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Australian Govt. Proposes Internet "Panic Button" For Kids 434

CuteSteveJobs writes "Children who feel they are being bullied, harassed or groomed online could call for help instantly using a 'panic button' on their PCs under a plan by the Australian Government's cyber-safety working group. The button shall look like a 'friendly dolphin,' who will connect the child victim instantly to police or child protection groups. Australian Internet Censorship Advocate Hetty 'Save the Children' Johnson says the Internet needs something like 000 or 911. Will this be another scheme wasting taxpayer dollars in lieu of parental supervison, or could it actually work? Are 1 in 4 children really sexually abused by the Internet? Can flaming and trolling be classified as bullying?"
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Australian Govt. Proposes Internet "Panic Button" For Kids

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  • by Vinegar Joe ( 998110 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @02:28PM (#30228564)

    Of fucking people......certainly more than some anonymous internet perv.

  • by joebok ( 457904 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @02:38PM (#30228732) Homepage Journal can easily get away from it simply by turning off the device you're using to access it...

    I think you've just saved the tax payers of Australia a ton of money - just replace the circle & line logo on the power button with the "friendly dolphin" icon and the children are safe!

  • by JoshuaZ ( 1134087 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @02:39PM (#30228752) Homepage
    The way the large percentages for sexual propositioning/harassment on the internet are pretty misleading. In order to get that number they are counting fairly tame stuff such as mildly lewd comments from friends over IM and the like. For example, a teenager asking another teenager if the other was a virgin would count or possibly even asking "hey, did you end up making out with that cute guy." When one looks at what one would normally call a real problem, such as sexual solicitation by strangers and the like one gets under 3%. See [].
  • by dave562 ( 969951 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @02:50PM (#30228920) Journal []

    The short version is that the police and the media are contributing the hysteria of online child predators and blowing things WAY out of proportion. In the huge majority of the cases where minors are involved in sexual conversations online, they are engaged in them with other minors.

  • by eln ( 21727 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @02:56PM (#30229010)
    I'm not saying kids who are being bullied online should turn off their computers forever, I'm saying the immediacy issue that would require a 911-like service isn't there. They can temporarily log off, and then tell their parents about it at dinner, or call the police and ask for help. There's no immediate physical danger involved, so there's no need for an immediate response capability.
  • by lorenlal ( 164133 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @03:04PM (#30229088)

    Based on the replies below, I think we've come to a solid consensus... It's option 1.

    IMHO 1 in 4 children are copiously ridiculed, harassed, and are treated poorly... I'd even argue that some arguments here can get downright mean... And yet, here we are every day.

    If someone takes the trolling and flaming as bullying, they've been bullied. They can learn to live with it, or they can go somewhere else.

  • by swanzilla ( 1458281 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @03:17PM (#30229284) Homepage

    Appeasement never curbed the aggression of axis powers, but a nuke ended WWII in seconds.

    Actually, Japan agreed to surrender on 8/14...five days after Fat Man and eight days after Little Boy.

  • by AnotherUsername ( 966110 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @04:00PM (#30229822)

    Wait, the police are allowed to decide whether a crime is/might be taking place? Don't they have a worldwide bad track record for making those decisions?

    I would place more trust in what a police officer says is or is not illlegal. In my experience, random people on the street(or internet) know only what their friends/family have told them, or they simply assume something is or is not illegal based on their own brand of logic. Last time I checked, police officers actually have knowledge and experience of the law in their area. They are actually trained in criminology and the laws and ordinances of their area.

    As far as your comment about the police having a worldwide bad track record for making those decisions, I would have to say that they only have a bad track record according to those who are anti-police(which generally correlates to anti-government). Of course, this also only based on my experience, and your experience may vary.

  • OMFG (Score:2, Informative)

    by TiggertheMad ( 556308 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @05:01PM (#30230530) Homepage Journal
    I need to read posts more carefully, I just read

    Show me where on the dolphin he touched you.


    how me where the dolphin touched you.

    I was afraid that I might have to start watching out for dolphin sapienophiles on teh intarwebz...
  • by Sasayaki ( 1096761 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @06:29PM (#30231262)

    The answer to this is simple. (disclaimer: I'm not a politician but I am interested in politics)

    In Australia (much like in other democracies such as America) we have a senate which ultimately writes, discusses and publishes new laws. Instead of directly voting for our Prime Minister (you guys would say President), we instead vote in senate members in our electorates (or 'regional areas'). Since Australia's quite large, these regional areas might cover a fairly large areas including a small city and a few towns.

    Australia, much like America, has two main political parties- the Labour party (left leaning) and the Liberal party (right leaning). These two parties get most of the seats. However, because senate members vote on laws, sometimes minority parties or independents gain seats.

    There are currently 76 seats in the senate. What this means is, in simplified terms, if the Labour party has 38 seats and the Liberal party has 37 seats, then the one remaining seat (held by an independent or a member of an minority party) holds what is called the 'balance of power'. After all, they could just vote against or for any law proposed by the government and block it- 38 vs 38 is a tie, which means the bill is defeated. So, essentially, this person has the power to veto any law they choose... a very powerful position. They cannot *create* new laws directly, but they get the final say as to what passes.

    Currently, senator Fielding holds the balance of power in the Australian senate. Senator Fielding is from the state of Victoria and is affiliated with a political party called 'Family First', which is exactly what it says on the tin- immediately love for any scheme which is 'for the children at any cost'. That's why all these insane "For the Children!" laws are getting passed- because politicians on all sides of politics want to scratch his back so that he'll pass or block their various laws of choice. Couple this with a profound lack of understanding regarding the Intertubes, a Telecommunications minister who has a massive, visible erection for Internet censorship (who is by far the most hated minister in his field in living memory) and you have a recipe for massive "For the Children" wankery.

    I hope I've explained everything in an easy to understand manner. It's not that Australians are douchebags or that our politicians are all insane, it's just a minor broken bit in what is otherwise a perfectly fine system- a unique race condition which manifests itself regularly but is remarkably damaging when it does.

  • by Brian Ribbon ( 986353 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @06:46PM (#30231468) Journal

    "My question is, how is it that the "defenders of children" never have a clue about children?"

    The "defenders of children" are not really "defenders of children". Many of the larger children's charities are self-promoting organisations who do very little to help children. They plead for donations, but rather than using those donations to protect children, they use the money to pay for advertising and other marketing activities. The extra donations which they receive as a result of those marketing activities can be used to pay for more advertising, and the cycle of growth continues, with the organisations becoming increasingly profitable, without helping children.

    Frank Furedi dicussed this issue a few years ago, in an article [] at Spiked Online.

  • by Sasayaki ( 1096761 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @06:57PM (#30231558)

    As a side note, Australia has a preferential voting system (I want Labour, if not Labour then the Greens, if not the Greens then the Democrats , etc...). This means that while Senetor Fielding polled less than 2% of the popular vote as first choices, due to preferences he won the seat ( The population of Victoria is about five million people, voter turnout rate was about 25%, which means that this man was the first choice for *only* approximately 62,500 people- yet he has vast power in the Australian political system.

    In short, we're not all crazy- it's just a minor glitch in our political system. Don't worry. Hopefully next election this issue will go away.

  • by Cimexus ( 1355033 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @09:40PM (#30232792)

    Yeah because a couple of moronic ideas from a few extremists makes something wrong with an entire country? I'm sure no moronic ideas have ever come out of anyone in the American government either....

    It really pisses me off to see how Australia gets unfairly dragged through the mud on Slashdot. Slashdot seems to have a knack for dragging up the absolutely most OBSCURE stories that I don't even hear about on any other Australian or international news service (and I consume a LOT of news sites), beating them up or misrepresenting the facts somehow, and turning it into "OMG crazy idea from Australia" stories.

    A few of the categories of Slashdot stories about Australia that piss me off:

    - Taking a mere PROPOSAL (sometimes not even a formal, written proposal) from some obscure quarters of government (sometimes even State or local government), and talking about it as if it's actually law that's been passed. The Internet censorship scheme springs to mind here. It was a proposal that Blind Freddy could clearly see was never going to pass Parliament and was wildly unpopular with about 90% of the population! But to this day, Americans on Slashdot seem to think we have a bloody censorship regime in place on our net connections. They don't.

    - Reporting on a view put forward by one or two politicians or politicians in a minor party, and stating that as being what 'the Australian Government' wants to do. Or even worse, what 'Australia' wants to do as a whole.

    - Taking a random obscure piece of news that clearly would never even make the light of day, and promoting it to headline status.

    Look, like anywhere, I'm sure there's a fair share of morons around in AU. But frankly, there's there's nothing "very wrong" down there. Fundamentally they are doing better than most by almost every measure you can think of (quality of life, unemployment, economic freedom and prosperity, life expectancy, low crime rates). Plus their food isn't riddled with HFCS (banned), and they get a guaranteed-by-law minimum of 4-6 weeks of annual leave a year, free/very cheap healthcare, and a governmental system that still works pretty well (minor parties still count for something, unlike the US). Admittedly on most of these measures AU gets beaten by Norway, Sweden and a couple of other places, but of the English speaking Western democracies (US, UK, NZ, SA, AU), I know where I'd like to be right now (if for no other reason that the Australian economy is still booming and they were the only OECD country not to go into recession due to the downturn).

    PS. I'm an Australian currently living in America (long term - my wife is American). So yeah, I'm biased. But you really do get a bizarre impression of Australia if all you read is Slashdot, so I had to say something!

In less than a century, computers will be making substantial progress on ... the overriding problem of war and peace. -- James Slagle