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Web sites like Amazon.com and MySpace.com may soon be inaccessible for many people using public terminals at American schools and libraries, thanks to the U.S. House of Representatives.
By a 410-15 vote on Thursday, politicians approved a bill that would effectively require that "chat rooms" and "social networking sites" be rendered inaccessible to minors, an age group that includes some of the Internet's most ardent users. Adults can ask for permission to access the sites.
Source: CNet [news.com.com]
"This is a piece of legislation which is going to be notorious for its ineffectiveness and, of course, for its political benefits to some of the members hereabout."
Keep in mind that this piece of legislation applies only to schools and libraries...
Both versions apply only to schools and libraries that accept federal funding, which the American Library Association estimates covers at least two-thirds of libraries.
No doubt the implementation will be suitable bizarre.
This is coming from someone who thinks myspace is 'creepy and weird', less so than this bill however...
[edited by: Copacetic1 at 9:46 pm (utc) on July 28, 2006]
You don't make children who play in a park safe from predators by putting up a fence around the park. You install lights, increase police patrols, and start a community watch group.
What's the real point of this bill? Considering the broad range of sites that now and will fit within the category of "social networking" and that it's essentially "up to the Federal Communications Commission" to decide which sites are banned, then... well... I'm a step away from bumping into the WebmasterWorld No Politics Policy so I'll just stop. :/
"Save the Children!" politicking always gets me worked up.
The bigger question is why do bills like this get support? Let's be honest, the politicians don't work in a vacuum. They run polls for everything. Apparently, many of their constituents support this proposed legislation. So it is not just Representatives and Senators that don't understand, the majority of the populace doesn't understand either.
But that doesn't change the fact that this is bad legislation. It won't be long before every major site allows visitors to create some kind of a profile. Kraft lets you do it so you can recipes. Walmart.com has a social networking site now so you can talk about, uh, Walmart stuff.
Are the legislators really trying to block (poor) kids' Internet access to site like Wikipedia and Amazon? Seems like someone should have done a little research before writing this bill up.
Maybe the Internet really is just a Series of Tubes [youtube.com]
School computers are funded with tax money. Kids should not be "socializing" and "hooking up" on my dime. They need to learn there are rules and consequences, and when they get in the "real world" there will be rules there too.
[edited by: crobb305 at 1:17 am (utc) on July 29, 2006]
That's going to go on (on our dimes) whatever the government says.
Then ban it/block it, etc, and get the children back into the classroom (without their cell phones). Heck, let's put a uniform on those spoiled brats while we're at it. School is a place to learn, or it should be.
[edited by: crobb305 at 1:35 am (utc) on July 29, 2006]
I might be wrong but I believe that schools still have socialising time available after lunch has been eaten. If the students want to socialise then let them sit on the playground bench and natter in the normal way.
This whole ban is another massive over-reaction by govenment (again). Rather than try to understand which types of sites are a risk, mainly any that allow posting of personal details in profiles, they just ban anything.
Another much bigger question, why introduce a bill in the first place? Simply asking Schools and Libraries to ban particular sites (or classes of sites), I'm sure the FBI could supply a list of troublesome sites, would do. Why the hell introduce more laws?
Are they planning to ban MSN messenger, Yahoo chat and any site with PHPBB while they are at it? I can see those sites/applications fitting the description.
I've actually got a couple dozen schools that pay for their kids to have access to one of our sites. While it's an educational site at heart, the social networking part of it is big. When done properly and in a manner that stresses maturity, social networking sites can be hugely beneficial to students.
I say "way to go".
What about the internet freedoms of the Adults in libraries?
From my understanding, they are referring to School libraries. If a school teacher wants to use school resources to "hook up" or "make friends" on myspace, that is, again, a misuse of tax-payer money.
They can use their own computers, on their own time. It's that simple.
If the bill is targeting Public libraries, I again argue that it is a misuse of resources. There are students and teachers alike who want to use those computers for valid research activities, school work, papers, etc. I should not have to wait for someone using the computers to line up their next date or post about petty gossip on myspace, before I can use the computers to fulfil my professional/educational needs.
If you want to socialize online, go to Kinkos, where you can pay for your time on the computer. Or better yet, buy a computer and do it at home.
[edited by: crobb305 at 3:08 am (utc) on July 29, 2006]
You are avoiding the main issue that it could hurt a broad range of sites.
Not hardly. The bill targets "social" sites. If it targets "socializing" sites beyond Myspace, so be it. Tax-payer resources are not there to "socialize".
When I worked as a Federal Employee, we weren't allowed to use social networking resources or chat rooms. We had rules to follow or face consequences. Why shouldn't these children have to follow rules, and learn early that that life isn't always a big social event/party?
[edited by: crobb305 at 3:15 am (utc) on July 29, 2006]
And I really don't think there will be much of an impact on traffic for the sites involved.
Yes, the bill it too broad, but it is still a bill, not law.