Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ The Dirty Secret About Web Filters

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

May 26, 1999

Posted to Jesse Berst's Anchor Desk 26 May 1999

When people talk about "protecting their kids" other people assume they mean "blocking access to unsafe materials". This is the premise behind filtering software.

But safeguarding kids has never been about blocking access. It is about giving them the capacity for intelligent choice. This is why, for example, we teach kids what to do when a stranger approaches instead of keeping them locked in our homes, even though the streets may be dangerous.

Filtering software is not an ally. It is a hinderance, because it does not teach. Instead of showing kids how to respond to in appropriate content, it attempts to hide them from it. The inevitable result is that kids will be unprepared to deal with dangerous material when it is finally presented to them.

Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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