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If that isn’t a great title for hearing or a bill, then I don’t know what is. This is the school and library filtering bill–called the Deleting Online Predators Act, or DOPA, and their aim is to help protect our children. Now, don’t get me wrong, this is a noble effort, and I agree with them, if we only save one child from an online predator, then it is worth it, but increasingly, government is getting involved on what should MAINLY be a parent problem. This bill not only requesting that schools and libraries block sites like MySpace, but it would include any site that had forums, chat, instant messaging or any site that allowed “users to create Web pages or profiles”. Here is a quote from an article at News.com that mainly focuses on MySpace, called MySpace may face legislative crackdown.
DOPA defines a broad category that covers far more than social-networking sites such as Friendster and Google’s Orkut.com. It would also sweep in a wide range of interactive Web sites and services that allow “users to create Web pages or profiles,” including Blogger.com, AOL and Yahoo’s instant-messaging features, and Microsoft’s Xbox 360, which permits in-game chat. (CNET Networks, publisher of CNET News.com, might also be covered because of its member profile feature.)
Another idea that was covered was using some form of age verification on social networking sites, but we all know there would be ways around it, no matter what the solution they come up with.
The solution is for parents to stay involved in their kids lives, know what they are doing and who they are with, and to use some form of monitoring software that will let them know what their children are doing online, just in case. This has worked great for me so far, but my kids are still young, for the most part. The government will need to get involved, but only on a state level, to protect our kids while they are in school or in the library, I agree on blocking sites like MySpace and some of the bigger social networks, just to take care of the big problems, and if teachers need to us blogging software for a classroom project, it is a piece of cake to get wordpress installed and working, if anyone needs help, feel free to contact me at my name at gmail.
Looks like the fellows at Techdirt don’t agree with blocking MySpace and others at school, saying the kids will just find another site. Well, that is kind of the point, the predators would have to find where they went as well as the parents, as it is now, they just have to drop their lure in the pond, they don’t have to know the best “fishing” spots, they can just hit MySpace or Facebook, etc, and go. So, I’m all for filtering in the schools, let them find another site, as long as they don’t let the online predators know, we’re still cool.
The web cast of the hearing is available here.