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In the ACP Pacific class of IGCBP 2011, the domain kids.us generated a lot of discussion. Some participants completely opposed this domain as it would give pedophiles and other sick people a one stop spot where they can concentrate and target their activities by disguising themselves as kids. Some people thought that as long as the websites and services on the domain did not require kids to give their information by logging in, as long as there are no communication tools like emails and chats, and such other restrictions, then this would be a place where kids can get safe content, as is the original idea of this domain.
How do you view this issue with regards to child protection? Is this domain a positive or negative development?
This Domain is a positive development in my view. It provides content that is relevant to children and they would find fun.It also provides an avenue that is not intimidating to improve their online skills and familiarity. If their confidential information is not compromised this domain would not pose a threat. However if someone registered a similar domain or sub-domain offering similar content, but tweaks it to have communication facilities such as social networking tools, email and chat then we have a problem.
The other issue is we can not live life with fear! (this does not mean that I am discrediting the genuine concern raised regarding children's online safety) using the said argument as a premise. [that the domain would give pedophiles free access to kids] But we can build safe online environments for children to facilitate learning and fun on the web.
Reliable Internet is becoming more accessible and affordable in the developing countries, which in my humble view would be most vulnerable, therefore it would be important to think through some safeguards that would protect our children rather than stall access to technology so as to protect them.