My 82-year-old grandmother got a letter a few years back from her alma mater, Beaver College in Philadelphia. Apparently, the university wanted to change its name for many reasons, one of which was that high schools seniors searching the internet with the term “beaver” were often taken to websites that contained material both unrelated to both schools and furry woodland creatures.
My grandmother, who attended the school in the 1940’s and majored in typing, couldn’t fathom that this problem with the so-called “internet” was as bad as this letter was making it out to be. Not a consumer of Google and its awesome search power, she was confused and appalled that the college was so quick to change its name in an effort to protect children from a seemingly harmless word. “If the kids haven’t figured out the difference between beaver and ‘beaver’ by now,” she asserted, “they probably aren’t ready for college.”
I recently had the opportunity to meet with a handful of smart women as part of an SV Moms Group event, where we joined together and shared our opinions about family security on the Internet. Some of us (me included!) were a bit more naïve about the dangers for kids on the Internet, while others took a more proactive attitude. But in the end the question in some minds remained. When it comes to protecting your family on the Internet, how far is too far?