18 PlusThese are the links I wanted to share before I sat down to write, I place them here for easy reference. Protecting the kids (yours and ours) takes a coordinated efforts between Webmasters and Parents.


I am a blogger and webmaster who regularly publishes images and content inappropriate for children to a publicly shared space where there are no boundaries enforced to separate the kids from the grown ups.

In most states, if you have a pool in your back yard, you must enclose it with a fence of minimum height and secure the gate with a locking mechanism. This is meant to protect children. There is no analogous protection to prevent children’s access to adult content online, it is up to parents and webmasters to be vigilant lifeguards at the pool’s edge.

Blogger and Webmaster Angst

I witness fellow bloggers struggle with the idea that minors help themselves to the porn buffet they themselves dish out. Generally such “18 and older only!” posts get affirmation from similar minded bloggers but they almost always generate debate. In my opinion, you cannot throw candy into a crowd and then be choosy about who picks it up. You must acknowledge your role and accept that when you relinquish control (when you publish) it is out of your hands.

Am I saying that bloggers and webmasters should avoid publishing adult content? NO! Please don’t get me wrong… I am very happy doing what I do, it entertains me, puts me in contact with similar minded people, and generally enriches my life. But as a webmaster I have a role to play in protecting your kids from material you may not want them to see.

Parental Angst

My kids don’t know a world without the Internet and its influence on their lives is invisible to them… like water to a fish. I see it though; I witness them consume everything they find online, send messages and pictures instantly from their iPods, engage in individual and group social interactions… all within the familiar context of home which buoys their comfort and confidence and lowers their ability to assess risk.

My father never did a very good job of hiding the Playboys which, as a kid, seemed like the waxy coated outer fringes of deviance to me. I was not harmed by discovering them and I did not become the sexually objectifying man my mother feared I would. No harm, nothing scary, just prepubescent thrills.

As a father myself now I have to lead my kids through a very different world and I have to employ different tactics to hide the Playboys. Jane’s and my approach to raising kids in a more sexually aware America is a broad strategy, our intent is not to keep them naive but to let them drink in the world around them at a pace they can properly process and to do that safely without fear, self doubt, or surprise.

What Can Bloggers and Webmasters Do?

Your due diligence is self preservation. Identify your site as having adult content in a way that enables filtering via web browsers, ISPs, firewall/proxy servers, plugins, toolbars, commercial filtering software and even operating systems. You can do this (as I have) with a simple meta tag on all your pages (i.e. in your blog’s template).

The Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection (ASACP) is popularizing a mechanism to do this with their RTA Label. I recommend you read the FAQ page as it describes the effort, ease of implementation, and makes a compelling argument for action.

GET THE META TAG HERE!

What Can Parents Do?

At our house the kids are connected to the Internet through their PC’s, iPods, gaming consoles, and blue ray player. The list of devices grows each year, I am painfully aware of this because I am also the Help Desk.

I recently had a friend ask what we do in our home to filter our kids Internet access. After explaining it briefly I sat down to document it with links and simple instruction but ended up with a lengthy document describing the technology, its benefits, and pitfalls. Maybe it was overkill… I do that sometimes. I did it because I thought there were more parents out there like us… and I know I would have appreciated finding this information myself.

The bottom line is, it’s surprisingly simple AND FREE to get enterprise quality Internet filtering at home that covers ALL your Internet connected devices.

GET INFO ABOUT A FREE HOME SOLUTION HERE!

We wish you the very best of luck in your efforts to stand guard at the pool’s edge. It is not difficult, we do it. The information may seem overwhelming at first but that’s only because I ramble!