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Username: nicholasmoraitis
Date/Time: Sat, November 4, 2000 at 3:14 PM GMT (Sun, November 5, 2000 at 1:14 AM EAST)
Browser: Netscape Communicator V4.5 using Windows 95
Score: 5
Subject: Remember the real issues too!


                        Dear ICANN users,

We can tie ourselves up in moral arguments (which are open and closed already), but the real issues are the ones receiving scant regard.

Yes, it is important that children do not access inappropriate material. But this can go to an extreme! In one post, a woman outlined a story in which she suggested we need a closed off system so that her friend's son (who I assume is teenage) would no longer be able to download from the net a screensaver of a woman wearing only  (shock-horror!) a bikini. Really! As a teenager myself, I can testify that at least in the west there are certainly few walls in your average teenagers bedroom  (male or female) without some form of semi-clad image of the opposite sex.

The parent is wrong in blaming the technology, when culpability in reality lies with the teenager (afterall, it's very hard to  accidently download and install a screensaver), OR more justly, with the parents themselves. They should have either successfully imbued their child with their own values (as perhaps my parents have arguably done), or long since recognised their crusade as fruitless, and instead assisted their child come to place such pictures within a moral context (appropriate to the individual beliefs of the family). We should neither blame the technology for human nature/problems OR put all our trust in a technical solution (such as filtering or domain names). Both approaches in moderation have a lot to offer. Whatever happens, we know that all these applicants are already taking this issue seriously, in their own way.

What is more important to discuss are those issues which are barely on their radar screen. The issues of pricing, of structure, of commercial domination of the space, of youth involvement, of international participation, of non-profit, of process, and of charitable giving. The issue, in my mind, is not how we can use .kids to create a space on the Internet free from 'dangerous' or 'bad things', but how we can design the technical and business model architecture of .kids to create a positive, educational and empowering platform for young people which can make them better citizens today, as well as the leaders of tomorrow.

These issues are equally, if not more important than discussing the (probably futile, but necessary to include in a proposal because it is what the public wants) possibility of 'protecting' kids from undisirable content. Lets not talk of 'protecting', but instead of 'empowering'!! Not how we can filter out undisirable content, but how we can use this 'blank slate' to create DISIRABLE content! :)

warm regards,


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

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