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Age Restrictions needed on ATS

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posted on Jan, 6 2010 @ 10:52 AM
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I am writing this out of a concern for some of the younger members that have found their way to the Above To Secret forums.

Of course, this may not be the most popular perspective, and a lot of you will pounce on me immediately, but that will not mean that I am incorrect.

Recently, I have recognized a lot of interaction between members that blatantly admit that they are young, and what can only be described as "members that are thinking waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay outside of the box". To put it mildly.


In a lot of cases, these younger members are actually coming right out, and asking for advice and input. And, some of the advice they are looking for, is possibly involving, or showing signs of some SERIOUS issues. In an effort NOT to alienate, frighten or hurt any members, I will refrain from giving examples in this thread. But, I doubt if anybody can really deny that this is happening.

I am a father as well as an individual that has worked with the mentally ill in the past. And, I can tell you that, if my child was having problems, showing signs of mental illness, or just plain had some "Big Questions", the last place on earth that I would want them looking for answers, would be in these forums.

And, this is not to mean anything negative against ATS members as a whole, but, instead, reflects the fact that the anonymous nature of these forums, coupled with the subject matter ensures that there will be a percentage of members that have NO BUSINESS interacting with, or advising younger members. Especially, with some of the more serious issues that are sometimes posted or explored here.

Also, I do understand that this situation is by no means, unique to ATS. Obviously, the same potential problem exists in a myriad of other similar forums.

The difference is, as far as I can tell, in the many years that I have been a member here, this site, and it's members, have striven more than other sites, to take a more responsible, logical and "proper" road than many others on the web.

In other words, our group wishes to be taken seriously, more than others out there.

I have some ideas that would help with this situation, but I will hold back for now. I would like to see what you people, and the ATS Staff thinks of this issue first.

However, I would ask one thing first:

Before you reply to this thread, please imagine that you are a parent, with a possibly troubled child. Now, think about the topics, conversations, questions, answers and sources that that are explored and utilized in forums like this. Not to mention, "personalities".
Now, ask yourself, in all honesty, if you would want to find out that your child was using this as a point of reference for their issues and questions, both internal and external?


[edit on 6-1-2010 by LASTofTheV8s]




posted on Jan, 6 2010 @ 11:05 AM
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I am also a parent, but I want to point out an issue that is easily circumvented.

"You must be 18 years or older to visit this site. Are you 18?"

My 7 year old knows to click yes. All it does is add an extra question to answer when filling out a registration.

Of course, they could use some serious form of age registration, but that would cause me boycott the site. Credit card verification, something like that. Ech!

Now, my 7 year old has already experienced a ban on another site. It was for just 24 hours, and he understands what he did that was wrong (language) - and over all, was a great learning experience.

Some of the examples you are hinting at, I know were later turned up to be fantasy role-playing, or just messing with people, trolling, etc. Personally, I think the response to a known hoaxer or troller was extreme - first offense. Full out ban second offense. I personally can't stand it, yet I see it happen again and again. I don't think age is the issue, though. It has to do with the behavior.



posted on Jan, 6 2010 @ 11:07 AM
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Well this is considered a family site.
Also,anyone can fake being 18.

By the way I am 18.
See how easy it is??



posted on Jan, 6 2010 @ 11:08 AM
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I understand your point, and in some cases I can agree, however some of our best posters are youngsters. (SDog I believe is actually a 4 year old). J/K

I think the responsibility lies in the posters themselves. I think that if we know that a person is younger we would treat them differently. From my own experience as a teen I hated being treated inferior due to my age.

As far as the mental ill go, a lot of the truly mentally ill posters are over the age of 21. So the problem isn't age. It's in mental stability.



posted on Jan, 6 2010 @ 11:08 AM
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We have no way of knowing the true age of anyone here. We do not know if a member is truly a child or an adult acting like a child or a child acting like an adult. There is also the case that some kids (under 18) are rather mature and are great contributors to this site. Some adult members even started out here as a kid (under 18).

If you see something that is questionable or needs to be looked at by staff, please use the ATS Complaint / Suggestion form. All staff will see the alert/complaint and review.

At the end of the day, parents are responsible for their kids and what they do online. There is only so much we as staff can do in regards to other people's kids




[edit on January 6th 2010 by greeneyedleo]



posted on Jan, 6 2010 @ 11:11 AM
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reply to post by LASTofTheV8s
 

I completely understand and am in agreement, however the two main things that come to mind are:
To become age restrictive means credit card verification and pay site, and where are the parents of these little ones.
I raised 4 so I'm not speaking without experience.
The net is huge, yes, and not all on it are caring concerned individuals.
I imagine keeping an eye out is in order, but I have no solution to offer you at this time.



posted on Jan, 6 2010 @ 11:11 AM
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reply to post by LASTofTheV8s
 


I wrote a thread about age requirements a couple of months ago.The
younger members really busted my chops for posting it.Good luck,with
this thread, the kids' will find this quickly!



posted on Jan, 6 2010 @ 11:12 AM
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Originally posted by LASTofTheV8s
Before you reply to this thread, please imagine that you are a parent, with a possibly troubled child. Now, think about the topics, conversations, questions, answers and sources that that are explored and utilized in forums like this. Not to mention, "personalities".
Now, ask yourself, in all honesty, if you would want to find out that your child was using this as a point of reference for their issues and questions, both internal and external?


i am a parent, so i'm speaking from that perspective. if a child has issues and questions of a nature relating to ATS then i'ld say this is the best place for them to go.

they're looking for answers, they can either get them from a relatively responsible ATS or a totally irresponsible "outside the box" conspiracy site or from some hoaxing youtuber.

besides which, ATS has no way of verifying ages and the people responsible for monitoring a child's internet usage and limits are the child's parents.



posted on Jan, 6 2010 @ 11:13 AM
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How about taking care of things on your end?

Parents should supervise their own kid's activities.

Why not leave parenting to PARENTS?



posted on Jan, 6 2010 @ 11:13 AM
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You've got dudes who say they're chicks, you've got chicks who say they're dudes, you've got kids who say they're adults, you've got adults who say they're kids, you got people who say they're vampires. That's part of posting on the internet, what are you gonna do?.

The "You must be 18 or older" is for liability reasons I would assume.

Peace


[edit on 6-1-2010 by Dr Love]



posted on Jan, 6 2010 @ 11:13 AM
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reply to post by LASTofTheV8s
 


While we do have members that are very mature for their young age (SDog), please alert anything you think as content that is offensive to youngsters by using the Complaint Form or "Post Alert" function.

We rely on your help to enforce the Terms and Conditions.

[edit on 6-1-2010 by Skyfloating]



posted on Jan, 6 2010 @ 11:19 AM
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reply to post by LASTofTheV8s
 


Interesting, I have been wondering about our younger members for many years . . . easy to spot some by their posting but very tricky with others.

I am glad you bring this issue to ATS, but ATS does a great job spotting certain controversial issues and many members are also great pointing out to troublesome post that are screaming for help.

I remember that member that posted here a while back and then committed suicide I believe it was from the Indian reservation. . . if I am no mistaken.

Even when it was red flags about his post is not much we can do about certain things.



posted on Jan, 6 2010 @ 11:21 AM
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When I first became active on this board this issue was brought up. The consensus then as it is again is no, age restrictions on the part of ATS is not fair to the younger members and having the input of these younger members has alot of value. The onus, as a parent, is on the parent to monitor the online activities of the users in that household. So I disagree with you sentiment but I do sympathize that it is not easy to monitor kids activities online.



posted on Jan, 6 2010 @ 11:23 AM
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Originally posted by whatukno
I understand your point, and in some cases I can agree, however some of our best posters are youngsters. (SDog I believe is actually a 4 year old). J/K


No you are!


Originally posted by Skyfloating
While we do have members that are very mature for their young age (SDog)


What the ...

Guuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuys, stoooooooop it!


About the OP's point ... I look at it from a more selfish pov. Imagination and a fresh perspective are considerable elements/assets to an alternative discussion site. In that context I find the input of our younger members of great value.

Plus, the sooner they get "unplugged" the better.



posted on Jan, 6 2010 @ 11:24 AM
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Perhaps the only thing we can do is be mindful of the way we speak to each other, as we may be setting examples, or teaching lessons.



posted on Jan, 6 2010 @ 11:26 AM
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"Out of the mouth of babes."

There is a reason for that saying.

I think our younger members are great, as long as they abide by the rules.

This is their world too, and I really enjoy hearing their view on things.

That's why the portions of the T&C are particularly important here.




posted on Jan, 6 2010 @ 11:31 AM
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Well, Ill start off by saying your concern is in the right place. I started coming here in 2002, that would of made me 12. Now I refrained from even making a account because whatever my imput was, was probably going to be considered due to my age and my quality of writing immature. 4 years later and I made an account and now I rarely put in my imput.

ATS has definetly left me feeling hopeless at sometimes, and I would even spend my money preparing for many of the doomsday theories. Now I am not so guillible. For many kids who come here, its to escape real life issues, (trust me its happened). It can definetly nice place to come and know that there is more to life then just money, sex and alchole/drugs down their future. The spiritual section of ATS has played a very large role for me and the memebers who frequently reply on there have also played a large role in my development.

The age restriction would be a bad idea I feel, its up to the kids to decide what is good for them sometimes. If they have mental diseases, well not to be rude or unjust, but maybe they shouldnt be on the internet to begin with, I feel there are WAY more worse things on here then some guy claiming that he can fly like superman.



posted on Jan, 6 2010 @ 11:36 AM
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reply to post by whatukno
 





I understand your point, and in some cases I can agree, however some of our best posters are youngsters. (SDog I believe is actually a 4 year old). J/K


 


Mod Note (This Appears On Every Post Reply Page): AboveTopSecret.com takes pride in making every post count. Please do not create minimal posts or simple "I agree" posts when replying to threads. (Minimal posts that contribute nothing to the thread are subject to immediate removal.)


[edit on January 6th 2010 by greeneyedleo]



posted on Jan, 6 2010 @ 11:45 AM
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reply to post by LASTofTheV8s
 


Well I'd sooner have young people reading BS on here (and hopefully investigating claims) than spending their time feeling inferior while they watch some Adonis that's hung like a baboon, hump 4 perfect plastic barbies for 8 hours.



posted on Jan, 6 2010 @ 12:02 PM
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Originally posted by DrumsRfun
Well this is considered a family site.
Also,anyone can fake being 18.

By the way I am 18.
See how easy it is??


Please tell me how this is considered a family site? I have seen some other members say the same thing, I get a laugh out of it everytime.

Anyone who thinks ATS is a family site is deluded!


edit: to add an i to it!

[edit on 6-1-2010 by kcfusion]



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