as peer pressure can often dictate to younger people moreso than their parents
Can, and does!!
I am definitely in the 'old fuddy duddy' class. I simply loath gratuitous swearing; that is, using swear words when it is totally unnecessary.
I mean, what is the point????
I visit one particular site, open to all ages, which allows avatars depicting pornographic scenes to be displayed. Some sites are getting so bad that children no longer need to stumble upon dedicated porno sites in order for them to view inappropriate material. Someone, somewhere down the line, has to take responsibility for protecting the innocents from unsolicited viewing of unsuitable content.
I also get really disgusted when reading through the comments on some of the popular sites, many of the exchanges are offensive in the extreme.
As for the argument that people will have differing opinions over what might be offensive or not; there is some truth in that. I would not find certain things personally offensive BUT what I do understand is that many people would, and I respect that. Plus, I am a mature adult, there are things I will read and images I will look at that I certainly wouldn't want my grand children seeing....nor any children for that matter.
It ain't rocket science and the rules are simple; no pornographic or lewd images, no swearing, no racist comments and no flaming. There is just no need for any of those elements, they serve absolutely no purpose. And there are methods already available that allow for controlling/censoring any such material.
The onus for all this MUST be on the head of the site administrator(s)/owner(s). I don't care what is costs or how much work it entails; they have a duty.
If that does not happen, then eventually government authorities are going to step in and that is the last thing we want or need, wholesale government censorship.
Perhaps a rating system (like the content on television) could prevent someone stumbling onto something offensive to them while allowing others with other views access to stronger or stranger materials
I do like that idea, content based ratings. "G" pages could be opened by anyone immediately. "PG" and above rated pages could initially open to a ratings page displaying the applicable rating and reasons why. The visitor could then read through what type of content has been flagged and decide whether or not to continue on. And the site would not be credited for any traffic which declined.
Because they would not wish to limit numbers of visitors, that would force traffic hungry site owners into controlling content.
Only possible hindrance I can see is that, for full effect, the system would need to be adopted globally and require overseeing. Achieving universal acceptance might just be a goal too far.