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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 ( [id://565011]=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??


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

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
  • Comment on Re^2: Proposed US ban on school/library access to 'social networking sites'

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Re^3: Proposed US ban on school/library access to 'social networking sites'
by ptum (Priest) on Aug 01, 2006 at 15:11 UTC

    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
        You don't tell your child not to go out in public, you teach them how to go out safely.

        I think this particular argument actually illustrates what I think is the more serious problem with such laws: not that the government can't regulate what children are allowed to do in school, but that the regulation paints with too large a brush. The thing about your analogy is that it's true only past a certain age. Below a certain age, I would most certainly tell my child (assuming I have one some day) not to go out in public. Above a certain age, such a blanket rule is no longer appropriate.

        The solution as I see it is to let local school districts craft acceptable use policies, and enforce them, with age-appropriate terms for the different school levels. I remember doing this in my high school ten years ago and it worked reasonably well. The policies would be publicly posted and parents could raise concerns via the school board if needed.

        I upvoted your node because I like the way you argue -- I appreciate your calm, reasoned approach. So many times these kind of discussions reach a least-common denominator darn quickly. :)

        Believe me when I tell you that I am deeply concerned about parenting issues. I have five children, ages 4-12, and I am currently facilitating a parenting study through our local church. There are many, many people out there who have only the foggiest idea as to how to raise their children and how to keep them safe.

        On some parts of my commute, there are no shoulders on the highway, and the tiniest inattention of a driver can result in an accident that brings the whole road to a halt. In other areas, there are wider lanes and wide shoulders, which are more forgiving areas. Without falling too much in love with my analogy, I think that the internet has pretty narrow 'safe' lanes and pretty small shoulders -- even a small amount of curiosity or naivete on the part of a child can result in them arriving at an obscene website or in contact with a predator. If they build bad roads, people get killed -- in the same way, I think that the government ought to try to protect children, even if parents don't.

        Personally, I teach my children how to be safe, and I (mostly) don't let my little children out of my sight. None of my kids go to malls without me (or my wife) within eyesight, and none of them use the internet without one of us being in the same room. I don't see the government's involvment in this area as pre-empting my parental role -- I appreciate it the way I would appreciate a wider lane on the highway.


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

      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.

        It may be 'kneejerkery' and it may not be very effective, but I can't see that it does a lot of harm. Just because this law is not a panacea for all society's ills doesn't mean it might not help (or pave the way for a solution that really does help).

        • 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?

        Heh. Does that make me a PHP (Pointy-Haired Parent)? This thread is controversial enough without bringing PHP into it. Might as well start talking about gun laws and XP-whoring ... :)

        I still don't think it is unreasonable to limit distractions from education while kids are at school, especially distractions that might pose a threat to their safety. Many schools ban cell phones and impose all kinds of other restrictions on kids' freedoms while at school ... just as my employer imposes restrictions on what I can do and say while at work. For the most part, that seems reasonable.


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

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