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A few weeks ago, I was walking the couple of kilometres from home to the mechanic to collect the car. On the way, I wound up walking for a short ways behind a couple of teenage high-school girls, maybe 13, if I’m any judge of these things. One was telling the other about how to trade pornography online without being tripped up by filtering software or school administrators checking network logs.

It was simple, she said. Any Web-site or forum designed for teens that allowed content to be uploaded could be used for trading. Teen sites were never software filtered and none of the activity ever showed up on network administrator’s logs as unusual.

“What if someone checks in on you?” asked the other.

“Nobody does. Adults would rather die than spend time hanging around with us. Especially online”

Even so, she said, a little circumspection was prudent. It was rare, but very occasionally a site administrator might notice something. “It hardly ever happens, and when they find something, they just delete it. Nobody ever reports it publicly.”

These techniques neatly step around both the current government’s mandatory Internet censorship plan and the opposition’s net protection plan.

The odds are your kids already know how to sidestep either of these without detection, simply by swapping any prurient material on sites that are rated as okay for teens (and, of course, swapping between mobile devices). Your kids are likely familiar with the ins and outs of this even if you’re not, and none of the proposed legislation is even going to slow that down so far as I can see.

How did she find this out? The first girl smiled. “From [a boy in her class],” she named him, “I had to sit in his lap, but he showed me all about it. I’ll show you when we get home, if you like.”

The conversation then turned to the usual sorts of topics among teens that adults, frankly, just tune out.

Actual supervision and good parenting make the most effective protection for your children. It’s also a darn sight cheaper.

* Disclaimer: I’ve slightly paraphrased the conversation, rather than giving it word for word.



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