators, phishing, phriending, illegal downloading, gambling and gaming addiction are just a few of the other challenges parents face when attempting to protect and monitor their child's Internet use. The NetAlert program tackled many of these complex issues by providing flexible and customizable desktop filtering clients which assist today's busy parents by filtering and blocking inappropriate content, as well as monitoring and reporting on inappropriate conduct and contacts.

Now, instead of promoting Internet safety and getting schools, parents, and businesses involved in what kids are doing online, the Australian government has instead gone down the path of the "federal firewall" by enacting heavy handed mandates that may stop some already illegal content from being accessed by it's citizens, but at what cost?

Australian Government Exposes Kids to Online Dangers

Over the last couple weeks the Australian government has decided to end the NetAlert program, which was set-up 18 months ago to promote and distribute parental controls and Internet filters...

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