Day 2 of ISPcon was another good day.
Something being brought to my attention tho.... Our booth is right next to the booth for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. There are 2 girls running that booth that I have been talking to a good bit during slow times.... Aside from them being really great people, it really got me interested in actually looking at some things regarding children's safety online. Working in the usenet sector, im probably in a position where I could be exposed to this type of thing much more than the normal internet junkie (with the exception of those actually looking for it, of course). Thinking of all of my cousins who are online now and of course my little buddy, Eli, who someday in the not too distant future will be online, I really wanted to read up on more information so I have been checking out www.ncmec.org for the past hour and quite honestly, its been eye opening. And its not really that its new information to me but its information that I never thought of in certain ways -- and its information that I know many parents done have because they dont understand the internet.
I believe very strongly in privacy online but I also believe very strongly in protecting children. Disclosing certain amounts of information is good and bad and many times, the age of the person disclosing that information is the biggest deciding factor. For instance, I am an open book on my blog here... and this is information that I should be able to disclose at my will, however, a 10 year old child that would disclose the same level of information is at a very large risk. Granted, this blog carries a risk to me but its a risk that is worth the benefits and its a risk that I am better able to deal with than a young child or teen.
It is so important for parents to keep an eye on their children while they are on the internet. The scary thing is when you start reading some of the information and you realize that its something that could have (or did) happen to someone you know and are close to.... or even reading it and going "wow, I really shouldnt have said that to that person" or something like that. It's not always a matter of not knowing, but its often a matter of not thinking.
So, hats off to my friends at the NCMEC booth -- and every ISP that is registering with them! Let's do our part in keeping children safe online -- not keeping them offline.