Cyberporn and Society

I had an interesting trackback from a student in a course at the University of Buffalo School of Informatics called Cyberporn & Society. They’ve got some interesting student posts at the course blogroll. I won’t even hold it against them that they might skip the copyright law section this year. 😛 My post was about Oklahoma’s bill to remove homosexual and sexually explicit materials from children and youth collections. I’m glad to report that the bill is no longer active.

In response to the trackback- I don’t think this blog is particularly controversial. ^_- When I was using “censorship” I am usually referring to government actions related to denying access to information, and not parental actions. I do believe that parents must have a role in their children’s access to information. The government does regulate certain materials, but there are issues- even obscenity’s “community standards” are problematic, particularly in the online environment, when we start getting into availability and jurisdiction.

IMHO, a problem is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for “appropriate” materials, including children. Different people will want their children to have access to different things. Parents definitely can’t be there 100 percent of the time, I agree- but I don’t believe that censorship of media is a particularly good alternative. Broad and vague laws like Oklahoma’s do little to help this issue, party because of their vagueness (which I discussed briefly in the earlier post). Regulating the Internet or media, however, is also a losing proposition as well. We risk potentially denying children access to information that should be available to them if we are overly restrictive. We risk potentially providing access children to information that their parents do not want them to have if we do not- but the parents can get involved at that point for their own children (and not others’ children). Librarians can’t, and shouldn’t, replace parental decisions in that respect.

Of course, there are guidelines for “age appropriate” materials and collection development policies. It’s the controversial areas, such as homosexuality and racism, that are complicated. I would far prefer providing more access to information and letting the parents decide what is appropriate for their children then removing those materials for everyone- because there are also parents who believe that those materials should be there.

There are difficult issues. 😛

1 Comment »

  1. YouTube Addict said,

    May 25, 2007 @ 2:48 pm

    I agree with the fact there is no one size fits all solution for content restrictions on the internet, or TV

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