Teaching our children to lie
My son is being encouraged to lie.
It's a fairly regular occurrence around here, and I'm sure you've seen it yourself. It's that checkbox on the website you're visiting where you say "Yes, I am over X years of age".
Today's annoyance was that Fraser's Youtube account has been blocked.
That just seems silly. It's an open website where anyone can read pretty much anything, except that to have an account on there you have to be older than X years (I haven't bothered to discover how old X is - it's not relevant).
So it seems there's this website, worth many billions of dollars and these guys can only control the functionality available to signed up members with an "on/off" switch. Is it bad if under 12 year olds post comments in a public forum? Oh, we should not let them create accounts then. Is it bad if under 8 year olds see soft porn? Oh, if we stop them creating accounts they'll be safe from that! What about the 14 year old with the videos of her cat? Well we definitely, definitely don't want that!
That's ludicrous! Can these people not design a website to accept a child? Someone who might want to log into the website just like mummy and daddy do?
Then, when the honest child is logged in, perhaps the account can be linked to a parent's account, or perhaps it could just be restricted in different ways.
Let's see what they say an account on Youtube offers you:
- Subscribe to your favorite channels.
- Rent or purchase top Hollywood movies
- Save videos to watch later
- Get recommendations based on what you've watched
- Share videos you like on Facebook, Twitter, and more
- Find your Facebook, Yahoo, Hotmail and Gmail contacts on YouTube
- Watch private videos from friends and family
OK, so as far as I can see:
- Might be useful to any age person, and is entirely innocuous in the context of the
content of Youtube which is available to anonymous visitors of any age.
- Well, Fraser wouldn't be able to pay, since he doesn't have anything to pay
with. I guess he could steal my credit card, but if he's already at that level
of skullduggery then some silly checkbox would be "child's play" to his lying
- Entirely innocuous.
- Seems pretty innocuous too.
- Presumably he wouldn't because 10 year old's can't have identities. And this
functionality could easily be restricted, in any case
- And if there are no relationships, there are no friends. Maybe there is family,
which is fine, I guess. I think the risks here are controllable.
So there's plenty of value to a 10 year old in having an account. There's nothing that most reasonable parents would be concerned about, if there was a clear policy of limited functionality in place that parents could see and have confidence in.
The Youtube thing actually seems to be related to (maybe) to Google's recent push towards "identity". Children younger than X are not allowed to have an on-line identity, because they might run amok on the intarwebs. Or see scary stuff. Or something.
And yet, by denying them an account, they are removing any ability to actually apply a level of control that reflects the presumed maturity (since, after all, age is no more a direct measure of maturity than height).
Truly though, what totally pisses me off about this situation, is that Fraser associated a bunch of channels with his Youtube account, and he receives a weekly digest of the activity.
Unfortunately we can't log in to turn it off.