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Child online safety card - A virtual ID card


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It actually seems quite sensible, if a bit cumbersome and probably useless unless everyone has them.

All that aside surely - a bit like the anti drugs slogan 'Just Say NO!' - it would be easier not to tell people who you are...

For instance, instead of handing out your address and undergarment size to all and sundry, you could just say: MYOB(YP) - mind your own business (you perve) ... though if the person ends up being the love of your life, this might put them off a bit, at first.

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Is there a card for us over 60 year olds, I don't want to be hassled by anyone over 90.

Ha! funny you should say that.

There was an item on the UK news this afternoon about a man who was kerb crawling in the red light district. He was arrested after picking up a girl but let go with a warning when they found he was 95. Way to go!

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Camy, I think you misunderstand the purpose of this. It is not to identify YOU but to allow you to confirm the age, gender and general location of the person you are talking to.

Anyone on the internet can pose as either sex, practically any age (though with varying degrees of success) and almost any location. The purpose of this card is to verify that the person you are talking to really IS the gender and age they claim to be, and live in that general location.

I've chatted and otherwise communicated with a lot of people on the internet, and I've always been upfront about how old I am and where I live, but I also recognise that none of them have any evidence that I'm telling the truth. You can assume that probably at least 90% of the people aren't lying, or if they are they are doing it for good and sound reasons (like the 16-year-old saying he's 18 to make sure that people at his school wouldn't realise who he was and hence out him). It's that last few percent that this scheme is aimed at.

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Let's see if I understand this correctly.

Our parents or guardians enter a bunch of personal information in a big data base.

They pay ten pounds a month for this.

A bunch of strangers then use this personal info to protect us from another bunch of strangers who want to know what that personal info is.

Have I got it?

Sounds more to me like some adult scheme to make money by exploiting fear.

Rather than verifying who the kids are, why not spend that money finding out who the pervs are and getting them offline?


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[...]A bunch of strangers then use this personal info to protect us from another bunch of strangers.


I think you sum it up quite well Codey.

What worries me is, if the collected information falls into yet another bunch of stranger's hands.

Whether this is accidental or done for profit or because a law says they have to release it, the individual's privacy is potentially violated, once again.

It Isn't that predators shouldn't be feared, they should.

However I think what you are saying is that the predators who fleece the parents by exploiting fear are as bad as the predators who seek to exploit the young and vulnerable. Two wrongs don't make a right, sort of thing?

The real problem here is that parents are being encouraged through fear to abrogate their responsibility in educating their child of dangers by instead buying protection from those dangers. (Do I hear the theme from the Godfather?)

Unfortunately not all parents are good at teaching their kids about dangers.

When I was nearly thirteen, my mother with the best of intentions told me I should never get in a car with strangers as the stranger would take me away to a house where he would put lipstick on my pee-pee, (no I am not making this up), and then the stranger would get someone else to lick it off.

Adults do and say weird things to try to protect their offspring. :wacko:

My reaction at every opportunity, was to wait by the side of the road for the car with a stranger who of course, never arrived. :wave:

Now if my Mother had paid someone to watch out for me by telling them I liked to stand by the roadside and that information had been allowed to fall into other hands, I might not have learned that there are other more efficient ways of applying lipstick to the lips.

The fact is nothing was going to stop me looking for that stranger in a car waving a lipstick in his hands. :hiya:

(I never found him btw, and I quickly lost the desire for lipstick when I discovered that real men don't wear it).

The net can be a dangerous environment, so can the side of the road.

Yes, we should try to protect our young and accept the responsibility of teaching them about dangers ourselves, but eventually we must trust them to not endanger themselves too.

Declaration: I am 62, balding, not on the prowl, already happily have a partner, of similar vintage, who is willingly living with me and we did not meet on the net or the side of the road.

Can I prove this? Of course not, but if I am really a cute 14 year old blond, tanned, surfie with a desire for contact I don't think the above description is going to help the cause.

Neither am I beyond a bit of harmless flirting

Having revealed all this I do hope you will all still talk to me. :icon13:

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I see a few problems with the idea.

  1. Why should anyone honest, particularly minors, have to prove who they are when meeting someone?
  2. So...if someone has the card and it gives their age and general location, then that could be abused by the very people from whom you're trying to shield minors. Ugh.
  3. Or it could simply be abused by someone who's angry or a bully.
  4. If you're going to identify someone, identify the adults. *They're* the ones causing problems when they do cause problems.
  5. Someone has to be a cardholder to check another person's ID. So if a minor doesn't have a card, he or she can't check on someone else, and someone else can't check on him or her? Flaw. Bigger flaw, since adults aren't likely to have the cards. -- The system has to work another way, to allow non-cardholders to check.
  6. Big database of supposedly accurate info? Suppose there's an error. Suppose someone finds a way to access the database. Ugh. Not good.

You know, I don't know the real names, ages, or locations of a lot of the people I know from forums, and some of them, I've known for six years. It simply hasn't come up. Yes, I know a lot of their first names or other personal details, but I don't know the full story. -- And that's OK.

There are legitimate reasons why a teen might not want to give out his or her first name, age, and location. Small towns. Being closeted. Bullies. Unique circumstances. Parents' rules. -- Shoot, plain old shyness.

Finally, being *honest* and *private* creates three problems online:

  1. What about the person who'd like to be completely honest and say who he is, but for good reasons, he can't, beyond some basics?
  2. But...I am who I say I am. I'm being honest. And you won't accept that? Why? Is there something wrong with you? Is there...something wrong with...me? Am I...that weird? -- You may think that's a strange answer, but being unique can cause someone to feel that way. -- If we doubt them, if we say they aren't, we do them real harm.
  3. Alright, suppose you ask and someone tells you who they are. Stop and think. An honest person will be honest. A dishonest person could lie through his teeth. You wouldn't know unless that liar slipped up in his story. -- And honest people can say things that seem contradictory, but are in fact true. -- It is a game that only ends in confusion and paranoia.

For the questioner and the responder, the problem then becomes, Why do you want to know so badly? Can't you accept what the other person says, and leave it at that? -- If someone is being dishonest for bad reasons, that will show up. But if they are being truthful and simply private, that will prove itself too.

We wouldn't have stories and poems by several online gay writers, adults or teens, if they had to prove who they are. Questions about whether "a teen could really write / say that" have caused hard feelings for several teen authors. Some stayed online. Some left. It is definitely why some of them do not participate in forums. It is our loss, as gay people online, and it is a tremendous loss to them, as people and as writers, in friendship, support, and basic trust. So it's vitally important that we don't go too far in questioning someone's honesty or abilities.

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[...] If someone is being dishonest for bad reasons, that will show up. But if they are being truthful and simply private, that will prove itself too.

[...] So it's vitally important that we don't go too far in questioning someone's honesty or abilities.

I could not agree more.

For me it is called trust. Call me naive if you want, but life without trust in the goodness of others would be intolerable.

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It all comes down to the individual, maturity and worldliness, and maturity is really the key.

I joined the boards at another site and was somewhat peeved at having to give my age, so I put myself down as 99. I then got a pm from the admin telling me to give my correct age or go elsewhere. Silly. How are they to know? Having rolled the dice I dropped it to 48, and they were happy. Now, I might be 48 or I might not, but the point is without legitimate evidence like a passport or a birth certificate I can fabricate personalities until I'm blue in the face.

I'm assuming that most children (whom the scheme is set up to protect) won't have a credit card to pay for the ID, so an adult will have to do it. Ergo it's the data the adult provides that will go on the card.

This can only work if everyone online has one, and everyone gets one by having to provide evidence... which is a truly horrific thought. It's Big Brother by the back door.


- Judge me by my writing and not my age which was 27 this afternoon and is now 72, 69, 21... Damn I nearly made single figures. Change my nappy anyone?

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My understanding of the scheme appears to differ to most peoples.

The original idea came from the simple fact that the teenager couldn't verify the age (or sex) of over a third of the people on her contact list.

As Codey said, why not just try to get rid of the pervs that cause the problem? Well, this scheme is aiming at doing that by verifying that a person who says they are 14 (say) really is 14, and not a 43-year-old pervert. Similarly, if the person says they live in Australia, it will verify that they actually do, so someone in London (say) won't be too bothered by saying things that a local may be able to use to identify where they live.

As I read it, to get one of these IDs, you need to have your identity verified by a "trusted" source. I don't see anything that indicates that your personal details will be kept online -- just the fact that you have been verified as being who you say you are.

This is the personal equivalent of the problems of internet electronic business. Before two companies start exchanging orders and payments electronically, they need a messaging system where 1. messages can't be altered (so an orderer can't deny what they ordered), and 2. the originator of the message can be confirmed (so the orderer can't deny that they placed the order in the first place). There are other requirements as well, but you get the picture. The scheme is trying to ensure that the "originator" of the communications is who they say they are.

Not everyone will need it or want it. But for those parents that are concerned it offers a way that THEY can be confident that their child isn't being stalked by a predator.

It's not ideal, but we don't live in an ideal world.

Oh, and I can relate to Des's story. When I was around thirteen, our teacher warned us that there were some men in a panel van picking up young boys for sex. I kept a watch out for that van, but never saw it....

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Suppose a perv ordered a card for his "son" and paid his money. Then parents around the world would be telling their kids that the shoud be talking to this "son" because he's been approved.

And how will the parents know whether a kid is talking to a card holder or soomeone else? The parent would have to be monitoring the kid constantly to insure they only talked to card holders. If they have the time to do this then they have the time to monitor the kid without a card so why would they need one?


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Good points, Codey.

I don't know the details of the system so I don't know how they address your first point. It was something that occurred to me, too -- an ID simply says that someone was verified as having that ID at some point. I don't know what mechanisms they have in place to avoid having IDs shared by multiple people.

As for the second point, a parent will feel more comfortable with their kids talking to someone who has been verified as being who they say they are. It would be up to their children as to whether or not they stick to those people, or are just more cautious with those that haven't been ID'd. As a side point, I can see someone selling software that tries to block IM chats with people who don't have a valid ID -- the chat equivalent of CyberNanny. This wouldn't work with chatrooms, of course, but it's a logical next step.

I'll say that I find the whole neccessity of having some sort of solution to the issue distasteful. I would prefer it if it wasn't needed, just like I'd prefer for filtering software like CyberNanny to be not needed. However, we live in an imperfect world and these things ARE needed. Whether or not they are effective, and the price that is paid for the solution (and I'm not talking money) is a separate question....

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I don't think there is truly any solution. The same as the warnings parents had for kids of yesteryear (Des, Graeme, me), they are often taken not as a warning, but as an exciting possibility.

I think parents are very often decades behind in even knowing the dangers, and warning effectively. How is a parent who is virtually computer illiterate supposed to even KNOW about the online dangers, much less adequately warn their kids or provide safety? Just as in the past parents living in the country couldn't know about dangers in the 'big city', parents now cannot truly appreciate the dangers online.

The sad fact is, there have always been, and likely always will be, those who will prey on those younger, weaker, older, naive, more vulnerable. They either cannot, or will not, deal honestly with anyone. They may be desparate for love, money, self-respect, or whatever, but they cannot achieve it in a 'proper' way, so they resort to exploitation. It is simply impossible to protect everyone from 'anyone' who may be 'out to get them'. It's not 'fair', but it is raw nature. The most powerful or the most devious wins. If it is not brute force that wins, it is the one with the best disguise/camoflage. In this case, they are trying to set up a system of protection from disguise. Well, it can't be done. The next step in the process of disguise is to disguise oneself as one of the 'cleared' thereby causing a worse situation, in which having this identity (supposedly cleared) makes the kids automatically believe them. Now even the moderate caution they might have had has been stripped from them.

Isn't the best protection truly just a huge and healthy amount of paranoia (if it is possible to have healthy paranoia)? Just don't tell your personal details. Maybe what is needed, for each computer, is some automatic system that will ONLY allow the adult ADMIN on the system to type in things like name, address, phone numbers, dates of birth, etc. That way, the CHILD using the computer is not even able to type it in. When they go to say they live in Liverpool, their computer won't let them, and the closest they can come, with huge effort, is "I live YYY miles north of London in the UK" When they go to type that they were born in 1995, it refuses to allow it. The parents would need to type in all the restricted details and the program would automatically update things like the kids' ages. Probably this is impossible too, but at least it puts the onus back on the parent, and more importantly, doesn't run the risk of infringing the rights and privacy of all of us who really are who we say we are.


57 year old, fat, gay guy in BC Canada, likes looking at cute eye candy, wouldn't hurt anyone, lost virginity at 56 in a relationship, sadly once again alone (as said in another post-this is not likely to benefit me if I was to be lying about it)

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exploiting fear

The exploitation of fear is very powerful economic and political tool. It has built nations, industries, political parties and religions.

It is second only to the exploitation of ignorance and maintains a small lead on the exploitation of prejudice.

When you can see through these mechanisms of social control, then you have a chance at grasping truth.

why not spend that money finding out who the pervs are and getting them offline?

Some people think that WE are the perverts.

One of the very serious dangers posed to us GLBT people, as a sexual minority, by the Right's neo-Puritanism is that they can not distinguish between a person that is sexually offensive and a sex offender.

To the many on the right, especially religious conservatives, they are one in the same.


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I think your post should win you the most lucid, intelligent and illuminating comment of the month award.

I can only agree.


The part that hit home hardest was

Some people think that WE are the perverts.

I've been thinking about that since I read it. The concept that I'm judged by the fiction I write is worrying - which is why I write under a pen name I guess. I don't consider myself a 'perve'. What goes on in my head is entirely my business.

Anything that goes on outside the boundaries of what we consider normal could be construed as being perverted. Infact anything that we disagree with or dislike could be considered perverted; be it politics, religion or sexuality.

Thank [insert deity of choice] there's no esp ... yet.

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The part that hit home hardest was

I've been thinking about that since I read it. The concept that I'm judged by the fiction I write is worrying - which is why I write under a pen name I guess. I don't consider myself a 'perve'. What goes on in my head is entirely my business.

Anything that goes on outside the boundaries of what we consider normal could be construed as being perverted. In fact anything that we disagree with or dislike could be considered perverted; be it politics, religion or sexuality.

Thank [insert deity of choice] there's no esp ... yet.

Ah Yes, but some people think they have ESP and act on it, especially if they don't agree with their perception of your thoughts. That's why a pen name is not a bad idea, but should it be necessary?

Camy, the obnoxious right does not want anything going on you head at all, and if something must go on in your head then it should be only what you have been told to accept without question.

(DesDownunder steps on to his soapbox.)

These people do not have an appreciation of strength through diversity.

Neither do they commonly understand that the right to dissent is a foundation of democracy.

Many people seem to act in the presumption that after the democratic vote is in they have to accept the majority vote as if it was what they voted for.

The truth is we only have to accept that the majority voted a certain way and abide by that.

It is not seditious to disagree with the majority, yet.

Just because a group of people have been elected it does not follow that we all have to think like them. Indeed, any next election will be based on two parties that apart from winning, have only one thing in common: they both have the right to disagree, to dissent.

In addition there may be any number of people who dissent with any of the parties.

That is the right of dissent in politics in any democracy.

And it must be so.

Individuals should have the right to form their own opinion on politics, religion and sexuality.

That is the assumption of freedom in a free democracy.

None of us therefore are perverts because we do not think like, "everyone else".

That is freedom of thought.

Neither are we perverts because we express a thought that differs from other's.

That is freedom of expression.

With these freedoms comes responsibilities to not infringe on the freedoms of others.

(Would all "leaders" please note this.)

It can be an act of perversion when thought becomes an action that affects another individual's freedoms or rights to think for, or express themselves.

However as Oscar Wilde wrote, "Ignorance is a delicate flower, touch it and the bloom is gone."

He also wrote:

Those who find the ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming.

There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book.

Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.

So Camy your writings are not perverted and as Oscar might have said,

Books do not have views (perverted) views are for the reader.

(DesDownunder vacates the soapbox).

PS. I like your latest poems Camy.

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  • 5 years later...

The way to not have to use a card is to use a camera. If the person is 12, you'll know it from seeing him. Of course, it might be a perv who hired a fake for the camera.

No, the best way to do it is talk to them without giving out and identifying details, and do this long enough that you have a very good idea if this is someone you wish to continue to talk to online, and if they are knowing and saying age-appropriate things.

Doing it this way, Paul won't have to have the extra weight of a superfluous card in his wallet.


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