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Banning Social Sites?

Jul - 23 - 2006
Nicole C. Engard

I was just catching up on my news reading and found an article on the ALA site about Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA).

The House of Representatives held hearings July 11 on whether schools and libraries should be made ineligible for e-rate funding unless they bar minors from access to social-networking websites like MySpace and Friendster. Testimony before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce's Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet came two months after the introduction of the Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA), H.R. 5319, which would also prohibit minors in schools and libraries from visiting websites that “allow users to create web pages or profiles that provide information about themselves” or that offer “communication with other users, such as a forum, chat room, e-mail, or instant messenger.”

Before I finished reading the article I called my husband into the room to start my rant. Sites like MySpace are not to blame! Un-educated children (and adults for that matter) are to blame. If you teach kids what it appropriate to share and what isn’t – instead of banning them from sites like MySpace altogether, you’re likely to have a better result. Banning things from kids just makes them want to find a way to use the banned item.

I then saw that Beth Yoke from the ALA agrees with me:

…Beth Yoke, executive director of the American Library Association's Young Adult Library Services Association, who emphasized that “education about safe internet practices-for both youth and parents-is the best way to protect young people.”

Why is it that the government is always so quick to ban things when a little education can go a long way – spend your time coming up with ways to educate people instead of rashly deciding to ban something.


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