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Even in defeat, I try to be entertaining - Elf M. Sternberg
Even in defeat, I try to be entertaining
Well, I finally had to give up and install a household filter. Omaha will protest that this was a lot more work than it should have been, and I would be inclined to agree with her if it handn't been a simple matter of installing two pieces of software the old-fashioned way: ./configure && make && sudo make install. I had forgotten just how underpowered the household router is: it's a Pentium M, 286MhZ machine with 32MB of ram and a 4GB drive. Still, it's been an absolute rock for the past six years. But we might have to up it a bit if we're asking it to do filtering.

Part of me is convinced that this is a failure: I haven't taught my kids well enough about what's good to put into their minds, and what isn't. On the other hand, I still can't watch them all the time, even when their computer is in the den where everyone can see it. And using SARG will at least give me an idea if they're trying repeatedly to get into things that I need to talk to them about.

Don't Go There
But you know me. I can't leave well enough alone. I hated the template for the warning, so I pulled it up in emacs and edited it. Omaha and I posed for a photograph. This is what you see if you try to navigate to Fleshbot. Whaddya think?

Current Mood: amused amused
Current Music: Bruce Dickinson, Tears of the Dragon

26 comments or Leave a comment
dr_memory From: dr_memory Date: July 28th, 2008 01:09 am (UTC) (Link)
Out of curiosity, what software did you use? This has recently been an issue for some friends of mine, and I didn't realize there were any OSS tools to be brought to bear.
elfs From: elfs Date: July 28th, 2008 01:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Dan's Guardian, which is a filter you put in front of Squid. For the image, I needed a separate small webserver; I used THTTPD. For reporting and tracking, there's SARG.

All of which runs on a very low-powered Linux box. You can probably pick one up used in any major city for about $25. But, as they say, Linux is only free if your time is worthless.
mouser From: mouser Date: July 28th, 2008 03:57 am (UTC) (Link)
I'd add in OpenDNS if I had kids...
trinsf From: trinsf Date: July 28th, 2008 01:28 am (UTC) (Link)
TrinSF: http://flickr.com/photos/elfsternberg/2707920047/sizes/o/
TrinSF: Hehehehehe.
Younger Child: it scares me!
shunra From: shunra Date: July 28th, 2008 01:41 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm seriously ROTFLing here - but hey, that isn't a defeat. You're successfully raising daughters whose minds are lively and curious and you have also found a fairly effective way to make conversation happen when they stray out of the bounds of Acceptable Brain Input.

I salute you & Omaha (and your death stares)!
featheredfrog From: featheredfrog Date: July 28th, 2008 02:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Looks like something out of a Weird Al video. I don't know if that's a compliment or a criticizm.

Fleshbot? As a parent, I'd be more interested in HOW they learned of that site than that they were trying to get there...I prefer to interdict the vector rather than the information.
elfs From: elfs Date: July 28th, 2008 02:49 am (UTC) (Link)
Fleshbot was what I chose as the base test. I imagine the girls have never even heard the term. I have no idea what I'll use to show them how it works. Maybe something that's at least in the air, like Playboy.
slutdiary From: slutdiary Date: July 28th, 2008 02:49 am (UTC) (Link)
I could have sworn that was an image of Vernon and Petunia Dursley....
From: technoshaman Date: July 28th, 2008 03:57 am (UTC) (Link)
*snerk* The Dursleys are considerably more *round*... :)

But, yeah. Like the "Don't go near there!" bit. (But Betty!)
mundens From: mundens Date: July 28th, 2008 03:40 am (UTC) (Link)
Personally, I never bothered stopping my children from looking at anything. I knew that if I did that it would just encourage them to become better at hacking than I was, and I preferred to maintain my superiority for as long as possible by not affording them reasons to challenge it! :)

Still, if you must censor, I suppose having something humorous like that on the block page at least points out the hilarity of the attempt!

You know they'll just use their cell-phones or someone else's wireless to access anything you block, don't you? :)
omahas From: omahas Date: July 28th, 2008 04:11 am (UTC) (Link)
1) They don't have cell phones
2) They don't go to friends houses to access stuff there. In fact, it's like pulling teeth to arrange time at friends houses because they just don't seem all that interested.
3) They aren't interested in "accessing stuff that we don't want them to". In fact, that isn't the problem. The problem is them just randomly accessing stuff that we find problematic because, for example, they click on a link that takes them to a YouTube video, then clicking on another one, then another one, until they've inadvertently clicked on one that is quite totally inappropriate for a child that age.

And thank-you very much, but I prefer to review what my child has access to before she actually looks at it. Which is why I didn't like Glubble, because they didn't even have an opportunity to find something they might be interested in to ask us about first. Glubble didn't let them. This does...it just doesn't let them see it until we can review it first.
mikstera From: mikstera Date: July 29th, 2008 01:29 am (UTC) (Link)

As someone who is planning on having kids...

and someone who has a knee-jerk resistance to censorship of any kind, what sort of filtering criteria did you end up using? Are you mostly concerned with the installation of malware, identity theft / the acquisition of personal information, or something else? Did you tell your kids you were putting that filtering in place beforehand, and, if so, how did you present it?
omahas From: omahas Date: July 29th, 2008 09:50 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: As someone who is planning on having kids...

Well, first off, regarding the censorship issue...do you plan on allowing your kids to watch you have sex if they want to? If the answer to that is no, then you will already have made a censorship decision. How about if they are five and want to see a rated R film cause it has a superhero character in it. Will you decided that you need to review the film first? You've just made a censorship decision. Have any "interesting" pictures of you and/or your loved one lying about that you've decided will need to be placed on a high shelf? Another censorship decision has been made.

We make censorship decisions all of the time around kids...but when it comes to the Internet, curiously we jump all up and down and call it information and freak out about not giving them access to the "freedom to expand their minds" and whatnot. I'm sorry, but kids minds don't need to be expanded that much in that short a period of time.

I'm not interested in my three-year-old coming up to me and telling me that she knows how to give a blow job and, oh btw, do I want to see (btw, this is actual experience, because of said three-year-old's mothers ideas about "censorship").

Kids don't know what is and is not socially acceptable to be doing/saying when they are under certain ages...said ages not to be set in stone, but to be figured out by individual and mental/psychological state of mind. If they think something is interesting, they will adhere to it and repeat it and even try to do it..and what they find interesting will be entirely different from what you and I find interesting. They have to be taught what is acceptable to try out at what age levels and when.

To answer your questions directly, at the moment we used the default filtering criteria that had come with the dansguardian set, I think I've already addressed your second question (both in this post and other comments I've made in this thread), and yes, we have told them about the filtering. In fact that was the reason we installed the Glubble software in the beginning. We had told them where they were allowed to go and where they weren't, and said that if they wanted to look at something that was on the no list they could come ask first. Asking wasn't a priority, so they lost that privilege. The Glubble software, however, didn't even allow the ability to ask in the first place. We were trying to find a good median in between.

Edited at 2008-07-29 09:51 pm (UTC)
mikstera From: mikstera Date: July 30th, 2008 12:20 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: As someone who is planning on having kids...

I get the impression you thought I was somehow criticizing your decision to install filtering software. I wasn't, and apologize if it came out sounding that way. While I may have a knee-jerk objection to censorship, I also recognize that there's material for which kids lack the context or experience to deal with.

I simply wanted to know how you implemented your decision to filter.
omahas From: omahas Date: July 30th, 2008 01:16 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: As someone who is planning on having kids...

I'm really sorry, because I wasn't intending that the response be perceived as responding to a criticism. Basically, I just wanted to show that (1) we are always making censorship decisions and the kinds that we end up making and (2) the kind of censorship/filtering we do for our kids really comes down to individual situations and how we perceive our kids can handle said situations.

The ending may have especially come across as being sharp, and I'm sorry...I was actually getting in a hurry, as I saw that I was going to be late for my bus and I was trying to get my thoughts out as quickly as possible. Heh.

If you are asking about how we decided about using this *particular* kind of filtering software, well that comes down to having tried to use Glubble and found it totally lacking in what we wanted...which was to allow the girls to have the ability to do things like searching online, while still not allowing them to access the actual sites that they found that might not be appropriate, and yet allowing them to talk to us about getting access anyway.

Glubble allowed for the conversation (in a very difficult manner) but there was no ability to, for example, search using Google or any other search tool. If you didn't already know where you wanted to go (and thus, one would perceive, most likely already have the permission) you couldn't find out about it/explore it to get the permission in the first place. And that just didn't work for us. Nice UI though. :)

I read a great review of Glubble that mirrored my views about it and then in the comments everyone lauded Dansguardian and OpenDNS (which we haven't implemented yet). So we decided to try it out, and it seems to do exactly what we want. So we'll see if it works, alter the filters over time as the kids get older, etc, and hope that it does the things we needed.

But I do believe that making sure the kids know that the filtering software is in place and why is absolutely essential. That is making them a part of the process of protection and exploration. They understand why this is happening, and more importantly why it will change over time and how they can feel empowered by it, rather than restricted by it.

Hope this helps and comes off as not being nasty. :)
lisakit From: lisakit Date: July 28th, 2008 04:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Yah, that look would keep me from going there. ;p
acelightning From: acelightning Date: July 28th, 2008 05:50 am (UTC) (Link)
Alas, most kids, once they reach a certain age, will decide that "parental disapproval" means "wow, this must be great stuff!". But then they have to learn the programming skills to get around the protections.

From: qtplatypus Date: July 28th, 2008 01:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
I personally don't see a problem with them learning computer skills to get around the censorware. That class skills is important. Indeed all of the censor screen bypassing methods have important life lessons.

* Technological -> Computer skills
* Use friends connection -> Peer interpersonal skills
* Negotiate with mum and dad -> NonPeer interpersonal skills.
omahas From: omahas Date: July 28th, 2008 03:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
I figure that by the time they reach the ability to get around the censorware, they are probably old enough to know that "Oh, I don't enter my email address into every window that asks me to" and "Oh, maybe I shouldn't just click on every video that pops up at me", and "Oh, maybe I shouldn't click 'yes' to every window that pops up asking me to install something."
acelightning From: acelightning Date: July 29th, 2008 12:51 am (UTC) (Link)
I applaud your attitude. I don't think kids are harmed all that much by seeing or reading sexual content; in my experience, they either ignore it because it's not interesting to them yet, or they simply find it puzzling, and want to know why those people are doing those things. They should be able to ask their parents about it... even if it embarrasses the parents. Anyway, that's how my son was raised. (Although it did get a bit awkward when he found some of my writing online, when he was about fourteen...)

Edited at 2008-07-29 12:52 am (UTC)
acelightning From: acelightning Date: July 29th, 2008 12:47 am (UTC) (Link)

(Deleted comment)
omahas From: omahas Date: July 28th, 2008 03:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, it's unfortunate that Elf looks upon this as defeat or failure. That is his issue, not mine. I'm very happy and comfortable with this method of placing the kids online. They get to explore the internet in a manner that doesn't take nasty advantage of their lack of pragmatism and wisdom at the age they are at.

Our job right now is to teach them over time that pragmatism and wisdom so that, as they get older, we don't have to worry about them exploring the Internet without any censor anywhere. By then they can make intelligent and practical choices about what they click and, with the full knowledge of why they are clicking on it...not just to click on an "ooh, shiny".
shunra From: shunra Date: July 28th, 2008 05:55 pm (UTC) (Link)

My daughter (10) has the same issue with shiny stuff, and refuses to go through the "training" that we've offered her. Hence, she has (very) limited computer use privileges. When she's willing to sit still for an explanation and demonstrate that she's understood it, she'll get the license-to-click. It's kind of like getting license to drive, or (in our household) to walk around town (we're in Port Townsend, which is very safe AS SOON AS the basic rules had been internalized.)

Interestingly, my kids were very (very very very) different about the urgency they felt about this. That led to very different rules at different ages, and the inevitable "how come HE can and I can't?" - which got the response "he passed the road test, you haven't".
beanish From: beanish Date: July 28th, 2008 08:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
You know, all things considered, I think, when I was younger/pre-teen/teenaged, I might not have been annoyed at this sort of thing. I mean, granted, there wasn't the World Wide Web and all that, so it was infinitely harder to get ahold of "inappropriate" materials...

But, the main thing is -- the last sentence of your warning. That's the thing I like. You're willing to talk to them about it if they thing there's a valid reason for them to go there.... That's the thing I like. The sense of "listen, we think you're not ready for this, but -- talk to us. We might be wrong." That's the thing I'm grooving on.

norincraft From: norincraft Date: July 28th, 2008 09:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
If I were a kid, I would laugh the first few times and then either get annoyed or ask you two for permission.

Hopefully the larger part of you doesn't view this a failure or something to fix but something normal.

If this doesn't work, perhaps you should send them to a convent.

.. but NOT catholic school, that might seriously backfire. The next thing you know, your daughters are manga characters.
_candide_ From: _candide_ Date: July 31st, 2008 02:56 am (UTC) (Link)

I'm reminded of a thread in soc.bi from long, long ago. One of the soc.bi-denizens from the Netherlands told the story of his 8 or 10 y.o. son's attitude towards online porn: stoopid grown-ups' nudie-pics. It held no context for this pre-pubescent kid. And since it wasn't something harshly-forbidden, but instead was something parents were very interested in, that made it instantly uninteresting.

Now, since you, Elf, and Omaha were also denizens of USENET back then, my reaction to "the defeat," was, "Oh, C'mon, Elf. I'm sure that you and your wife are raising your daughters in an enlightened, 'open-but-bounded.' environment."

Which is pretty much what Omaha's comments confirm.

No need to worry about these two, everyone else. :)
26 comments or Leave a comment