Fourteen year-old Adora Svitak wishes that Facebook came up with a popup window that read, “Are you going to regret this later?” before allowing people to post their updates.

It’s that kind of long-term vision that’s missing from a lot of how kids act and how they’re being educated about using social media. And because adults are navigating the same uncharted waters alongside — or in many cases, far behind — their kids, sometimes using what’s considered common sense at the time might not even be enough of a filter.

Svitak is already a fairly savvy social media user herself, having launched her own Facebook brand, website, and even TED talks. She and her peers are pushing boundaries on sites like Tumblr, posting videos on YouTube and creating their own blogs — and getting a lot of traction.

Cases in point: Teenager Rebecca Black’s Friday, last year’s viral YouTube music video (more than 32 million views) and the Kony 2012 video, whose 90 million views was propelled by kids passing it along to each other.

“We can have tremendous influence on the cultural landscape,” Svitak said at the recent Big Tent event in San Jose. “We are co-creators of the world we live in. We’re not just watching the screen in front of us. Whether it’s good or bad, you can’t argue it’s influential.”

She’s got a point there — kids’ influence can be powerful, especially with the help of social media sites like YouTube and Twitter. But unlike the kids who create the content that goes on those sites, the companies that host the content are forced to weigh in on whether it’s “good” or “bad,” or more pointedly, what they should do about it.

Victoria Grand, director of communications and policy at YouTube, said company staff is constantly searching for questionable content and deciding what action to take. For example, a spate of videos created by girls who ask the viewing public, “Am I pretty or ugly,” have been circulating for about four years, and YouTube must contend with whether, as a private company, it should take action to remove the videos.

“Is this a disturbing teenage trend? Should a private company take away the right of a girl to ask the world if she’s pretty? Is this hate speech territory? Do we make it go away?” she said, listing the litany of questions the company must contend with each day. The answer is not always clear. After some investigation, Grand said one of the girls posting the “Am I pretty or ugly” video was a 21-year-old art student embarking on an art project.

Other examples: the cinnamon challenge, whereby people upload videos of themselves eating a spoon full of cinnamon, and their subsequent reactions, which are, as Grand puts it “just repulsive.” So far, 30,000 such YouTube videos have been tagged, and Grand said YouTube has been contacted by physicians imploring the company to take those videos down because eating raw cinnamon can be bad for the respiratory system. The question, again, YouTube must contend with: How dangerous is this?

And what should YouTube do about what Grand calls “self-injury videos,” especially those that show girls cutting themselves? “The cutting videos are really interesting,” Grand said. “In large part, they’re public service announcements by fellow teenagers. They’re saying, ‘Don’t do it,’ or they’re documenting it in a neutral way that says, ‘This is what’s happening.’ Only a fraction is promoting self injury.”

In that light, Grand said the videos reflect authentic voices that can be helpful to other girls considering cutting themselves. At the same time, though, she said “the very act of cutting triggers additional trigger.”

Kony 2012 video that went viral.

The same premise applies to videos showing people smoking. YouTube has been asked to remove videos of people smoking, because “when you see images of people smoking, it leads to more smoking,” Grand said.

Though companies can — and in some cases, should — edit online content that might lead to dangerous behavior, the more proactive approach is educating kids about possible dangers, said Amanda Lenhart, a senior research specialist at the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, where she directs research on young adults, teens, children and families. These are global companies with a reach that goes far and wide, and it could be impossible to manage these issues on a global scale.

“There’s certainly a side of it [that can be approached with] advocacy and work with kids,” she said. “On the other hand, we have to protect free speech. Those are the real tensions behind the debate.”

Educating kids about the issues underlying the content is what Lenhart calls the “middle ground.”

“It can be incredibly localized,” she said. “It starts at the user, and it doesn’t require tech innovation or regulation. But it requires a lot of work on the part of parents and end users.”

But as Svitak pointed out, though kids’ influence is powerful, especially with the help of the vast online megaphone, kids don’t always understand the repercussions of their online behavior. And because this is still very much new territory for a lot of adults, education around these issues doesn’t always flow from parent to child. In that case, who’s teaching whom? And what are the appropriate models?

For its part, YouTube wants to draw youth to teach youth about these issues, Grand said.

“But it’s like feeding people spinach,” she said. “How do you rally youth around issues like flagging inappropriate content and privacy controls? It’s hard… They have a limited attention span. We have breakthroughs sometimes with the teen safety community, but those blog posts don’t get nearly enough awareness. It’s hard to cut through the noise.”

Technology can actually help is this realm — at least to some extent. For the “Am I Ugly” videos, images can be blurred, and comment settings can be adjusted to protect kids. The “safety mode” scans videos for fleshtones, she said, but as a result, videos of babies are deleted. And what happens to artistic videos that include nudity?

“People say we should come up with some kind of predictive algorithm: ‘You’re Google — figure it out!'” she said. “But algorithms can’t do most of this work. With things like nudity, algorithm doesn’t know if it’s surgery, or if it’s a breast cancer announcement.”

YouTube does organize videos for review, and those that rank high on flesh tones will be reviewed faster by YouTube staff. And factors like the flagger’s reputation, the number of times the video has been flagged, how “hot” it is in terms of virality, all help YouTube prioritize review of the algorithm.

“But humans need to see it,” she said. And that takes time.


Fourteen-year-old Svitak offers some advice to adults: think long-term. At her school, she says all devices must be turned off — no blogs, no email, and no access to websites.

“This is a short-term approach,” she said, adding that she prefers the “touch-the-stove approach.” When she was younger, she learned quickly to stay away from the stove after she touched it — but in her effort to exert independence and push boundaries, she didn’t get badly burned.

“If you never teach the child to cross the street, they won’t know how to do it,” she said. “We need to emphasize the long-term approach with education — not just block everything, but teach kids how to evaluate. Then they won’t post inappropriate content.”


Should Adults Control Kid-Created Content? 9 January,2014Tina Barseghian

  • BN

    An interesting take from a 14-year old. My school, too, struggles with the concept of safety vs. independence/exploration. I tend to lean toward the “Let’s teach the kids the etiquette and ethics of online presence” — but can see the danger in a society that litigates first and then thinks about how to deal with a cultural “grey” area.

  • JF1

    There is an age in which kids begin to get onto social media sites. These sites include Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, and more. Eventually, most kids or young adults reach an age where they can think before they act. In other words they can think before they post something, and they realize what they are posting is okay or not okay to be posted on a social media site. The problem is at younger ages, like early teens, that thought process is not there. Most of them post first, and think about it later, when it is too late. I believe that kids should be educated on what to post on a social media site, and things should be removed if proved as inappropriate.
    Kids at a young age post anything on a social media site. They post their life story and shows the whole world what is going on in their life. That could partly be because no one has ever educated them to do otherwise. I remember when I was a young teen, no one told me what was appropriate and what was no appropriate to post online. The only thing I saw was “Post a status here” on Facebook. I feel like if kids are shown what could happen if they give out too much information on a social media site, they would be a little more careful. Especially if they are friends with people whom they do not know very well.
    The education of social media sites and what should and should not be posted is crucial. Many kids do not know the differences between good and bad. Such as what is okay to post and what is not okay to post. If kids were educated about this they would have more knowledge of what could happen if they are posting things that should not be online. All in all, teaching young adults about being responsible when it comes to social media sites is a good idea.

    • MYND1

      even though I have my own opinion, I still see where you are coming from. Media that is considered inappropriate is on the web because of lack of knowledge of how it effects you and other people in some cases. That being said, there should be education on what to post and what not to post on media sites, therefore I agree with what you are saying.

    • MI1

      Kids are beginning to think of the internet as a diary more so than a tool. They don’t know when to stop abusing the fact they can share any sort of information they want with the click of a mouse. Along with being taught proper manners in order to use the internet appropriately, younger teens ought to be shown relative examples of negative results of misconduct on the world wide web. This could get rid of the “stove approach” altogether so it puts a stop to the harm before it even begins.

    • AC3

      I agree with JF1. I agree because it is important to realize at a certain age teenagers should and normally do start to think before they do. By doing this they are able to realize what appropriate and what is not. Younger teens are not mature enough to do so and can end up finding themselves on inappropriate websites.

    • DS3

      I agree with JF1. It is very important that children are taught the dangers of social media sites before they create one. Most children give out way too much information on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram and twitter. It is very easy for hundreds of people to see everything they post. If they are not taught about the potential dangers they will end up later regretting what they posted.

  • MI1

    Unbarricaded access to the internet is a privilege that one should achieve when they reach a certain age and maturity level. Until then, I think that young children, until around sixth grade, should be banned from all inappropriate material that might be harmful in any way. Too many kids are being corrupted at early ages nowadays, leading to negative actions and internet abuse later on. This sometimes occurs due to the lack of education they have received when it comes to the proper way of using the world wide web. People say that parents and adults are ill-prepared to teach their kids the proper way of handling the internet, but it is not the skills of internet-usage they need to be proficient in. Proper ethics and manners is something anyone can obtain, and internet etiquette is just a different version of regular etiquette.

    After children have reached an age where they are just starting to mature, an age where they can easily be persuaded, they must be taught manners that will benefit them in life. As always, some will never be able to grasp the concept of maturity, and will inevitably cause disruption in the rest of the world. Those who do prosper from the education will be able to adequately use the internet in a way their thoughts are being shared without anyone being negatively affected. Freedom of speech is a necessary right that everyone is obligated to, but when words, written or spoken, are causing harm, the companies in which the person shared their information on must interject. It’s an ongoing issue that is unavoidable yet can be reduced dramatically.

    Soon after the education is offered, full access to the internet should be allowed. Most young adults in high school are being refrained from certain material in school that are not even inappropriate to begin with. Those are the kinds of people that should be given the opportunity to use these sites the most, for projects and to let them feel like they have earned a new privilege. The only issue with allowing all these websites to be unblocked is the age span in between. Depending on genetic and environmental factors, some people mature faster than others, and there will always be stragglers that will remain immature. That’s why being on the look out for inappropriate content should always be a priority, and determining what is considered okay and what isn’t will always be an everlasting struggle.

    • MeND1

      I agree with your statements here. At a young age people have no idea how to correctly use the web. When children become a certain age, I don’t necessarily agree with the age you say but an older age than that of what most kids are using these days would be better. Barricades until an older age would allow the next generations learn how to appropriately use the web without utilizing the information incorrectly. Some things need to be controlled, and this is definitely one of them.

    • DA1

      I agree with most of the material in this post. I believe that until a certain age material that a youth can view should be censored. What I do not agree with is the age you stated because every person reaches maturity at a different age. Barricades would allow for kids to be educated on how to use the internet and what is ultimately appropriate on the internet.

  • MeND1

    The ability to browse the web at a moments notice is the ability that most people have in this age. The problem with that is that many things that can be viewed easily can often persuade people, mainly adolescents, to do things. As stated in the article, videos on YouTube such as cutting or nudity can give ideas to people who would otherwise not have them. The main problem is that out of all of the reliable information that is out on the web,there is that small portion of information that can be harmful to those who find it. Inappropriate material can give people the wrong ideas or teach someone how to do something dangerous.
    I believe that there should be blocks or barricades which should be a factory setting on all devices that can access the web. These factory settings should be able to be controlled only by the people who sell the device. This is for the main reason that if parents were given then ability to control the settings, then their children would be able to persuade them into changing the settings without the parent fully knowing what they were doing.
    There is too much harmful information out there that could persuade people to do things hat are harmful or dangerous. Some people don’t know how to control themselves from deciding what is right and what is wrong, which is why the blocks would be so helpful. Instead of having the information out there for everyone to view, only those that absolutley need it would be able to access it. Information in this day and age is extremely accessible, and that causes both benefits and problems for people these days.

    • JF1

      I agree with you Mike. I feel like there is information out there that if the wrong people find can become harmful. There should be some sort of way to control what kids look at. Especially when they are younger.

    • MI1

      Your view on it is really different than I had initially thought. Providing everyone with a default barricade that can be altered over time or depending on who is accessing the information is really advanced. Other people would just think in the sense of allowing access or not. When considering a changeable, flexible option, it feels like it could be the right way to go.

    • EO 1

      I too agree with this. Many things on the internet are too inappropriate for most viewers to see and it can plant things in peoples heads that were not there before. This can also affect kids at a young age because they do not know any better and may look up thing they should not know about.

    • Ad1

      I disagree with what you’re saying. I think there should be measures that limit the access to the internet for young people; however, I think those limits should be controlled by the parents. There is so much beneficial content on the internet that figuring out what to block and what to allow would be to hard. Parents would also be able to end the blocks as their children mature more.

    • RR1

      I concur with your ideas. But I think technology has both a positive and negative effect on society. It has its beneficial uses of being able to research and gain knowledge on just about anything but that can lead to misuse. So I think with the advance of technology there needs to be a maturity level with it to prevent misuse and that maturity level comes at a different age for everyone, but once that age is reached then I do not believe the internet can be dangerous for people as long as they make intelligent decisions with what they do with it.

  • AC3

    In this day and age there are so many helpful and amazing things on the internet. The issue is along with all the great useful information on the internet, there is all the bad , stupid and even inappropriate things all over the web. So in places like schools, sites that are bad or can possibly have anything wrong on them are blocked. I believe to a certain extant sites have to be blocked. Maybe just for kids in the junior High School. This is because until a certain age children are not mature enough to not go on the sites they should not be on.
    Although I believe there should be restrictions on younger kids i am a supporter of High Schoolers being able to make their own decisions on what sites they go on. Of course if they make the mistake by going onto a bad website they will have a punishment. I believe this mainly because of the website Youtube, Youtube is a great video website with millions of helpful videos. Along with those helpful videos there are billions of stupid videos that should not be watched while someone is at school.I think its important for people of the mature age to be able to make there own choices for using sites like this for good.
    In the near future I believe Schools should start to enforce this and start giving Teenagers the responsibility of making their own choices. It is important that there is a punishment for being irresponsible. I am not completely sure what a fair punishment would be, but according to what you did wrong it would vary in severity.

  • Ad1

    I understand that there is content available to young children that is inappropriate and should not be accessed by them. However, I believe that it is the parent’s responsibility to monitor and limit what can be accessed, and not private companies such as YouTube. I also agree with the “stove approach” in that children will be able to ease into the internet. Blocking anything remotely inappropriate in my opinion is a bad approach because kids aren’t able to experience the entire internet. For every bad blog post and inappropriate video, there are ten “good” pieces of content. What I mean by “good” is insightful, educational, creative, and inspiring. As the information that can be accessed shouldn’t be as limited, I believe that the information children put on the internet definitely should be controlled. This is where parents have to be active their kids lives, and make sure they aren’t posting private information on Facebook, inappropriate pictures on Instagram, or hateful comments on Twitter. All in all, I think that the internet can be greatly beneficial to youth today, and using it wisely will most likely further education and interests.

    • EM1

      I agree with Ad1 that the internet provides many educational aspects that can benefit children. Today teens often participate in social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. which can sometimes have bad effects because of harsh or inappropriate things that get posted. Parents should be a part of their child’s life to supervise the sites their teen uses, but also allow them to use the benefits the internet has.

    • Dv3

      I agree with Ad1. There is content on the internet that should not be viewed by little kids. However this is where natural rights play into place. No matter what inappropriate content is on the web, that content is somebodies right to express them self. I do not think websites like youtube should be removing things like this. Nudity is another ball game but as for the “am I ugly videos” on youtube, this should not be removed. Svitak is definitely right, just blocking things are not going to help the problem they are only going to cover it up. If you don’t educate children about what’s on the web, and what is appropriate or inappropriate you are leaving them vulnerable to the dangers of the web.

  • CS1

    I agree with Svitak, and I like her description of the touch stove approach. I believe that kids not just kids but everybody, needs to learn these things. Her school is doing the wrong thing by blocking everything, because that doesn’t teach anything. It’s like the book “if you give a mouse a cookie”, or telling a little kid not to do something, chances are they are going to be curious and want to find out why. If you block sites thats just going to want to make somebody go out of their way to find out why. As a child i was told to stand up to my problems and face them, not hide from them. Just like a school bully you need to stand up for yourself, so instead of blocking all these sites people of this generation need to learn about being smart. And most of being smart and safe on the internet comes with common sense.

    However Victoria Grand also has her points. Certain things online are things that nobody needs to see. Certain things on the internet shouldn’t be out there in the first place but they are. Like the videos of people cutting themselves, I feel that people do that because it hurts them and they feel like they need punishment. I personally know a few people that went through that phase; and it is just a phase. Like my friend Jonny (who is sitting next to me writing his blog) said they just want attention. I think they are posting these videos because they want help. I know a lot of people who like to use things like KIK to find new people they can talk to people in other states and parts of the world they can share their feelings with and not get judged. My Ex girlfriend was one of them, she used to cut because she felt she needed to punish herself. and she used to meet people online that she could share her depressional thoughts with.

    Although video of things like cutting are kind of gross, I think that it is a phase, and people will overtime figure out with common sense that it is wrong, and phase their problems instead of hiding from them. I think that society needs to touch the stove and learn what’s right and wrong.

    • jg1

      Collin i think you’re right. I think that this is just a phase and one day everyone will realize that what they are doing is wrong. it might not be tomorrow, but someday someone is going to realize that cutting and other things are not the things that people should post on the web.

  • EO 1

    Blocking certain internet things are responsibilities of adults who have children in their care should obey.This is because there are certain things that kids should not be seeing and certain things that need to be blocked because they distract kids from what they working on, and gets them working on completing the highest level in a game, or seeing what their friends are saying on Twitter, or posting on Instagram. This can really hurt a kid when they are getting distracted, because they are trying to complete a project, but they are not actually working on it. Some schools have had the great idea of giving all the kids ipads and they did not block any websites on them. This resulted in double the amount of failures from the year before because all the kids were playing games and going on social networks, instead of doing work.

    Although it may be necessary to block some sites from schools many schools go way overboard. One incident where this happened was when I was in seventh grade and I was doing a project on Australia, and every time I tried to go to a map of Australia it said inappropriate for student use, and blocked me out of it. Another time I was trying to find a video for one of my classes that was strictly educational, and as it did before, it said the material was inappropriate for school use. This just show that some schools go way overboard on the blocking use, and other do not do enough blocking of use. Even over blocking computers can hurt an individual, because it does not allow them to get informations they need to complete a project.

    The under and over blocking in schools will take more and more of a toll on kids until schools can find a happy medium. This will allow kids to get all their informational stuff done with hopefully a better grade. This will also allow kids to not get distracted by games and social networks to get the projects done. This will hopefully bring grades up in schools and allow each student to be the best that they can be.

  • CS1

    I like what you wrote Alex I agree with you that there are two sides to every argument, without that there wouldn’t be an argument in the first place. And I see where your comming from although i stand on the other side of the argument. Although i feel society needs to learn how to use the internet and things on it correctly, your right that might be a risk it could be a violent thing.

  • EM3

    Being able to go on the internet should not be abused. Today everyone is able to get access to anything on the internet, and can sometimes be things younger people should not be able to view. However I do believe in the “hot stove” effect. Often young kids will be influenced by whatever they see and the information they take in, but most often they do not go searching for bad influences.

    By allowing anyone to be able to access anything on the internet kids will be less tempted to those things. No teenager wants to be able to drive until they are not allowed to. Also it is more likely for students to want to do the opposite of what their elder restricts them from doing.

    Unless someone experiences something bad that person will not view it in that way. Seeing a flame on a stove seem appealing to the eye, but until one is burnt by the flame that person will not know that fire causes pain. The internet can be viewed in the same way. The internet can be seen as a perfect thing until one finds the danger, or bad site, that can be found. Kids and young adults should be able to access the internet to because they will be less tempted to go on bad sites.

  • DS3

    The Internet is currently one of the most valuable resources
    available. It is a vast collection of valuable information. Some of it’s very helpful
    yet, some of it can be harmful. It is highly debated whether content should be
    blocked for children or if they should be able to view everything. It is true
    that the Internet is a very useful learning tool for children, but due to all
    of the bad influences on the Internet there should be strict filtering of
    online content for young children.

    Svitak’s stove approach is a good idea but it will not work. Unlike a hot stove the Internet doesn’t instantly burn you so you stay away from it. The wonders of the Internet will only intrigue a child. When children are young their minds are susceptible to being influenced very easily. If they view inappropriate content it can have a
    lasting effect on their life. A child who views a video of a girl cutting
    herself at a young age may think it’s acceptable and begin to cut themselves. Something like this, as simple as one video can change a child’s life. This is why I
    believe that all children who are not in high school should have strict
    filtering of online content.

    Once a student has reached high school all content should be completely unblocked. Students will then have enough common sense for content on the Internet not to affect them. Unblocked access to the Internet will only benefit them. Websites like youtube can be very helpful in classes like multimedia. Without access to sites like these students are missing out on what could be a very beneficial learning tool.

    • ES3

      I agree with DS3’s opinion on the “hot stove” metaphor, Consequences of actions are not immediately seen, like they would on a hot stove. The second you post an inappropriate photo, you do not see the repercussions. Often, it is not until years later that the harmful effects are seen. Parents cannot allow their children to wait this long to remedy the situation.

  • jg1

    Honestly I think that kids take advantage of the internet
    and the easy access they have to it. Of course no one realizes an abnormality
    because it’s something that most teens do. The problem is that they have social
    networking in their fingers every day. And most kids don’t think before they
    post. Believe me I’ve seen it. Kids rant on twitter and other social networks
    all the time. Not realizing that they are giving anyone the option to see
    exactly what they wrote and everything going on in their lives. Most of the
    younger generation is suffering from this and post something first and regret
    it later. i think kids need to be taught so they actually understand why what
    they are doing is bad, and how inappropriate it is for them to do it.

    Most people that post things about their private life on
    social networking sites probably do it because no one has ever told them not
    to. Teaching kids what is appropriate to post on the internet is something we
    should be taking seriously. Most kids don’t know what is good or bad to post on
    social network site. They just see the “tap here to compose tweet” or “post
    status here” and just go for it. So overall I agree that we have to let kids
    use the internet and social networking sites, however kids need to be informed
    on what is appropriate to say on the web. This education of online safety will
    allow kids to have fun and give everyone else a piece of mind.

    • MP1

      I am going to have to agree with jg1 when they say most kids today in school have other ways to get around blocks or use their mobile devices. If schools are worried about social networking they need to accept the fact there is ways around them and they need to address the problem in a different way rather that blocking people online. It is probably the most abused thing thats online, but social media is a big part of school and will be probably forever. Actually the blog we are having our discussion is social media, and we can be mature to use it correctly.

    • JS3

      @Jg1, how do you propose this education to take place? When considering how much “in the dark” (away from the eyes of parents) these actions take place, it’s hard to attempt to educate kids when we can barely track their actions. Before we make judgements on whether children need to be educated for things they are truly thinking, perhaps we should look into these posts more deeply. Someone ranting about their life online may actually be making a subtle cry for help, or has no other way to express their feelings verbally in the real world. Instead of blaming technology for these issues cropping up, maybe technology is actually giving kids an avenue to express their feelings. I would argue that the true education necessary is to allow children to speak their mind truthfully and respectfully, without needing to hide behind a screen.

    • NN3

      I disagree with jg1 I know that there are people out there that do awful things on the internet but before the internet there were kids that did awful things with pen and paper. The internet is to valuable a resource to block some of its best functions because a few kids are screwing around. It is not the schools job to block thing its the parents job to educate there kids the problem is lack of education not over availability.

  • RR1

    The internet I believe is a valuable resource when used the right way. It provides useful information and provides the ability to learn almost anything. Which has its benefits and its drawbacks. The benefit is the ability to learn nearly anything and limitless knowledge. But can easily be misused when people are not mature about it and think about things before they post them online or put them on the internet, because once they are on there there is no getting rid of them.

    The limitless knowledge can prove to be a great benefit of the advancement of technology. Personally in the past I have used the internet yo get me out of a “jam” of some sort and able to gain the needed knowledge to better myself. But there comes a point where technology can be dangerous and really hurt people. For example the girl on Youtube who ate a feminine hygiene product that is extremely gross to eat I may add. But since that went viral now she will always be known by that and seen in a negative way. It is in this way people need to think before they post something and think about the consequences there may be. This is why I do not think the stove approach will work, since that girl did that there is no way she can take that from the internet and will probably never be able to get rid of that from her past and the way people see her. So even if she learned or tried to learn from that mistake she may never be able to shake that image she holds now. So the stove idea I totally disagree with.

    It is in these ways technology can be both beneficial but have some big drawbacks for those who misuse and abuse it. With that said there needs to be a maturity level achieved when dealing with these things and everyone should think before they post things. Since they may follow them for the rest of their life and affect them greatly. So in conclusion the rapid advancement in technology can be both beneficial but have great consequences for those who misuse and abuse it and just do not think before they do something.

  • JS3

    When ever discussing restricting content over the internet and trying to stem the flow of information, it’s important to consider what exactly the internet is: not from a contemporary perspective, but from a historical view. The internet is to our modern society what the printing press was to Renaissance-era Europe: an explosion of information that broadens the availability of knowledge to an even larger pool of people. While it may seem far-fetched at first, censoring the internet is very simply akin to censoring books and newspapers.

    The limitless availability to information over the internet has its drawbacks, as with anything else. However, I would argue the pros far outweigh the cons when discussing whether or not to restrict access to content. Svitak makes a good argument with the “stove” approach–if kids do not learn early on, they may never learn. Learning to use the internet safely and effectively is a big reason why I am successful in my own schooling. I know how to acquire the knowledge I need from a pool of websites, or videos on YouTube. If kids do not learn how to utilize the modern version of our generation’s printing press, we are literally leaving them in the Dark Ages.

    • josh

      You could not have said it better in the first paragraph. The internet is an expansion of knowledge and is allowing for information to be spread much faster than before just as the renaissance. In response to your method of fixing these so called “issues” i don’t believe there actually are any. There is a blend of social problems and well blatantly, stupidity that people will have to grow out of.

  • josh

    It is important to realize the repercussions of wanting to regulate and censor things such as YouTube,Facebook, and social media and important to realize this already exists. If you surf youtube periodically watching videos eventually by chance you will click on a video that says something of the sort,” Sorry,this video is not allowed in your country”. America in general is already censored through television. Nudity is generally not allowed on television unless in an artistic form. Hypocritically, the word bitch can be said on air but not ” the f bomb”. Why though? Europe has much less censorship in the media than the U.S and they most likely have the same issues that are shown such as the cinnamon challenge and peoples health along with the cutting videos. But its not being covered. People are still seeing these things. America makes many of these issues seem like an epidemic, making everyone seem like they should be involved.

    Of course accidentally inhaling cinnamon isn’t good for your respiratory system, but either is smog in cities. BAN SMOG. Of course no one wants to see someone cut themselves, but its there. Do you want to keep someone hidden and suppress what could be there only way of crying out for help? You can’t ban what happens life. At a certain level people need to be able to put on their smart pants and take responsibility for the integrity of themselves. This applies even to the youth and parents should be able to guide their children where they lack in this responsibility. With this however comes the issue of the youth. Teen years are a time where the people attempt to find themselves doing idiotic things no matter the repercussions. This is fine and people will learn eventually what they want to do and what borders the will want to push. This is just something society needs to learn to deal with.

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