child protection + anti-cheating

Caroline Meeks solutiongrove at
Sun Jan 11 10:22:49 EST 2009

On Sat, Jan 10, 2009 at 11:25 PM, Chris Ball <cjb at> wrote:

> Hi Carlos,
> I hope you don't mind if I give some blunt/opinionated answers:
>   > How do we protect children from accessing porn or other
>   > questionable content, and how do we prevent malicious persons from
>   > communicating with kids, like say, child predators in IRC?
> You can't prevent this, if you also want to provide Internet access.
>   > Do we have mechanisms in place for those or best practices to
>   > address these concerns?
> "dansguardian" and "squidguard" are free pieces of software that attempt
> to detect questionable content; they are often installed by schools.
> You could ask questions about these on the school server-devel list.

I think of the filtering system like  a fence around the  school
playground.  In an urban environment would anyone argue there shouldn't be a
fence? For me the target range for Sugar is 3-12. Just like the fence around
the playground at 3, its actually reasonably secure and there is an
expectation that the kid will actually always stay inside the fence.  By 12
its a symbol that tells the child this is a safe place to play, if you walk
out the gate be more careful.

People don't put up barbed wire and locks on the gate just because a 12 year
old might walk out of the school yard at recess.  But the fence is still an
important part of saying this is school and child friendly, this is outside
school and the world of adults.

My son is 16 and attends a public school and over the last couple years
teachers have been trying to use technology more.  He tells the story of a
history teacher trying to show images and by accident running across a
pornographic image during search despite the schools blocking software.  Not
a naked statue, real modern pornography that just happened to show up under
the search terms.  Were these teenagers scared for life? I doubt it.  But it
was slightly disruptive and not a pleasant technology use experience for the

Providing an environment where students and teachers can find and use
appropriate materials without wandering unintentionally into inappropriate
materials is a very valid and mostly achievable technical goal for us.

Providing an inescapable environment where the budding young hacker is
prevented from ever escaping into the uncensored internet from any location
is probably neither moral nor achievable.  The good news is our competition
can't do it either.

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