Friday, 31 October 2008

Clean Feed or Internet Filters?

There has been a lot about clean feeds and internet filters that has come across my radar this week.

In summary, the Australian Government wants to filter the internet so that "naughty" sites will not be accessible. Different community groups and user communities have been expressing their opinions for and against the ideas. There are technology issues such as any filter is quickly made redundant by the people is was supposed to protect (the same way Dad used to bring me the headache drug bottle with a child proof lid because he couldn't open it and I could - I was in primary school!). Filtering will slow the internet down - the technology tests have proven it but commonsense does too. Look at any pool filter and you will see the water does not flow freely, it has to be pumped or sucked through, why should internet be any different.

There are issues in administering the filter. Who decides what is black listed and what is not? Who has input to the decision making? What guidelines will be used? Who creates the guidelines?

There are issues in the ethics of the internet filter. Should this be done? Does it impact our free speech? It it for the greater good? An extreme case of this can be seen in the film Serenity (that I have watched a couple of times this week). For the good of the whole the government meddles and causes a disaster. I know it is fiction, but how does the meddling start?

The thing that gets me is not whether the government should or should not have an internet filter , but why are they getting involved. Is it because parents are too lazy to do it for themselves? Many teacher friends of mine comment on how parents expect the teacher and school to teach EVERYTHING to the student. Not just reading, writing and arithmetic, but manners, ethics, social behaviours and a myriad of other skills. Granted the internet and technology is rapidly changing and it is hard to keep up, but surely it can't be too difficult to have them use the internet in a room where they can be supervised or limited in the number of hours they are on the internet? Heaven forbid that parents have a discussion with the child about pitfalls of the internet!! Next thing you know I will expect parents to listen to children read aloud to them!

The bigger issue that I see happening is one of responsibility. It is becoming rarer than ever in our society. Yet the people who take responsiblity for their actions and their lack of actions are the ones that move ahead in their life. They are not looking for an easy way out, a person to blame, someone to handpass the problem to, they look at what is their part in this issue.

In my life and in my presentations, I share with people what I call the "Two Killer Questions."
They are:
What is my part in this?
What can I do differently?

It means that as an individual I can look at what is my responsibilty. So with Clean Feed and Internet Filters, what is it that I want for my kids, myself or my workplace? Has this situation come about due to some action or inaction on my behalf? Maybe I have no part in the current situation but I want it to be different.

What action must I take. Do I need to supervise people, limit certain sites in the workplace, communicate an internet policy, write to the government and let them know my wishes?

Responsibility means that I have the ability to respond. I can take action to get the results I am after.

Beyond the internet filters, beyond the clean feed, beyond raising a family but in life as a whole, I strongly urge you to take FULL responsibility. It doesn't mean you have to do everything, you can ask for help (I am here if you need me!!) but do take responsibility for your choices, your actions and your lack of actions.

Remember the two killer questions:
What's my part in this?
What can I do differently?

Once you have done that, it's easy!!

Have a great weekend

Warwick Merry
The Get More Guy

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