the net should be 16+

Recent events have caused me to rethink my stance on censorship. I usually take a liberal position on such matters: I think everything should be open, honest and available. Take drugs,, for example: I recently found that I do not llike weed, but I didn’t know that till I tried it. Until then it was something verboten – a mystery to be fettishised. The same goes with information, data and so forth – I believe, or used to believe, that all information should be freely available to all. How else could one make informed decisions?

We all know that the internet is a great place to find stuff out as well as to share information. On the internet I can put my opinions forth, I can find information about almost anything, I can catch up with my friends and show them what I’ve been getting up to. However, the problem is that kids use the net too, and their little brains are apparently not ready for certain things. Given that kids must be protected, either we impose some kind of censorship on the net, or some kind of age restriction. In my opinion, to censor the internet would be impractical; it would also defeat it’s very purpose. I know there’s already a ban on extreme material online, as there should be, but I’m talking about things that most people wouldn’t bat an eyelid at but kids wouldn’t understand. I rather think it would be more practical to ban children from the net until their sixteenth birthday. This would be enforceable given that, before that age, most kids are around parents or teachers when using computers. We already ban buying alcohol, driving cars and having sex before that age, and using the internet can be more dangerous than any of those things.

This goes against all my instincts, but I’ve decided that the only way to protect kids online is simply not to let them online, as the alternative would make a mockery of the very concept of the net.

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