House Bill Would Force Libraries to Block Social Websites
— found at the American Library Association Web site
Legislation introduced May 9 by Reps. Michael G. Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) seeks to prohibit minors from accessing chat rooms and such popular social-networking websites as MySpace and Facebook on school or library computers. The Deleting Online Predators Act, H.R. 5319, would require schools and libraries to block access to a broad selection of web content including commercial websites that “allow users to create web pages or profiles that provide information about themselves” or offer “communication with other users, such as a forum, chat room, e-mail, or instant messenger.”
“Sites like MySpace and Facebook have opened the door to a new online community of social networks between friends, students, and colleagues,” Fitzpatrick stated on his website. “However, this new technology has become a feeding ground for child predators that use these sites as just another way to do our children harm.”
I can’t be the only person who remembers the media frenzy around chat rooms and instant messaging just a few years ago? It centered around the same concept: children’s accessibility to online predators.
Why don’t we try something new: hold parents responsible for knowing what their children are doing? I know that that’s a really “out there” idea, but it just might work.