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A National Children's 

Virtual Private Network

  By Roy D. Follendore III

Copyright 1997 Roy D. Follendore III


The Obvious Advantages of the Internet

The Internet offers important advantages to the people who have access to it.  It allows local communities of individuals to not only participate on a global scale with each other but also allows them to contribute.  A child and family in a rural environment can have access to the same kinds of educational information and knowledge as the child in a major metropolitan city.  Children with special requirement may find their needs met through the Internet.  Today, one can find the information and software tools necessary to learn to read or earn a Ph.D. through the web.

Problems with Children Using the Internet

The numbers of problems that can occur on the Internet are too numerous to acknowledge in this paper.  The same kinds of dangers that a child may be introduced to on the streets are available through the Internet.  Qualities that make the Internet an important tool for our society are precisely the same ones that present the dangers. 

The freedom of speech and expression that is possible on the Internet are a reflection of the issues and concerns of the citizens that use the tools.  Inappropriate access to information and to the people that are behind the information presents much of the concern.  Children are just not capable of making the decisions that they must be able to make if they are on the open Internet.  

Placing a child on the Internet without supervision is tantamount to leaving that child alone in a city alone.  The protection of children without limiting the potential advantages of the Internet is criteria that a National Children's Virtual Private Network is all about.  As you will see, accomplishing this goal is not easy because complex relationships that a distributed communications process like the Internet is comprised. 

Obviously it is relatively easy to simply disconnect access to the Internet from the school and the child.  But it is impossible to completely filter the content of unsupervised and unaccountable web sites.  Through the use of VPN technologies it is possible to obtain the significant degrees of freedom necessary to appropriately allow levels connectivity to be associated with the school, the community and the schools.

The issues involved in the concept of a Children's National Virtual Private Network are complex.

The fact is that every parent is different.  Some parents care a great deal about the kinds of information that their children are exposed to.  Other children have no such parental support.  Many parents, without respect to the economic or ethnic origin may leave their child to the virtues of their environment without discussing the information that the child discovers.  These same parents may hold their schools at a different level of responsibility for the same information their children may be exposed to within their home.

The fact is that every child is a different.  Different ages and different maturity levels at different ages mean that access to information should be unique to the child.  The issue of matching the child to the information is a mapping problem that must be resolved through a system that can handle these complexities. 

It is particularly important to understand that no child grows emotionally, intellectually or physically at exactly the same rate as another child.  The potential of the Internet is that it offers the potential of providing the child with quality information and to interaction with other children at just the right levels.  The child on the Internet even if handicapped or otherwise disabled can functionally operate at the appropriate level for that child, not just the assigned level relative to age.    

The fact is that every school is different.  Mapping the child to the information it needs will require participating schools to come on board.  The ways that different schools are regulated from city to city, state to state, county to county are not uniform.  To be effective the administrators and the teachers who are accountable to the administrators have to participate.  If there are a thousand teachers, then there could be a thousand unique expressions of what is the proper educational information for a child.   

The fact is that every community is different.  The morays of the community are an important aspect of providing information to the children.  Some children see drugs and death every day of their lives. That may be a part of their lives.  They may be more aware of the facts of their environment than the teachers and the administrators. To deny such children access to rehabilitation information of a subject that they know exists is to alienate the obvious reality of those problems within the children's daily lives.  Once again this involves the proper matching of information access to that of the child's needs. 

Professional and knowledgeable people, who are recognized within the community, must accomplish this matching.   The ability of the community to address these issues at all levels and to have other community's help in doing this is most important.

To understand how a National Children's Virtual Private Network (NCVPN) can be developed requires a better understanding of the nature of Virtual Private Networks (VPN). 





Copyright (c) 2001-2007 RDFollendoreIII All Rights Reserved