The wrong kind of babysitter.

You’d think as a product of single parenting who harbours a disregard for large sections of humanity, of which children take up more than their fair share of the vitriol, that I would make a poor father figure.

You’re probably right. Don’t worry, I’m okay with it.

Even so, I occasionally get astounded at how bad at basic parenting some people can be. Even the supposed professionals (i.e. people who get paid to talk about it).

Sticking out ostentatiously in my Google Reader account today was this particular piece from Wired.

Now, though I’d rather not admit it, I don’t think it’ll come as a shock to many of you that should the Daily Mail succeed in their campaign (though frankly I don’t think they will), certain aspects of my life would be ‘inconvenienced’ in some way.

However, what annoys me more is the hypocrisy of the idea in question, particularly considering the source. For a publication that really can’t get enough of what they perceive to be their commitment to traditional values (which often sounds like a euphemism), it’s perhaps a little too ironic that they want to delegate the role of parenting to your internet service provider.

If only the irony had really stopped there. With the average Mail writer loving to throw up their arms and scream “Nanny State!” every time they get IDed trying to buy cigarettes, doesn’t it seem incongruous that they’re asking for corporate and government intervention to protect us all from the sight of naked people rubbing against each other?

Well no, it’s the Daily Mail for fuck’s sake.

I’m not someone who is adamantly in the corner of censorship, but I’m willing to concede that there are some things that I wouldn’t want a child to see. But once I get past the hypocrisy of what the Mail is suggesting, I’m still insulted that they think I’m too stupid to handle that on my own.

What you see there is my router settings page. It literally took me less than two minutes to find it. From there I can block access to sites and search terms on my home network with a plethora of options. If I wanted to I could go so far as to block access from one device (such as a child’s laptop) while retaining access on another. I could stop my family accessing the Daily Mail’s website if I wanted to. Maybe I should.

It’s not exactly rocket science. And I’m not even a parent, remember?

It’d be all rather moot if the only backers of this campaign were the Mail’s staff and an ISP that really isn’t worth using, but the effort has managed to secure Tory support as well as that of Sara Payne. Though Mrs Payne’s interest in this is pretty transparent (which to be fair she had every right for it to be) and certainly deserving of sympathy, she trips up pretty quick when explaining her stance to the Mail.

“We have a duty to protect our children from being morally and emotionally corrupted from images that serve as a gateway to a bad and dangerous place.”

That’s right, you do. But last time I checked you weren’t my mom.

Her statement goes on to show how her primary fear is that access to pornography is only the thin end of the wedge for the more unhinged among us who may turn their fantasies into a reality in the most horrible way possible. While that’s certainly a risk, to take the measures she’s suggesting would be like chopping down trees so the perverts can’t breathe the same oxygen as us normal folk.

I attended a very grave sex offence trial earlier this week. It wasn’t pleasant. But standing outside the courtroom overhearing the defendant’s family try to blame computers for the predicament their son had gotten himself into, it struck me even more when I heard the father admit that he hadn’t talked to his son for 15 years before the trial. I’m sure that’s more damaging than anything on the internet was.

Again, I don’t think any of the participants of this scheme are really going to get what they want, nor would they even if it ends up being a success. But at least one or two of them should have looked a little closer to home before they got involved in the first place.

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