Google and Facebook have made big moves lately to improve child safety on their platforms. They will control what ads can be shown and have built mechanisms to block abusive behaviour. (link)
This sort of thing is looming like a gathering tornado in my consciousness. How can I control what my children are exposed to online when they have a will of their own? I can’t. I can guide them and explain stuff to them.
An interesting point (made by Ben Evans in his latest newsletter) is this: When people in crypto talk about building new social networks with decentralised, deterministic models, I wonder how such systems could make decisions like this. Put another way – is there an element of benign dictatorship in FB, Google and the like, which we as parents should embrace? I think there is.
On the internet and particularly with social media, there is a battle for attention. This means there will always be distasteful and abusive content because, among other reasons, it creates the biggest shock factor. It draws attention.
Children are vulnerable to shocking content, let alone anyone with criminal desires. Only the large platforms have the power to control content in some way, shape or form. Even FB and Google will be unable to stop all the bad stuff getting to your child.
My children have very limited access to the net still, but already they have figured out how to turn on Netflix. They don’t search for anything more than cartoons, but one day they will get curious. Any help from Google or FB in managing this will be most appreciated.
Who needs a stiff drink?