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Username: nicholasmoraitis
Date/Time: Sat, October 14, 2000 at 11:52 AM GMT (Sat, October 14, 2000 at 9:52 PM EAST)
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Subject: Where are the kids in ".kids?"


                                  Dear fellow members of ICANN,

As a young person, not yet 18, I have had a significant interest over a number of years in the place young people have online. Like many other young people, I was creating 'online communities', buying stuff online and creating content suitable for those in my age group, before most adults had heard about e-mail, let alone Over the Internet's short life with a mass-audience, children and teenagers have been the pacesetters. For this reason, I find the notion that a company composed solely of adults should utterly control a .kids domain name, without one iota of mandated (or even mentioned) youth involvement, beyond the pale.

I've heard a rumour that young people are not capable at organising things - that they can't handle big (or small) ideas or tasks, and that adults must therefore do everything for them. I don't know who started this rumour, but it is unfortunate that it has permeated even the most 'progressive' areas of our society, those associated with the information revolution -- for it is a fiction.

Carol Bellamy, Executive Director of UNICEF made a very good speech on this matter which you can find at

Don't get me wrong. I'm all for there being a specific TLD for the kids and youth demographic. There are plenty of youth based organisations and projects which would benefit dramatically from having such a space focusing on, and adaptable to their needs.

However, it would be wonderful, I believe, if young people themselves had control over their space - just as trade unions propose to control their dot.union space, and the World Health Organisation representing the medical sector proposes to control Obviously, this 'ownership' is a tad impractical when it comes to youth. Unlike workers in unions, young people are terribly organised. They don't all belong to little 'youth groups' which are part of the bigger picture, connected in federations at the national level and again internationally. And those groups that do go some way to global youth representation like Scouts are, to put it mildy, apolitical and retrogressive. Not putting too fine a point on it, who is going to pay the $50,000 non-refundable deposit? Certainly not your average young person working at McDonalds!

There are projects afoot, and good ones, which aim to organise youth. There are a few, like the one I work with, Nation1 (, which attempt to utilise modern day technology to do this, to give youth a voice online and off. But none has the resources to operate a domain name space -- so far.

A solution is available here, one that is pragmatic and fair. Put simply, needs to be run by adults, but young people need to be involved every step of the way -- not just as consumers, but as advisors (hey, young people know more about youth than adults!), participants, AND as board members. And ALL profits from such a space should be put back into youth developmental projects, not just a small percentage.

A few months back, David Sontag posted a pretty important note asking why those under 16 were excluded from voting within IEARN on the critical issues relating to the technical governance of the Internett, and the social structure which arises from there - considering those not yet 'adult' make up such a large proportion of the Internet's population.

What I want to know is why ICANN does not, at the very least, have an independent youth advisory body.  In my home country of Australia, there are certainly few governing bodies (at a local, state of Federal level) that do not have a youth committee -- or have a spot reserved for a young person within their 'proper' board. I myself am a young person on the National Advisory Council of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (our equivilent of the BBC or CBC in Canada). Our website is at It just so happens that youth issues, how to make ABC programming/marketing relevant to the needs of young people is a key issue the council has to address. I try (and believe I succeed) in providing that perspective. I would be more than happy to provide further assistance in conceptualising the place/role/logistics of such a body within ICANN.

I will be looking forward to reading the other proposals for .kids domain names as they come online. One thing is certain: ICANN must consider the needs and involvement of young people within a .kids or .youth domain name to be a critical criteria, in assessing their relative merits.

Perhaps if you don't, you'll realise how active and noisy young people can be.

warm regards,

Nick Moraitis, age 17

Nick Moraitis
Co-Coordinator -
Nation1 -
Author, "Cyberscene: a teen traveller's guide to the web"
(Penguin Books 1999)
Link: Nation1

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