Over on the OLPC Developers listserv, there is an interesting discussion around a very simple worry. Betty Dingus's friend asks: Will using the XO laptop harm my child? And how can I supervise usage so it doesn't?:
"My biggest concern about the XO is protecting my children:Now Betty's friend has read about OLPC's porn problem, but she's not focused on that or even the child molester boogeyman that's always trotted out when people think kids + Internet.
I wonder if it's possible, when I'm not around to supervise, for me to remove access to email and the Internet
- from predators, etc. on the Internet or who get into the "mesh",
- from accidentally or purposefully getting inappropriate emails and ads and
- from accidentally or purposefully accessing inappropriate web sites.
This Mom sounds like a concerned and involved parent, a Mom who would like to supervise her child's computer usage yet respect their need to explore. A wonderful Mom who is not unique to G1G1 buyers or even the developed world. This is a Mom who should get a better answer than Albert Cahalan's flippancy:
I wonder if the biggest problem is really that you would be uncomfortable if your kid started asking you about some of the weird stuff that he finds. He probably knows not to ask.And while Karl O. Pinc has a much better, and more reassuring answer, its still a big "trust us" that does not inspire confidence in skeptical parents:
The child with the XO is surely better protected than the typical child, given that the camera logs everything, bitfrost makes it less likely the computer will be subverted, etc. And because of it's market and the concerns surrounding children I believe that the situation will only improve. Which leads me to conclude that if you're going to give a child any wireless laptop the XO is the best choice.I agree with Karl, but will parents? Do you? And should we follow Nicholas Negroponte's advice and make children's usage seamless throughout the day?.