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

by ptum (Priest)
on Aug 01, 2006 at 14:19 UTC ( [id://564997]=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

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

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

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Re^2: Proposed US ban on school/library access to 'social networking sites'
by eric256 (Parson) on Aug 01, 2006 at 14:54 UTC

    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.

        My opposition is more to the idea of the government censoring sites and parents thinking that the government is responsible for keeping their children safe. The Internet is much different than in person, a child has to go onto the Internet and give out info to get in trouble. Banning such sites is simply ignoring the bigger issue and censorship, which I oppose. If they wanted to help they would teach children how to be safe. You don't tell your child not to go out in public, you teach them how to go out safely.

        As for your last point your absolutely right and I plan to write a letter to my congressmen. Assuming that because the government passed it, it must represent the majority view is hardly a true. Don't even get me started on how the current voting system in the US is flawed ;).

        Bottom line though, I’m tired of parents thinking the government should be sheltering there children, instead of the parents teaching children how to be safe, and I never ever ever like the idea of the government choosing what people can see. Also note that the bill isn't limited to school but extends to any publicly funded organization.

        Updated: fixed spelling errors

        Eric Hodges

        Comparing assaults from social networking sites with assualts in local malls seems to ignore the fact that school libraries are not public spaces.

        This is an illusion. Item: are you going to police cell phone calls on school grounds? Item: are children visiting social networking susceptible to offenders that couldn’t otherwise reach them?

        Banning social networking sites at schools is dumb. The problem, as much as there is one, arises from the fact that the internet enables people to get in touch more easily with more people than ever before. Social networking sites aren’t the only instantiation of this principle and schools are not the only conductor for it. I mean, just think about it. Do you seriously think there is a significant group of children that will be protected from predators if this bill passes?

        This bill is pure kneejerkery by people who heard half a story, understood even less of it, and now feel they have to do something. Think of children! Won’t somebody think of the children!

        Are kids at school to learn, or to play?

        Oh please. As programmers we complain that pointy-haired bosses think we’re not working when we’re not hunched over the keyboard and tapping away. How is the sort of thinking you’re displaying here any better?

        I don’t know about yours, but the library at my school carried a lot of novels of all stripes, and no, they largely weren’t educational. Pupils who weren’t underage were also allowed to leave school grounds at any time. I don’t think these things were responsible in any way for any of the problems I had, and their absence would certainly not have improved anything.

        The solution is to discipline lazy and misbehaving kids – not restrict all of them from things that are generally innocuous. Yeah, I know: that requires attention and action from teachers and parents. How inconvenient.

        I must admit that governmental oversight is necessary in some cases.

        When parents are evidently failing to fulfill their duties, then in the name of their childrens’ safety and in the interest of society that is justified. But here we’re talking about a blanket default decision that applies to all parents alike, diligent, disregardful, or otherwise.

        Makeshifts last the longest.

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