Henrico iBooks raise concerns among some parents

“A mother in Richmond, Virginia, is raising concerns about the use of laptop computers in her son’s high school. She says she is not the only parent whose worries about uncontrolled usage of the computers are being ignored by school officials,” Jim Brown and Jody Brown report for AgapePress.

“Three years ago, Henrico became the first county in the nation to purchase laptops for every secondary school student in the district. The school system signed a four-year, $24.2-million lease for the laptops as part of its vision to “close the digital divide.” The purchase of 23,000 iBooks, according to manufacturer Apple, constituted the single largest sale of portable computers in education ever,” Brown and Brown report.

“Under the school’s guidelines, students pay only a minimal insurance fee that covers loss, theft, or damage to the computer, and they have the option to purchase their laptop after four years at a reduced cost,” Brown and Brown report. “But Sally Booth, whose son attends Godwin High, says the policy was put in place quickly and without measures to block pornography. The Virginia mom contends that instead of furthering education, the multi-million-dollar investment has led to problems with students viewing porn, hacking into grades, and cheating.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: These sound like problems originating with the computer operators, not with the iBooks themselves. Perhaps the concerned parents should have worked harder on their respective computer operators upbringing? Then they’d realize that cheating, playing games, viewing porn, etc. on laptops provided by their school are not the proper things to do?


  1. I would like to see Apple supply an add-on for Safari that allows users to block such content whenever possible in a similar way to how they block spam. it could learn what hosts have pornographic content in the html pages by looking at ratings and text content and then block any images from that address space, say domain name, subdomain, etc. – Google manages this quite well when using the image search with safemode switched on.

    Apple already supply a mail client with excellent spam handling, a browser with pop-up blocking – an adult content filter seems like a logical next step. Too many third party solutions are either inadequate, expensive or easy to counteract.

  2. Am I the only one that is confused as to why this is a problem?

    I imagine teenage boys that view lots of pornography on their iBooks probably spend half the day whacking off.

    At the time, teenage boys that don’t view pornography also spend half the day whacking off.

    So at least the kids jerking off with iBook assist are picking up some computer skills.

    So what the big deal?

  3. Geez, a whole country of prudes!! I was raised knowing what an unclothed body looks like from new born to 89 yrs old. My family and many friends always walked around nude. No big deal. When I went to Jr. High School, and some friends were snickering at a magazine, I had to glance to see what it was. It was a picture of a naked lady. I walked away and still couldn’t figure out what they were snickering at.

    At age 16, after spending the summer with friends, my sister (12) saw me coming out of the shower with just a towel on my head, drying my hair. Her comment was “Nice tan!”

    To this day (I am 45), I have friends about my age DOING THE SAME THING as my pubescent friends in school!! They have pictures of naked women on their computer. One guy has THOUSANDS of pictures of naked women on numerous disks. I think it is some sort of addiction like gambling. I just don’t understand it at all. How many tits do you need to see?

    Don’t go ballastic, don’t ban the pics or get some easily defeatable program like NetNanny, just sit and talk to your kids. (There’s a concept!!) Be open and honest. Once they cruise through various pics of naked men and women, teens to 90’s, erect and not, with their parents, ALL the secrets are gone! Take the family to a public nude beach and enjoy what a life of not being clothes-compulsive is like.

    Geesh… lighten up people!!! It’s JUST a penis, not an alien from Mars!!!

  4. “First post AGAIN!!! I am like twice as bad-ass today!! I feel sorry for all of you out there who don’t have the bad ass mojo going on like me. I am the king of being bad ass.”

    LOL! Thanks for the laugh!

  5. No shame on MDN — just read the enlightened answers in this forum. A school shouldn’t be a substitute for parenting. Gordon’s post is particularly hilarious.

    As for sticky magazines under the bed, I’d rather hope my kids flush sticky tissues down the toilet [along with the country] regularly. And if pornography helps get the job done quicker, so much the better. Better getting it free from the www at home than at school or at the store throwing good money at some publisher’s rag. Better parent approved porn than some of the weirder fetishes out there.

    So, I’ve determined that when my kids start strokin’ they will have all the visual aids instantly available in order to get the sticky business over and done with quickly. It’s the only way to satisfy nature’s raging hormones … spit ’em out and not keep ’em in stewing and messing with one’s brain.

    Prohibition just increases the value of the item prohibited. Offer a kid a drink of alcohol or spirits and he’ll pass on the opportunity after the first whiff or taste. Deny him the option and he’ll sample it behind your back, overcoming the unsavory effects by the thrill of the illicit.

    It doesn’t surprise me that we have a drug problem and the country is going down the toilet. Bad parenting. Shortsighted laws. Vacuous minds.

  6. The woman doesn’t want to take resonsiblity for rasing her own son. It’s as simple as that. Is she so clueless that she doesn’t know he has access to porn, Internet or not? It’s always easy to attack that which you don’t undersatnd and live an illusion that you’re in control. But she obviously lost control a long time ago when she abdicated responsibility to teach her son what is right and wrong.

  7. If her son watches porn on the Sony DVD Player she bought him last Christmas is that Sony’s fault? If he buys a copy of Penthouse with money she gave him is it her fault?
    All the school has to do is have a decent IT manager configure the iBooks with the Teacher having Sys Admin access and the students as users. Using OS X System Preferences, instant messaging, iTunes and the like can be easily shut off. The school could also likewise operate 2 wireless networks- one a closed LAN (no internet) and an open LAN (internet). The internet LAN could easily be controlled room by room by the teachers. Since each AirPort Base Station (classroom) can be assigned different passwords, overlap of signals would not be a problem. The district can also filter internet access at the server level should they desire to do so.
    Finally, do the teachers have the Remote Desktop Software? If they do, monitoring student usage should be no problem.

  8. Regardless of what people think about nudity, one thing is certain. Many parents have kids without any good reasons beyond wanting to have kids. I know parents who let the school provide education then let nanny and babysitter take care of the kids all afternoon and then let the kids watch TV all evening because they don’t want to be bothered. They want the goverment/schools to make rules for kids. Now, if they don’t want to be bothered with making meals for the kids, taking care of the kids’ needs, and educating the kids, they should never have kids in the first place. It seems they use children to obtain some status or think them as a property. Granted that some families undergo some hardship while the parents are trying their best. It’s the other kind that bothers me much.

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