Children’s legitimate free speech as applicable to them should not be barred in any case. I have little support for the free speech advocates out there in the current issues that we face in the case of minors. If MySpace leads to minors having being lead to unrestricted content and practices, then there should strictly be legislation enacted to control that action. I suggest that legislation be built so that the entire family is in picture and are liable if a minor is involved in any instance of sexual/drug abuse or violence.
What we should do is educate and empower our children about diverting their free will and free speech to true wisdom of individual advancement. I wonder whether we have a clear definition of what constitutes a child’s free speech. If there is one, there should not be freedom to go to adult content when they are minor – period. If they go, there is a good chance that it is our problem who creates a way out for them. Today, the way of life has totally changed when parents have little time to enforce any controls or empowerment on their children. In my opinion, there should be a mass movement to educate parents in this matter to realize how important is their role to shape their children’s way of life.
A side note on DOPA – HR 1120:
Please review DOPA act here – DOPA – HR. 1120. Following is a main portion of the bill – section 3 for schools (is the same for libraries)-
“enforcing a policy of Internet safety for minors that includes monitoring the online activities of minors and the operation of a technology protection measure with respect to any of its computers with Internet access that — ‘‘(I) protects against access through such computers to visual depictions that are—
‘‘(bb) child pornography; or
‘‘(cc) harmful to minors;
‘‘(II) protects against access to a commercial social networking website or chat room unless used for an educational purpose with adult supervision; ”
After reading the Act, I don’t feel that the act does anything harm that is going to shut down the usage of the blog sites/forums/chat rooms. Its main intention, as far as I understood is to install some supervision when students are using such things for what ever reasons, so that they don’t cross the barriers. I think its purpose is to dupe parental control where it is not available.
So its not a total ban, its a control measure applied to situations where children are prone to the obscene content or practices. In my opinion the Act *will not* affect the way we use a blackboard system such as WebCT which is not a commercial social networking website. It doesn’t fall under the category as defined in the Act.