Why internet filtering can be a bad idea

This forum contains discussions related to keeping families and individuals safe while making use of technology. Acceptable topics would range from how to protect families from Internet predators and online pornography, monitoring and protecting cell phone usage and text messaging, locking unwanted television and movies from various devices, protecting and monitoring computer game usage, and promoting safe Internet and technology use.
kennethjorgensen
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Postby kennethjorgensen » Sun May 17, 2009 12:54 am

scjayounger wrote:As far as filters go, I've had pretty good luck with K9 (bluecoat), but although it works for me, it has some quirks that some people find irritating.


It would be really good if you can give us some examples so the rest of us can cater for that too when advicing people?

scjayounger wrote: If you have a problem in your home, and it just isn't practical (really?) to supervise, install a filter, restructure your bios so it doesn't boot to CD, and review your logs.


In families with several children requiring a computer to do their homework and church assignments as well as having some fun it is not always practical with just one PC in a main room where others are too (to allow for supervision) so that is where logs and filters come in to help a great deal as PC's are likely to be in bedrooms.

Good point about not allowing boot to CD which also brings up the point of passwording the bios.

If you have the ability of logs on your router then you could also save much of the above hassle by using another service like OpenDNS.com instead of installing the filter on the PC directly.

This has previous been discussed in the forum and anybody who havent seen that discussion might find it useful. You can find it HERE. One point I made here was to also beware of virtual images.

scjayounger wrote: I'm not speaking at the fireside, but I think a collaborative effort at putting together an educational piece is a great idea. A little "groupthink" is a good way to catch the flaws in a plan.


Maybe you can ask the person at the fireside for any slides or material they have prepared and share it with us. Having two firesides in a month must obviously have created a great deal of preparation work and no doubt more people could benefit from it.

scjayounger wrote: And while my first visit is free - my second is not.

- Stephen


I dont think I could get myself to charge members in need like that but I do think individuals must do their own work (based on the advice given) after visit no 1 as we dont all have unlimited time to give.

In similar situations I have found tools like logmein.com and mikogo.com to be invaluable to me as I help other people with their PC's. First one is great for regular login to same place and the other is great for the one off situations as well as other things.

I think it is important for us to remember that others will not have the knowledge and experience we have about computers and so these situations are great opportunities for us to share and help them which is why threads like this are great.

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Postby steph.younger » Sun May 17, 2009 10:30 am

dkjorgi wrote:It would be really good if you can give us some examples so the rest of us can cater for that too when advicing people?


Actually, I meant to include a link, but forgot (it was very late) and now I can't find the forum. The thread you mentioned covers K9 and OpenDNS (which I haven't tried, but hear really good things about) pretty well.

dkjorgi wrote:... it is not always practical with just one PC in a main room where others are too ... as PC's are likely to be in bedrooms.


This is happening more and more, despite advice from the brethren to the contrary (M. Russell Ballard "Let Our Voices Be Heard" Ensign November 2003). I understand it isn't very practical (and it can create a considerable amount of strife in the home), so exploring other options is very important.

dkjorgi wrote:Maybe you can ask the person at the fireside for any slides or material they have prepared and share it with us.


I intend to. I meant it when I said a little "groupthink" might be helpful.

I agree that these threads are very useful, but would really love to see a wiki article that a layman could follow on setting up some basic but effective protection. I know we have to be careful to avoid appearing like any solution is sanctioned by the church, but I think about it often. Unfortunately, I'm not very good at writing those types of articles, so I wait ...

- Stephen

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Postby kennethjorgensen » Sun May 17, 2009 3:55 pm

scjayounger wrote:I agree that these threads are very useful, but would really love to see a wiki article that a layman could follow on setting up some basic but effective protection. I know we have to be careful to avoid appearing like any solution is sanctioned by the church, but I think about it often. Unfortunately, I'm not very good at writing those types of articles, so I wait ...


If you think about it so much and go out so much to lecture parents then it would be useful to know of your PRACTICAL solutions. Dont worry about writing big articles as a list of things here would suffice.

I have to be honest Stephen, so far you have talked about and around these issues but I have not yet seen much in practical terms ie software to use or steps to take to project filters etc (apart from "not boot from CD").

We have mentioned K9, OpenDNS and other software and while you have commented on them we havent heard what software and solutions it is that you yourself are talking about so lets take it again:

scjayounger wrote:I even have a favorite I'll recommend.


Which one is it?

scjayounger wrote:I wish people knew how easy and important it is to implement the solutions we're talking about


Again, which solutions are we talking about?
And give us some details.

scjayounger wrote:my ward is having it's second fireside in a month to discuss this topic and it is, quite honestly, a little depressing that we need two of them in so short a time.


What was covered at the first fireside?

Why was it depressing you need another fireside?

scjayounger wrote:As far as filters go, I've had pretty good luck with K9 (bluecoat), but although it works for me, it has some quirks that some people find irritating.


Which quirks are we talking about? Are they relevant?


scjayounger wrote:This is happening more and more, despite advice from the brethren to the contrary (M. Russell Ballard "Let Our Voices Be Heard" Ensign November 2003). I understand it isn't very practical (and it can create a considerable amount of strife in the home), so exploring other options is very important.


I think Elder Ballards points has to be seen in its context.
Elder Ballard gave 7 examples of things that can help to minimise the effect the media has on the family rather than 7 "DO NOT's"
A PC in the bedroom was one of them. There is no doubt a PC in the bedroom has potential for danger but in the context of the challenges facing some with limited space and access for all together with responsible education and monitoring about usage can probably do more good.

To emphase my point that things cannot always be compared side-by-side you can take what you said yourself:

scjayounger wrote:I get questions about filters pretty often, and usually end up not installing one. Normally, I just show the parents (not the kids) how easy it is to get around an internet filter and they decide that a more hands-on approach is a good idea.

and then compare that with what Elder Ballard said in the point above the one you mentioned:

Elder Ballard: "We need to use Internet filters and TV programming locks to prevent our children from “chancing upon” things they should not see"

So we can see that rather than just adhearing to the immediate of what is said we need to think it deeper and apply and adjust the advice given to us for our circumstances and so I think it is equally with the advice about where to have the PC's. However what will work for some will not be the solution to others.

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Postby sterlingb » Sun May 17, 2009 7:20 pm

dkjorgi wrote:Elder Ballard: "We need to use Internet filters and TV programming locks to prevent our children from “chancing upon” things they should not see"

I'm 100% on board with this. In one of my prior wards the Bishop got up in a mixed RS/EQ/HP meeting and stated up front (proper or not) that between one-third to one-half of the priesthood holders in the room have a problem with pornography. That -- plus the General Authority coverage of pornography at nearly every conference -- is a pretty clear indication that not just the kids but the adults themselves need safeguards.

I won't go off topic, just to say that I disagree that all filtering is a bad idea. I agree that there are very bad implementations, but that doesn't mean the concept itself is bad. It just means we have to come up with a solution that can be made to match individual preferences, which I think is possible.

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Postby steph.younger » Sun May 17, 2009 11:09 pm

dkjorgi wrote:If you think about it so much and go out so much to lecture parents then it would be useful to know of your PRACTICAL solutions. Dont worry about writing big articles as a list of things here would suffice.

I have to be honest Stephen, so far you have talked about and around these issues but I have not yet seen much in practical terms ie software to use or steps to take


1) When I recommend a filter, I recommend K9 (I guess I didn't make that clear enough - I apologize). The quirks, in my opinion, aren't relevant.
2) I restructure the bios so you can't boot from a CD and teach them how to modify it should they need to do so in the future. I usually don't password protect it, but I teach them how.
3) I explain that most explicit content isn't 'chanced upon' and that it's dangerous, addictive stuff.
4) I invite them to have an open, frank, discussion as a family on the topic rather than adding to the aura of mystery we shroud it in by dancing around it.

This approach is a little simplistic, which is why I came here. I was hoping to learn something and made the mistake of stating a rather abbreviated opinion when I shouldn't have. Although it's a topic I feel is important, the intricacies of the solution are something I don't feel qualified to debate. I'm just a guy people used to call when their computers broke (not so much since I moved).

I'll come back when I have something more to contribute.

- Stephen

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Postby steph.younger » Mon May 18, 2009 12:00 am

dkjorgi wrote:it would be useful to know of your PRACTICAL solutions. Dont worry about writing big articles as a list of things here would suffice.


When I recommend a filter, I recommend K9 - the quirks are irrelevant (in my opinion) - no 'fix' is perfect.

My other solutions tend to be simplistic (which is why I came here - I don't think of myself as an expert, just an ex-computer guy), and aren't anything new to what I've already seen on these forums.

I apologize for speaking out of turn. I didn't intend to offend, and hope you'll forgive my intrusion.

- Stephen

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Postby kennethjorgensen » Mon May 18, 2009 1:57 am

sterlingb wrote:I won't go off topic, just to say that I disagree that all filtering is a bad idea. I agree that there are very bad implementations, but that doesn't mean the concept itself is bad. It just means we have to come up with a solution that can be made to match individual preferences, which I think is possible.


I totally agree, spot on.

scjayounger wrote:When I recommend a filter, I recommend K9 - the quirks are irrelevant (in my opinion) - no 'fix' is perfect.

My other solutions tend to be simplistic (which is why I came here - I don't think of myself as an expert, just an ex-computer guy), and aren't anything new to what I've already seen on these forums.

I apologize for speaking out of turn. I didn't intend to offend, and hope you'll forgive my intrusion.

- Stephen


Stephen, there is room for everyone in here and your participation is most welcome and anything you can add (or learn from others) can only be a good thing.

Other people in the forum are also here to learn from each other which is why we are keen to hear what people have to say.

You have brought up some good points (need for wiki on such a relevant topic and tip about not to boot up CD) so we hope you will stay and participate as we can all learn from each other.

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Postby steph.younger » Mon May 18, 2009 10:21 am

Thanks, I appreciate your patience. I wanted to take a moment and amend some of my earlier, less-thought-out remarks and realize that in the future I need to think more and talk less.

scjayounger wrote:... usually end up not installing [a filter]
- I think the concept of filtering is a good one. I’]

scjayounger wrote:...restructure your bios so it doesn't boot to CD
[font=Verdana]- If you’]

scjayounger wrote:... it doesn't and can't relieve you of your responsibility to keep your family safe
[font=Verdana]- I don’]

scjayounger wrote:... keeping your internet connection in a common area
[font=Verdana]- My family can keep our computer in the living room because there aren’]


[font=Verdana][font=Verdana]
scjayounger wrote:...second fireside in a month to discuss this topic
- I don’]

Again, I'm sorry for not taking the time to articulate these opinions more carefully in the first place and I appreciate the advice you all give on this forum.

- Stephen

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Postby mkmurray » Mon May 18, 2009 10:46 am

scjayounger wrote:[font=Verdana]I personally wish that the discussions were more frank. I remember being frustrated as a youth at the constant warnings about “necking and petting” without an explanation of what the adults were talking about and I see many pornography discussions the same way.[/font]

Boy, I've got to agree with this statement. Now that you have prompted me to look back on my youth attendance of such discussions, I find I had the same "what do those terms even mean?!" confusion. Because the nature of the discussion was so uncomfortable and vague, I didn't push the issue and somewhat discarded the caution with "yeah, yeah, don't look at girls..." :)

I jest, but in all seriousness, a frank discussion with no assumptions that the youth automatically know what you are talking about is the only way to be the most effective. I can guarantee you youth don't use the same phrases adults think of (like "necking and petting"), and often definitions will be required.
Many questions are already answered on the LDSTech wiki. Check it out!

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Postby steph.younger » Mon May 18, 2009 11:11 am

mkmurray wrote:I can guarantee you youth don't use the same phrases adults think of (like "necking and petting"), and often definitions will be required.


I realize this is a technology forum, and don't want to stray too far, but I have to say that this is the crux of the matter for me. Shortly after my wife and I moved into a new ward, we were asked to lead a discussion with the youth on morality with the specific request that we not 'beat around the bush.' It was awkward (especially the Q&A) but effective.


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