Kids and the Net

Protecting children from online pornography is a demanding task for parents, the government, software writers, and online service providers, but it's one that can't be avoided. And all the above parties have to participate.

Last week's Washington conference on making cyberspace safe for kids usefully highlighted the issue - and the controversy concerning censorship. Can the information highway survive guardrails, signs, and road regulations put up to protect kids?

In a word, yes. And the Internet will be better for it. This medium, like others, doesn't operate in a social or moral vacuum.

The "tools" for this job, though in widening use, are still in the development stage - whether screening software or rating systems. The nature of the Internet makes tracing smut to its source difficult. But everything possible should be done to keep its purveyors as far as possible from youngsters. And, as our cartoon today implies, the role parents play is key.

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