View Full Version : RE:minors at WetCanvas & security issues

07-18-2000, 06:01 AM
You can chalk this up to either my long time residence in a large city, or the fact that I have been around this internet and have seen some unseemly things, but the thought of minors encouraged to participate at WetCanvas seems both a great idea and one that leaves me a little uneasy. So much so, that I can not help but speak out about certain legitimate concerns I have, and possible ways to increase security. The concerns are founded, the solutions offered are just off the top of my head.

First, I think a more advanced regristration method could be benneficial.
An optional "parental consent" could include a dual password, the minor's access code and a parental password that allows only the parent to alter any bio information.

Any minor's accounts could be invisibley tagged to refuse them admittance to posts which are marked by the infamous "icon", and a second icon could be developed which allows moderators to mark certain rowdier threads off-limits, or even make individual posts invisible to their browsers.

Furthermore, a special sign-in for chat could require both access codes for minors who wish to chat. Private messages are invisible and thus create a certain element of risk. The dual password would insure that the parental guardian is at the VERY LEAST aware their child is in the chat room, and HOPEFULLY monitoring the discussions.

e-mail, ICQ, AIM, and the likes...

I advise all parents to create a seperate e-mail address which you and your child share access to, you being the keeper of the password. Do not allow your child to give out ICQ#'s and the likes to those who are strangers to YOU.

I voice these concerns not through any distrust of those who post here -but a healthy fear of strangers.

07-18-2000, 09:26 AM
arc - It is a healthy fear that you have. We have to protect our youth from strangers that prey on them. I believe your post is a serious consideration that Scott should implement.

How about it Scott? Can this be done here at WC??


07-18-2000, 10:09 AM
In short, a great idea, but one that we don't have the bandwidth to implement right now...

07-18-2000, 12:16 PM
Parents need to take their own measures to monitor what their kids are doing. I don't think it's fair (or wise, legally) to ask Scott to do that. There's plenty of computer security programs out there nowadays to help parents control what their kids do and see...

If Scott takes some kind of measure to differentiate between kids and adults, then if a legal issue ever arises, claims could be made that HE should be held responsible. Imagine some parent saying, "The site claims to have safeguards, but they weren't good enough! That's Scott's fault!".

It's really far better to leave these sorts of things up to the parents. As adults on the internet, we should always be aware that there may be minors present... whether they are identified or not.

The LAST thing Scott needs is somebody saying, "But WetCanvas didn't do an adequate job of identifying and protecting minors... even though they claim to do so!", or even, "I thought kids couldn't see that area, so I didn't bother keeping the conversation tame."

Any random kid could go read the transcript from a chat session, for example. Even if only you, me, and Dr. Ruth were in the room at the time.

About the only thing I -would- recommend would be (if possible) to have any posts with the Icon on them... make the script automatically include the string of code that helps programs like CyberSitter, etc., choose to block the page.

-=- Jen "Seriously." Pixelscapes
Digital art prints (http://www.pixelscapes.com) and dangerous sculpture (http://www.bewareofart.com)
(Edited to add these links)

[This message has been edited by pixelscapes (edited October 06, 2000).]

07-18-2000, 02:06 PM
I agree on a separate icon for minors...at least for now. Maybe just a "J" for juniors or whatever.... arc has some really good points but if the bandwith is not there then the icon sounds like a good alternate. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif Carol

07-18-2000, 03:01 PM
Parents do protect their children...they do it by calling 911 whenever they notice their kids happen to be anywhere adults are behaving like adults, and not necessarily like collective parents. Frankly, my concern is as much for minors as it is me -I really do not want to see the web divided into the two camps of Disney vs. Porn. There is an inbetween.

What parents SHOULD do vs. what they OVERWHELMINGLY actually DO are two different things.

The net is no longer exclusively the stomping ground of techheads, it is chock full of folks who have no understanding of what is actually going on who have children who DO. A lynch mob in the making.

07-18-2000, 03:40 PM
I do see your points arc, but you may be going a little overboard here. I don't see a lynch mob in the making, although I do see some reasonable concerns.

Unfortunately, law is a very tricky bussiness - and pix brings up some very good points. It is true that in the realm of law, halfway measures are worse than nothing at all. She is right in saying that Scott could be open to more legal troubles by implementing a partial solution... and partial solutions are the only ones available at this time.

I suppose that someday, all of the legal issues involved with the Internet will be ironed out... but I almost hope they never are. I like a bit of anarchy in my life. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

[This message has been edited by sgtaylor (edited July 18, 2000).]

07-18-2000, 04:28 PM
ROFL - I'm tempted to move this one to the debate forum. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

The bottom line is that for now, things aren't changing. I do like the concept of a new icon, although I'm tempted to take it a step further. How about special icons for "students", "kids", and "experienced". This way, the viewer/poster can gauge their comments accordingly - just a thought. Of course, the ol' rear-end icon will have to stay... http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/biggrin.gif


W. Collier
07-18-2000, 05:33 PM
Originally posted by scottb:
How about special icons for "students", "kids", and "experienced".

What a great idea! It would save people having to explain their level of experience each time on the critique forum.

Only problem is, I'm not sure which icon would best apply to me. Um.. we are talking about artistic ability, aren't we? http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/biggrin.gif


[This message has been edited by W. Collier (edited July 18, 2000).]

07-18-2000, 06:18 PM
The only problem i may have with the suggestion of KID STUDENTS & EXPERIENCED is that i too, wouldn't know where to place myself & i believe there are certainly more than three levels of development. OK I guess what you're saying is 'be very kind to me, give me compliments & very gentle advice or go ahead rip my heart out!' lol. I still think that a simple indicator that we are dealing with a young person is quite enough. Cheryl

07-18-2000, 06:43 PM
I got an idea! (imagine that) For the same reason children's names should not be printed on the back of their shirts or jackets their photo's shouldn't be posted in forums. So you see where my tinyhead is we could have an icon for children ....my suggestion would be 12years old or younger. With the same icon on any junior's post it would be a red flag in critiques or any other forum.

One more idea is to have a contest for creating a 24x24 pixel icon for the junior members. Sandy

Lynda Mortensen
07-18-2000, 07:34 PM
Wow, I never thought a little suggestion like this would set off so much discussion - or bring up so many problems :-)

As a mother, I agree that the responsibility should remain with the parents - it is simply not fair to ask Scott to take this part of it on. I am quite happy with the little bottom icon (and Alice thinks it's a really cute little bottom too....).

We only have 1 computer connected to the internet and this is situated where it is easy to keep an eye on what is going on there! Alice has to ask first to use the internet and if I am too busy to keep a close eye on her then she is not allowed to log on. I also read all the new messages for her first! I'm perfectly happy with this solution and see no need for anything too complex in the way of child protection for this particular website. The last thing I want to do is cause problems for all the adult members - after all, wet canvas was intended for adult artists and they should not have to be mucked-about in any way in order to allow kids to use the site too. So - if we can get a junior section going without too much hassle for the rest of us then let's do it, but if it looks like causing too many problems then we may have to scrap the idea.

All the best, Lynda

07-18-2000, 08:30 PM
This thing strikes me as ironic. It reminds me strongly of an issue that was and probably is still going on at the last place where I was at every day.
Basicly it involved children and was in the arena of censorship. To place something for children, in a children's area, but that something was questionable to some adults, That was the question folks, and the media was very much involved and believe me it was a hotbed for awhile. Everyone involved had the same strong emotions on one side of the other and the battle still rages.
Here as it was there, my opinion is let the parent be watchful and have the control over the child and their access to whatever it may be. I had my own strong opinions that would sound as if I am for censorship and yet in the long run, I am very much against censorship. Arc's concerns I know are very real and they should be ours too, but just as in the situation above the true solution to the problem may not come and if it does it may not satisfy everyone (you know how hard that would be?)
Just as I've said in another post, how do we really know just who is really here to visit this site. Perhaps there have been children and they just have not made it known.
I personally believe that most kids if they wanted to see something really shocking, An Artist site would probably not be the first thing on their list.
Internet law and laws for it, if I may call it that, are changing and being discussed almost daily so who knows what changes may be made to the internet when all is said and done.
Also, I think the discussion of separation in this thread is reminding me of the discussion we had in another one about the different critique forums for the experienced and the unexperienced. I say "Let the parent decide". If not and the issue runs deep enough for Scott to be concerned then perhaps a lawyer should be consulted. I for one don't know. Just my thoughts.

07-18-2000, 09:53 PM
Wow! I guess I should really keep my mouth shut until I finish that caffeine jolt! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/eek.gif

I agreed with arc as far as protecting them from predators...not realizing I happen to use a Cyber Patrol on my computer. My kids are not allowed to surf at all. They are supervised by me, but I was thinking of all those teens out there! My problem is I guess I want to protect them when it is their own parents job. Did you ever read the book "It Takes A Village"? Well, I believe in looking out for all the children, not just my own..my apologies..

Scott, I guess I wasn't thinking about the legal issues and the obvious burden on you. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/frown.gif But here in Jersey, if he had the site protected for kids or if he didn't...some people would sue anyway.

I do like the idea of a special area for the juniors - let them know that we take their art "seriously" too! Or maybe Carol's idea with the "J" attachment so we know if it is a kid or not. This "J" could be attached when they originally register with WC.

I agree this is an adult site when it was originally conceived, as are many, but their are young ones who do visit. If they live in an area where there are no artistic mentors, wouldn't we want to encourage them?



07-18-2000, 10:48 PM
We could create a SINGLE forum for children to use for art-related chats and threads. The adults among us could pop in ocassionally to answer questions and provide general guidance - this is the easiest thing to do.

This would be a good way to encourage (and nurture) kids along...


07-19-2000, 12:26 AM
Originally posted by scottb:
We could create a SINGLE forum for children to use for art-related chats and threads

Ok, you asked for thoughts. I'll be happy with whatever is done, but going back to at least part of what Arc said, I think I 'm hearing him say that if you have an area for children it is like saying to the predators, Hey, here's where the kids are!
Oh course, that's not what we are doing, but isn't that what the mean people do is look for the places where they think they will find kids who think they are only talking to kids?
If we do it, I still maintain that it should be up to the parents to watch their kids internet interactions and having been deprived of a good art education myself, I'm all for including children on this site if it appears that they truly are interested in Art. Perhaps if you had a separate chat area, they would be less inclined to want to join the adults chat. If you found not enough interest in it you could always take it off.
My other 4 cents

07-19-2000, 01:22 AM
I agree 100% with Jen. It is the responsability of the parents to decide what thier children view. I can, however, appreciate your concern, Arc. But perhaps a new icon to be placed in front of childrens work (or even mine at times!) http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/wink.gif in the critiques could be done so that we don't chew them up when they are asking for input? Cheryl

07-19-2000, 02:13 PM
Good point! What if we had a couple of volunteers who would "patrol" the kids forum from time-to-time, answering questions, keeping them in-line, monitoring posts from "helpful adults"?


07-19-2000, 02:19 PM
I can't help but think that marking kids' accounts with "The Scarlet Letter" J is going to do anything but paint them as targets. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/frown.gif

Yes, it's true that a kids forum might attract evil predators, but then so would all the kids forums all across the internet. The question remains, do we want to provide an area for people (who happen to be young) with a special interest? I don't see why not. It doesn't mean they're banned from the rest of the site.

I -could- see adding a kids forum here... but I still can't see asking Scott to filter, regulate, or mark who's of a certain age and who's not.

-=- Jen "A" Pixelscapes

07-19-2000, 04:11 PM
That's what I'm saying. I think it is wonderful for kids to do art. As far as how the site should be run in light of the fact that children are here, I don't know. I think that if Scott has an idea, it just doesn't hurt to try it, until it doesn't work anymore. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

07-19-2000, 04:11 PM
There are predators who prey on our children. When they need to "find" a victim, they do so very easily whether it's via the internet or around their own neighborhood. If we tag the younger teens/kids into a special group it would just make it easier for them, yes.

I don't believe children should be allowed into the chat room with adults. Or if they post a work and we critique it not knowing it is a younger person, couldn't we possibly do harm on such an impressionable mind? Think of some of us here who have stated they wished when they were younger someone encouraged them instead of belittling their work. Not that this is what is happening when we critique each other, but kids might not understand and take it to heart.

There are many of you who teach art...what a great incentive if you could reach out to some who may never have the opportunity to take an art class. Look at the public school systems. Our schools are now getting overcrowded, art comes to the class on a cart! Couldn't WC be a forefront in helping those who may never have the opportunities?? I know this is not my site...it is for all of us...let's share.

Scott - I do not posess the wisdom that some here do in their artwork. I do know a lot about materials and what one can possibly do with them. I like to help children discover art whether it is at preschool level or elementary, but I don't think this is what is needed here. However, if there is any other way I could possibly help with this, I would be honored.

I know this is a monumental task, but let's not stop thinking of ways to encourage our younger generation.


07-19-2000, 04:54 PM
What about contacting an organisation specialising in child safety and the internet for their views? A quick search at alta vista coughed up the following:





[This message has been edited by sandrafletcher (edited July 19, 2000).]

Lynda Mortensen
07-19-2000, 05:22 PM
We're getting some great ideas flowing with this now - some solutions to the problems!

Yes, a separate forum for kids, but what about having an adult panel of volunteers - and I would be honoured to oblige, so would ReNae I suspect and others - to 'patrol' the forum, give gentle critiques, set projects and give advice? A warning that the forum is patrolled on a daily basis should deter both predators and any childish silliness from the kids themselves.

I also suspect that most of the children involved would be those of the adult members here, especially if the kids forum is not advertised in any way - which would be an advantage as their parents would also be active on the site and able to keep an eye on things too.

If it doesn't work out, then we can always get rid of it - but I think we should try at least!

My own view of the likelyhood of predators is that most will be specifically targetting childrens sites - not one aimed at adults, so in theory it may actually be a safer place for them than a kids only website.

Scott - if you give the go-ahead for this we can put a call out for 'patrol volunteers'!

Best wishes, Lynda

07-19-2000, 08:25 PM
I, too, would be glad to volunteer. I thank arc for bring up a subject that is creating an extremely positive action

07-20-2000, 01:37 AM
This subject is of major interest, not just for this site but for all of this ‘brave new world'...obvious to all of you see this. But there is one thing that bothers me, has bothered me before the internet....I think of as the ‘dear abby' complex...where the answer presumes that the person in question...or the parent or guardian....whatever, is an intellegent, informed, caring, supportive individual, fully able to make intelligent, well thought out decisions, objective and available, judging but not judgemental.....etc....ad nauseaum... When the facts are far from that fantasy. It is not a glib, one-liner answer here. Parents with the best of intentions fail, and there are many who don't care.
The ‘It takes a village" concept is true..I believe because within the village it is not only the ‘offender's' faults that are evaluated, but also the virtues
But ultimately it is the village...the community that decides guilt of the individual..it should also be held responsible for the process that brought that individual to that point. For any web site that presumes to be responsible, whatever methods that are available to protct the innocent should be demanded by the users.
I've lawyer friends, and in goverment...and have been told often, "Anybody can sue anyone for anything, anytime" These days, any business, net or otherwise, has to consider potential liaibility,
but that's not excuse for not making every effort to protect users, and aviod potential abusers. It's a tough job, I agree, since technoligy is rapidly acclerating. But no excuse for not doing the job. It's just part of the package,

07-20-2000, 04:22 AM
Originally posted by Sandi:
... if Arc punches me one more time, I'm gonna go tell my big brother, Arnold, on him~! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/tongue.gif :::

Did I punch you?

07-20-2000, 05:12 AM
This just occurred to me...we ‘know' each other, we think, but when it comes to security for a kid's site, I think it would be a good idea for the volunteers to have to submit additional information, develop some way of getting ‘clearance' for security. It seems so bizzare, but here in Illinois there is a ‘sting' operation for patrolling for predators, and the people they've busted are ‘friends and neighbors' types.

W. Collier
07-20-2000, 08:04 AM
Until fairly recently, I did child abuse investigations so I've met my fair share of victims and offenders. The truth is that offenders are almost always "neighbourly" types. That is why our society has such a hard time dealing with offenders. Most offenders are nice people. They are also very manipulative by nature, that is why they are able to perpetrate these crimes.

No one will ever be able to successfully identify offenders, even with criminal records. Sadly, so many get away with these crimes so we can't lull ourselves into believing that we have control over this.

All one can hope to do is get accurate profile information which could be cross-checked. Luckily, a site like this is an unlikely "playground" for offenders; there are so many other traps out there for children, they wouldn't bother with a site monitored by adults.

My only suggestion would be to get "monitors" who are already known to this site. We know they aren't here to access children at this moment, so odds are they aren't predators. Voluntary police record checks could also be done if WetCanvas feels it necessary. These may cost a nominal amount of money.

Other than that, the rest lays with appropriate use and monitoring by parents and their children. Not just monitoring, but educating. Unfortunately, we have never lived in a safe world and to delude our children into thinking otherwise can only make them victims. This is not a new issue, just a newly recognized and "open" issue. Open exchange of the problem is the only thing that will stop predators.

Hope this helps,

I'll be away until Monday so I'll have to reply back to this post on Monday, if necessary
[This message has been edited by W. Collier (edited July 20, 2000).]

[This message has been edited by W. Collier (edited July 20, 2000).]

07-20-2000, 08:36 AM
If need be, I can poke my head in from time to time. I am not so bad at teaching, and have a knack for interpereting subtext and subtle inuendo. I can not guarantee you any set amount of time, but I can check in from time to time.

A background check seems a bit extreme if I am not getting paid -I like to keep my Social Security # to myself as much as possible- but I would be willing to confirm a mailing address.

07-20-2000, 10:36 AM
I am so glad to see some of us are willing to give this a try.

I agree with Wanda having known someone who was abused..it was a neighbor.

The background check, well I don't like to give my social away either, but what if we could get references from family, friends, clergy, business associates? Would that be enough to show that the volunteers are kosher? I know babysitting services require references, but they also do the background check.



Lynda Mortensen
07-21-2000, 01:13 AM
I'm quite happy to give e-mail addresses for reference purposes, although a formal police check would have to be done via the British police as I've only been here for 6 months! I certainly think that references are a good idea, let me know who to send them to!

07-21-2000, 01:41 AM
We could always send the personal info to Scott via snail mail....it still exsists, I know because Ray works there.

07-21-2000, 05:40 AM
Most of the work shown here isn't the kind of work which would harm children! Or, particularly interest them. If Scott wants to set up a children's corner, fine. I don't think it is necessary. TV has more suggestive and sexy stuff than wet canvas by far.

God Blesses!

07-24-2000, 10:24 AM
Okay, I've been out of the loop here at Wetcanvas for a few weeks and was just perusing the discussions. My young teenager is my webmaster for my art page. He isn't particularly interested in this site other than helping me with my page. The point of mentioning this fact is that unless you are talking only of children 8 and younger you are only protecting the adults from the older kids who like to cause havoc. My experience is that most children are more internet savvy than the parents.

Dual password--the kid will create two and the parents will never know anything about it.

Icons--only the naive or kids with parents standing over thier shoulder will be drawn to such.

Anyone, regardless of age, with a strong desire to learn all they can about art will hangout where they preceive the most information is to be gained.

Creating a kid's forum would probably work for those interested in art and want to go to sites geared just to them. Why not give them an area to post quetions that would automatically email the adult volunteers and those who feel confident to answer could then post thier answers.

07-24-2000, 11:15 AM
Originally posted by ReNae:

The background check, well I don't like to give my social away either, but what if we could get references from family, friends, clergy, business associates? Would that be enough to show that the volunteers are kosher?

References would probably not protect the kids. On the nightly news and in the papers, it's the 'family, friends, clergy, business associates.' that are often clueless. I worked with children for many years. If there's one thing I learned, it's that there is NO surefire way to protect them.

Teach your children well...


W. Collier
07-25-2000, 06:33 PM
Originally posted by W. Collier:
All one can hope to do is get accurate profile information which could be crosschecked.
Voluntary police record checks could also be done if WetCanvas feels it necessary. These may cost a nominal amount of money.

Hi All:
Back from my trip. Sorry, I wrote my previous post in a hurry, so I apologize for any confusion I may have created. What I meant by "profile information" was name, address, phone number, & e-mail id, which could then be crosschecked to ensure that the information is not fabricated. It would not be a preventative measure, but a way of tracking someone down in a "worst case scenario". References would essentially be useless because offenders commit these crimes in private with young children, not other adults. Don't run the mistake of thinking that "normal" people could spot an offender.

I only mention a police check as an option, although probably an impractical one. I've had mandatory police checks done because it was a requirement. However, like I said, not all offenders are known to the criminal justice system; especially the type of offender we are talking about.

I agree with Gisela... children need to be educated. We can't prevent these things from happening to children, we can only prepare them. Perpetrators don't haphazardly choose their victims. Remember, they know children well, so they also know which children they can successfully victimize.

I do like the idea of the "child" icon for critique discussions for obvious reasons. However, IMHO, I believe that children would be better protected mingling in the general forums. There is nothing here that is offensive to children and/or would not be shown on TV.


07-26-2000, 01:33 AM
there's no way in the world that we are going to keep 'undesirables' out of here. That's just the plain truth. therefore i say let's just hope that parents are responsible for what thier children do & view. If not, it wouldn't be the first time. I don't mean to sound cold or irresponsible but for me to wonder weather or not each and every one of my posts to WC members is rated P or PG is unreasonable & unacceptable. This is after all an adult oriented site. I welcome children in certain forums, ie. critiques. But i do not care to interact with children in the chat forum or others such as this one. They simply have no place here. period. Cheryl

[This message has been edited by paintfool (edited July 26, 2000).]

Lynda Mortensen
07-26-2000, 07:14 PM
Entirely agree with you Cheryl - kids should not be allowed in the chat room - not just because of protecting them, but of protecting us from childish banality as well!
(which I get quite enough of from my own kids thankyou - perish the thought that my favourite website might lose its 'sanctuary' status http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif )

07-26-2000, 07:44 PM
"DITTO", to Gisela and Paintfool.

07-26-2000, 10:21 PM
ok, ok, I think I was being, well thickheaded?

When you ladies are right, you're right!

Kids shouldn't be at this site because it's adults only - they can go to Disney, etc.
They visit sites without parental consent and it is not our concern it is theirs. As long as we keep an eye on our children and educate them against the evils in our world hopefully
they won't be victimized.

Got the point...I apologize...must be quitting the caffeine that has had me in a fog! Next time, just give me a whack with the mouse ok??? http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/tongue.gif


07-26-2000, 11:09 PM
Sandi - when I meant kids - I didn't mean the teenagers, I meant the 9 and younger. Yes, they probably have been coming here longer than myself too.

I can see the point made by others on the catering side of the issue. I would not want to discourage anyone from visiting this site. I think it is the most refreshing, intelligent, artistically inclined site I have visited. I always tell friends to pay it a visit and view the artwork that is displayed here.

Now don't go hiding in that brain in there...you ever hear of the dark space??? LOL!