iBrent, thanks for weighing in with your concerns -- we really do take them seriously, and I appreciate hearing other members of our community on this issue too. As Duane said, this is a huge topic and it's heavily debated around here. Bottom-line is that the chumby is essentially the full real Internet, but on a 3.5" diagonal screen, and chopped up into bite-sized pieces of Flash, called "widgets" -- with everything that's good and bad about the Internet. The minute we, or any other site or service, accepts user-generated content, the appropriateness of this user-generated content will be an issue. The debate around what constitutes "pornography" (or even "inappropriate") is obviously a well-visited, yet likely forever unresolvable, issue. The opinions of Chumby's management or our community are unlikely to be dispositive on the issue. For sure, pictures of certain parts of the anatomy and certain words and themes are "mature," which is why we absolutely try to label as such widgets that we know to contain them (let us know if we're missing any). And we're going to be building in more community rating/reporting features that enable the community to bring content issues to our intention -- as stated before, and especially as the widget stream grows, we just can't police everything ourselves.
With respect to who our audience is and how we promote Chumby, we have never promoted the chumby as appropriate for anyone younger than an older teenager. The chumby may be cute and adorable (can't older people have cute and adorable things too? How many "Hello, Kittys" do I see in the hands of adults?), but that doesn't mean it's a toy -- and if it was ever classified as a toy, that would be a real issue for us given the regulatory burden around toys (every day in the paper another horror story out of China). When you click on the "Get the whole story" link from our front page you get this text as part of the page you see:
"Are the widgets on a chumby screened for content?
When you use a chumby, you choose what shows up on it. Many of the widgets use information straight from web sites on the Internet, so some of this content may be more mature in nature than others. Artists and developers may also create widgets with themes that are not appropriate for some teens. If you're concerned about what will appear on a chumby, be sure to educate yourself on the source of the content. CollegeHumor isn't the Weather Channel!"
And we repeat this refrain in multiple places on our site, including on the Chumby Store before anyone purchases one.
You can also not create a Chumby account if you are too young -- or at least we deploy the best practices we know about in this regard (but as Duane says, we're always open to better, more secure ways to do this).
All this said, as a parent of a 13-year old and an 8-year old and who would never ever let my kids have an account on a social networking site where they could see anything remotely unseemly, I'm completely fine with my kids having a chumby in their rooms. I manage the content on these, so I can see that it's "Stuff on My Cat," "Blue Ball Factory," family-only "Flickr Photo" feeds, and "Daily Puppy" on their chumbys and I know and manage who my kids' "chums" are and what permissions any of these other people have to share content directly to my kids' chumbys. In other words, I can create a totally controlled, managed and safe environment for them within the broader and more open context of the Chumby Network.
Vis-a-vis your point on how to screen children from the potentially mature-themed widget examples that are browseable on our site so you can see what you're getting yourself into *before* these go onto a chumby: on the one hand, I'm not totally sure how we could screen kids out of this area without a really awkward system, and indeed there are many sites on the Internet where people can see things that may offend them, even unintentionally. So this seems like a generic "Internet problem" rather than uniquely a "Chumby problem." On the other hand, we'll dig into this a bit more and see what we can come up with. In general, best policy for many parents is to not let children freely browse sites on the Internet -- our site or any other site -- though I've heard parents that I consider responsible not necessarily agree with this restriction.