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Monday, June 23, 2008

Ideas on how to deal with social networks and children

Ideas on how to deal with social networks and children

Where the minimum required age to join most social networks is the age of thirteen, there has to be to be programming implemented that would prevent people from taking advantage of children on the social networks.

Right now there is nothing stopping children from trying to posing as adults and despite efforts to keep adults that prey on children there is no way of tracking them if they haven’t been caught and even when caught unless they are kept from going online there is no guarantee that they would fulfill their requirement of staying off of the internet or away from children online if permitted online if they can’t help themselves.

I do not know how hard it is to prevent adults from going onto the internet but in areas where there are known to be children there should be safeguards in place, like when the child’s parents set up their child’s internet access and like in social networks we can have each social network put in programming that is designed to safeguard children.

Here are some ideas:

· Make it legally mandatory to have any internet access settings for children set up over the phone rather than through the parental controls on the computer so that the child if tech savvy enough cannot get around the parental controls on the computers. The parents would still have to protect the information used to set up the access for the child’s ability to access the internet so that the child cannot call up the internet provider.
· With social networks where there is an age requirement have access geared around that age provided. If an age is given to the social network that is eighteen and above require some sort of identification like that of a state ID or a social security number to prove that the person is over eighteen which if their real state ID number or social security number are used could be sent to authorities if they have suspect content on their personal pages on that network.
· When adults set up their homepage they should be required to answer questions as to what type of content they are looking for and what they will be looking to put on their page so that the social network would have some idea as to who can access that page. If there also should be periodic checks for content on the sites to make sure that the information provided corresponds to the content on the site.
· Complete separation of children from adults on social networks shouldn’t be required but rather how they can interact with each other should be restricted due to the possibility of actually communicating with family through that social network. The restriction should be based primarily on content and age appropriateness of the person trying to look at it so that even that if someone tries to provide access to content that isn’t age appropriate to someone that shouldn’t be viewing it can be prevented from viewing the content.
· With the internet in general, the children should be able to go online and be prevented from interacting with adults who they don’t know through a way of identifying in coming emails to the child’s email address even if it means that the ISP’s have to rewrite their email protocols to include a standardized marker regarding age that can be picked up by the ISP’s network that it is ultimately going to with it being able to send an automated response back that cannot be blocked stating that they cannot send emails to that email address. Anyone not on a list of email address of adults approved by the parents should automatically be blocked and the child cannot send to anything to an adult that isn’t on that list.

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