No, kids should not have unsupervised acess to the internet. Yes, I got that and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Its a paradox.
It’s not a paradox – it’s a different net.
When we were kids, the internet was a sandbox-style open world – full of dangerous things, yes, but also nearly unlimited potential – and we learned to be careful, and we learned fast, and we learned fairly well.
Now, the internet is a series of black box silos built by corporations to maximize engagement at the expense of everything else.
I may have seen Two Girls One Cup by accident and at the tender age of ten, but I never had to deal with companies using gambling-addiction-creating strategies pioneered in literal casinos to try and make me hand over hundreds of real dollars at the same age. I may have been exposed to vicious bigotry in anonymous and pseudanonymous messages boards, but I never had algorithms spoonfeeding me explicitly far right radicalizing content. The blithely unfettered access people of our generation had is just genuinely not the same as what kids with unsupervised access are getting today.
There were also like… actual places for kids on the internet back then. Real ass websites full of engaging content geared towards children that was made by actual people who cared about the product.
The corporate internet has pretty much leveled the majority of it and what hasn’t been leveled has largely been turned into advertising. All that’s left is horrific bot-generated content and advertisements and algorithmic slop. The rest is the Adult Internet.
There’s fewer curios and neutral spaces, fewer forums, fewer places that are topic-specific- it’s all on youtube or social media or tiktok or whatever. It’s all the corporate net, where algorithms and advertisers are enacting agendas on their users literally constantly.
Before, unsupervised internet was dangerous because you could find anything out there. Now it’s dangerous because of what you can’t avoid.