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Proposed US ban on school/library access to 'social networking sites'

by g0n (Priest)
on Aug 01, 2006 at 12:10 UTC ( [id://564980] : monkdiscuss . print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

According to the penultimate paragraph, PM will fall under the scope of this. It seems like something of a scattergun approach.

Update: As tye rightly pointed out in his consideration, I should have included more discussion. I intended to prompt discussion of what PM (and by extension other similar sites) should do (if anything) about this, which is why I placed this in PMD. I didn't intend to provoke a political flamewar. Sorry.


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  • Comment on Proposed US ban on school/library access to 'social networking sites'

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[OT] Re: Proposed US ban on school/library access to 'social networking sites'
by jhourcle (Prior) on Aug 01, 2006 at 14:24 UTC

    If you don't like a law, contact your representatives and senators, and try to explain to them what the problems are with the proposed law.

    The important things to remember is that most politicians are like executive level managers -- they have no idea what the edge cases are* -- what sort of false negatives or false positives it will get, what the other implications are, how people can get around it, etc.

    A bit of searching will reveal tips when writing congress. I'd suggest that you not use form letters, and that you spend the money for snail mailing it -- a pile of paper complaints is more impressive than a bunch of emails. If you can't be bothered to spend a little bit of time on the issue, then it's probably not that important to you.

    Oh -- and it was mentioned in the page of tips I linked to -- suggest alternatives. Don't just say it's a bad idea -- either describe the impact, and explain that no action is a better choice, or give another solution to the percieved problem.

    Update: and don't forget the address. Make sure they know you're in their district, and that you're elligible to vote for or against them.


    * I'm active in my town politics. Last year, someone proposed to change the law regarding 'itinerant merchants' to ban them from the residential sections, not just the commercial district. I raised the issue that the current wording would affect girl scouts selling cookies and tupperware parties. They provided a specific exemption for 'house sales party', and changed the wording to not affect girl scouts.

Re: Proposed US ban on school/library access to 'social networking sites'
by ptum (Priest) on Aug 01, 2006 at 14:19 UTC

    Granted, if we fall under the scope, since we allow 'profiles' and have 'chat' capabilities, it does seem a little over-zealous ... but I can certainly sympathize with lawmakers' desire to protect school kids. There is an awful lot of predatory stuff going on, and sites that are primarily oriented toward social networking don't really add much in terms of education for kids (or at least not the kind of education we want for them). If we get thrown out with the bathwater and decide we want to reach out to school kids, we could always create a PM-lite mirror that would allow access to our material without permitting profiles or chatting.

    If people want unfiltered internet access, let 'em go home and pay for it. If they want to use publicly-funded resources, then it seems reasonable for governing organizations to set limits on their appropriate use. He who pays the piper gets to call the tune.

    No good deed goes unpunished. -- (attributed to) Oscar Wilde

      The whole idea is flawed. First it is based of the theory that children are visiting these sites are victims of some predatory creatures. These predators exist everywhere and I've never seen any of these articles provide facts to back up there claims. Are there significantly more assults resulting from social networking sites than local malls? In addition they are completely ignoring what positive effects these sites can have. I've reconnected with old friends who otherwise would have been completetly lost to me, and i'm willing to bet i'm not a minority since the people I know ALL found old friends who they'd lost contact with. What does all this have to do with schools and governments? Very little, I do beleive though that any time the government starts deciding to censor access to information and free speech, it is time to at least take a very very very close look at what they are doing. My school tried banning certain historical novels because of graphic language and content (like 'Huck Fin'). When we as a society decide its okay to make the government raise our children then it is a sad day indeed. Before the government it is parents and communities jobs to raise and teach our children right from wrong, safe from dangerous, and how to interact in a big scary world without being the victim of some predator.

      Most that was just rant, not directed at PublicAccess...however you did say "He who pays the piper gets to call the tune." WE pay the piper, we pay the government, so we should be calling the tune. Public librarys and schools arn't property of the government, they are paid for and run by american citizens tax dollars and therefor we should be the ones effecting the policies. You think that stuff is free?

      Eric Hodges

        Hmmmm. You make a number of points, some of which I think have merit, but others which, er, have less merit. Without wanting to devolve into a shoving match, I respectfully disagree, as follows:

        (1) Comparing assaults from social networking sites with assualts in local malls seems to ignore the fact that school libraries are not public spaces. If some child predator wanted to go hang out in an elementary school library, he'd find himself talking to security personnel pretty quickly, which I think is a good thing. Why not protect kids when they are at school? They can always go to the mall on their own time.

        (2) While I have enjoyed social networking sites myself, especially on a professional level, I don't think they have a lot of educational benefit, at least for some strict values of 'educational'. Are kids at school to learn, or to play?

        (3) In the United States, the government has 'veto' authority even over parents, in terms of ensuring a child's safety and well-being. As much as I would resent government interference in my own parenting, having seen some of the poor excuses for parents, I must admit that governmental oversight is necessary in some cases.

        (4) As you say, taxpayers pay the piper. I pay property tax on two homes in two school districts, which comes to a pretty penny. But if you look at the original article, it stated that "The House passed the Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA) by 410 votes to 15." I'm not sure how the Colorado representatives voted, but I'm guessing that you (as a voter in CO), have spoken on this issue, since your elected representative has weighed in on this matter(however they voted). As jhourcle pointed out, we do (at least in this country) have redress if we don't like a law.

Re: Proposed US ban on school/library access to 'social networking sites'
by CountZero (Bishop) on Aug 01, 2006 at 16:43 UTC
    Of course schools should be allowed to ban access to sites which provide unfair assistance to homework. That at least would drive away all the Anomymous Monks trying to have us doing their homework. I'm all in favour of that!


    "If you have four groups working on a compiler, you'll get a 4-pass compiler." - Conway's Law

Re: Proposed US ban on school/library access to 'social networking sites'
by monarch (Priest) on Aug 02, 2006 at 11:09 UTC
    I'm all in favour of banning children from access to any form of social networking site online.

    Social networking sites can not only put children at risk of predators, but content on social networking sites contains a mixture of useful and very bad information.

    Not all social networking sites are bad - but I have no objection to even perlmonks being restricted to children whilst at school.

    There's nothing wrong with doing what I did when at school: go visit a library and read technical magazines or non-fiction books.

      Not all social networking sites are bad - but I have no objection to even perlmonks being restricted to children whilst at school.
      If PM is restricted to children whilst at school, then how will we get at it? ;-)

      Oh, I guess that's not what you meant to say. ... You know, laws can be like that too. They sound good and well targeted to what you want, but they end up doing other things as well, and sometimes don't accomplish what you want. Sort of like programs, but with no debugging cycle.

      I'm taking no position on this law, since I haven't had time to look into it yet, but I do have one relevant datapoint.

      My son was 13 and had a mild interest in Perl (he's had little pushing from me.) He had a simple perl question, and a friend of his directed him to a perl-specific IRC, since everyone that age knows IRC. He said he was impressed at how nice the people were and how quickly he got help. Someone was mildly disparaging of his naive question, but others said "Hey, the kid's gotta learn." He did learn.

      His positive experience, the gift of encouragement, not just knowledge, was the primary impetus that brought me to active participation here at PM.

Re: Proposed US ban on school/library access to 'social networking sites'
by zentara (Archbishop) on Aug 01, 2006 at 12:56 UTC
    Extracted from a web encyclopedia definition of stalinism:

    .....It refers to a monolithic system, tightly disciplined and bureaucratic, with the party hierarchy having a monopoly of political and economic power. It also encompasses the total subservience of society and culture to political ends, suppression of political opponents, terrorism, and the acceptance of dogmas.....

    Now say with me all together class..... "All hail Ford". (Remember Brave New World ? )

    I'm not really a human, but I play one on earth. Cogito ergo sum a bum
Re: Proposed US ban on school/library access to 'social networking sites'
by swampyankee (Parson) on Aug 01, 2006 at 14:32 UTC

    It does fit quite well with the current administrations general distrust of communications channels it doesn't control.

    This is, after all, an administration that wants fairly stringent controls on what people see on TV, hear on the radio, read in the library, and see on the internet. This is an administration that wants to "get the government off people's backs" but has a quite narrow definition of "people."


    Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.

    Groucho Marx

      Passed 410 votes to 15. Yup, sounds like it definately was split right down the party line.

      I'd me more inclined to chalk it up to the usual "WHO'LL THINK OF THE CHITLINS!" pandering.