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It's a difficult line to draw though. For instance you have PG ratings, the 13 yo limitation on account creation, 18 yo limitation on binding contracts etc.

Flagging what children can see/can do is a necessary part of education, the question is where to draw the line and what is considered damaging enough that it needs to be marked as off limits

> Flagging what children can see/can do is a necessary part of education

Yes, but that's a choice ought to be made by the parents. Not the government or some other party. It's the parents who choose how to raise their kids.

I think in general it's a mix between parents choice and society.

If something because a problem for the whole society, parents won't have their say in it. For instance violent content would arguably fall in this bucket.

For this specific discussion, the question would be if children exposed to some of the most predatory apps have provably destructive behaviour (for instance if it affects their health such that they are not able to participate in regular social activities, or get depressed and because bring a high cost for the whole society etc.)

I'd see censoring at the society level or not depend on the answer to that question.

I think in general it's a mix between parents choice and society.

I noticed you didn't want to use the word government there and instead used "society". More often than not it's unelected bureaucrats doing the regulating, so it's not "society".

Those bureaucrats are there to represent society, reduce conflict, and serve the greater good. Regulating is their role and somewhere up the chain of command is an elected official that oversees their power to do so. Sometimes the unelected bureaucrats are misguided, ignorant, corrupt, or otherwise misinterpret their role and/or power, but we have elections and city council meetings where issues are to be addressed; new policies can be enacted and complaints can be filed. It is not perfect but overall it tends to work.

Puting it as “government” makes it very political.

I think that more often than not the people pushing these decisions follow an idea of what most people would agree with.

For instance even if a regulator deeply believes eating babies is OK, they wouldn’t push a law in that direction, understanding nobody would back them up.

They would still be biased and try to limit punishment on baby eating, but there would be enough other people countering them.

In a way, if nobody resists or succesfuly rejects a proposal, I’d argue that proposal goes along what society accepts as valid, even if if asked in a poll a lot of people would disagree with it.

I agree we need restrictions at the society level and parents can override as they do today.

Calling it censorship makes it sound bad. But if you think about it, we have these restrictions of behaviours outside the digital world already, sometimes with options for parents to override it.

Where I live, alcohol can be consumed by children if given by their parents, but child pornography is illegal regardless of consent.

Predatory digital apps have a certain level of danger, and we need to figure out how much society should protect us from it.

So do you think it should be legal to sell tobacco and alcohol to minors? Should there be an age of sexual consent? Or is this a legitimate use of government? Just wondering how far you are willing to take that opinion.

That's a question of public opinion.

I'd guess that most parents agree that they don't want their kids drinking alcohol and don't want others selling it to the kids. That's why this behavior is made illegal.

However, I do not think that there would be such consensus on other questions, like when you should tell how babies are born, what politician is not doing a good job, or what books and TV shows should be banned for kids at home, etc. There is no agreement on these matters so there should be no laws governing them.

Perhaps your vision of having a consensus on a question is not far away from others vision of having proof of harm on a specific topic.

At least, I assume that the people you want to give the freedom to decide matters by themselves, are also people who would accept changing their mind (at a greater scale changing the consensus) when faced with credible facts going against their beliefs.

To take your “when you should tell how babies are born” example, I think we agree at some point kids need to know. There is no consensus on when it should happen exactly, but we know a portion of the kids will have life or death issues if it’s not done at puberty.

As I see it, idealy we’ll want to put laws to enforce sex education at puberty, and let parents do what they want before that.

The movie rating system in use today ( in the US ) is hardly something to emulate, especially when discussing Federal regulation.

Matt Stone and Trey Parker (South Park, The Book of Mormon) briefly discussing how bad the system is: https://youtu.be/nDzblNKjsO0 [3m24s]

Luckily, you would have a hard time to mark something as off limits on the net.

You can censor the prevalence of something on a specific platform, but users will always be able to link to any content, if they choose to do so.

You would also fail to make the internet safe for children. I know, children do stink, but they are probably better at locating information they are looking for than their parents. Only direct parenting can help here because there is no feasible technical solution.

So we could draw lines all day and it wouldn't really matter anyway.

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