It is a documented estimation that almost one-third of all American homes now have at least one personal computer. Along with that staggering stat, the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science has reported that 95% of the public has access to the Internet. Our society has been able to make these great advances, obviously along with many more important others, due to the fact that every American poses certain unalienable rights. Now in this new Millennium, the very innovation which has grown into the majority of American lives is the focus of a debate that questions our fundamental right to freedom of speech. The Federal Government should not regulate the Internet because that is not the Government’s job. Internet Regulation should be left up to Parental guidance and local organizations but most of all, not left to the professional politicians.
Raising kids is the job of the parents or guardians who are legally responsible for the children, not the job of the Federal Government. The Cyberspace age has arrived at lightning speed. Children and young people are among the most active citizens of this new era and are often the first in their family to use the Internet. These days, it is important for parents, schools, and communities to take a pro-active approach in making our newest form of communication safe for children. The best way to assure that your children are using the “net” in a positive way is to stay in touch with what they are doing. One important way to do this is for the parents to spend time with their children while they’re online. While children and teenagers need a certain amount of privacy, they also need parental involvement and supervision in their daily lives. The same general parenting skills that apply to the “real world” also apply while online.
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A great example would be to view the “Net” like the street. Even though there are police officers that protect our kids in the real world, you still don’t leave them unattended to walk up and down the street where they can be hit by a car. It’s the same way on the Information Superhighway. You don’t leave your children unattended to walk up and down it, and when they are older you teach them to look both ways before they cross the street. Many people seem to confuse parents into believing that the Internet is ultimately a large scary place just waiting to harm their children. Many do not realize that the only way for the child to be exposed to the “bad stuff” is for the child to personally make the choice to view the material. The computer does not make the choices for itself, it is not capable, all it does is do what the child tells it to.
In there lies the root of the problem, the problem which is the parent’s responsibility to correct during the child’s growth process. When the child is being raised it should be taught right from wrong by the parents, not the Government. Many say that it takes a village to raise a child: well that village should be located within the child’s community, not in Washington D.C. Some Americans want to make it illegal to give Web surfers at public schools and libraries access to the Web without using filters. Some states and counties already have such laws in place, and Congress is considering bills that could make this a federal law. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), People for the American Way, American Library Association, and many other advocates of free speech oppose these bills.
Most people agree that children and teenagers shouldn’t come across adult material like pornography or get into potentially dangerous situations on the Web, but they disagree about how kids should be protected. It is simply not right for the Government to create a “cover all” law that would effect every library and school in the Nation. Many are against “Net” Regulations on libraries and schools because there is no product(or filter) out on the market which is a cure-all. And in a place where the free flow of information is imperative, taxpayers can not afford to spend money on something which hurts the community more than it helps. There are hundreds of examples of software blocking harmless and even helpful information accidentally and on purpose. A few of many examples would be filters that block.
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