I am no prude, but I concerned about the psychological impact that easy access to Internet pornography has on children. There is an excellent thoughtful radio piece on this problem in the United States entitled "The Internet's Impact on Sex and Society" from On Point Radio from one of our National Public Radio affiliates. You can listen here: http://www.onpointradio.org/shows/2006/ ... d-society/
I love what OLPC is doing, and unfortunately, I don't see enough serious discussion about this very pervasive problem. There is talk about child pornography surrounding OLPC, but this is different from the bigger problem of child access to adult pornography.
As has been discussed earlier on this forum, children will bypass parental controls very easily since their computer skills will surpass their parent's in no time. This is a common phenomenon even in the U.S., as the radio piece I recomended above also discusses.
Many of the young children with new laptops might only be a click or two away from VERY hardcore and often degraging sexual content. And for many cultures where open sexual talk is taboo, this will be a child's only form of sexual education. There needs to be a more serious exploration of the possibility that this may prevent them from developing a healthy sexuality.
For the well-being of the children, I implore the adults involved in this project to please overcome any discomfort you may have with talking about pornography and sex. Please face this problem head-on and think of some creative solutions to insure their protection, at least during the earlier phases of their childhood. The solution might even be simple and under everyone's noses but might be missed if nobody is looking for it. Just remember that there is always a solution.
Please harness that same noble OLPC impulse that drives you to make the world a better place by resisting the temptation to put your heads in the sand on this issue or pass the buck on to others who cannot truly effectively do anything about this issue (in many cases this might mean parents or local leaders). Your actions are changing the world, please do all you can to ensure that it is positive change on every level, not just on the level of technology, literacy and global access.
Just as an aside, I observed during my trips to parts of the Middle East a few years ago that easy access to Internet porn is pervasive and has a deep impact on the youth culture (of which I was a part at the time in my 20s). I sensed an assumption that Westernization also means pornification, and the thought of their children growing up on this triggers great fear. I'm now convinced that this is a huge (if not the main) unspoken catalyst for the growing fundamentalism in the Middle East.
Good luck and best wishes,