Filters Are Needed To Protect Children From The Internet

2056 words - 8 pages

 
      "You can no more leave your children to explore the internet

than you can leave them alone in Times Square in New York," states Lee

Munsil, the executive director of the National Family Legal Foundation

("Internet Regulation").  This analogy between the Internet and Times Square

is indeed quite accurate.  The Internet has a

plethora of information and resources, however for children especially it can

be quite dangerous if not monitored properly.  Most parents would opt not to

leave their children alone in New York City so how could they leave them

alone on the Internet?  The government should take a more active role in

controlling and regulating illicit material on the Internet in public

libraries by mandating the use of filtering software, the so-called "Internet

Nannies."

 

    Being relatively new, the Internet standards of regulation have not been

completely set.  Many forms of legislation have been made in regards to

regulation, and many are still being developed and decided in courts right

now. In particular, the First Amendment protection as it relates to Internet

content has not yet been determined ("Internet Filtering Software"). Most of

the legislative attempts to control the content on the Internet so far have

not been too successful.  They have been declared unconstitutional upon

judicial review.  Because it changes so often, the author of "Internet

Filtering Software," suggests that will be difficult for the government to

control the content placed on the Internet anytime soon.  There is, however,

great potential for filtering devices to be implemented in various

institutions involving children. One of the traditional standards that now

applies to the Internet has been established from the 1973 Supreme Court's

decision in Miller v. California which ruled that "obscene" material is not

constitutionally protected.  The battle officially began, however, in 1996

when The Communication Decency Act (CDA) was established to protect children

from explicit material on the Internet.  It specifically intended to ban

transmission of obscene material on the Internet and wanted to make sure that

kids did not have access to "indecent" or "patently offensive" material.  The

penalty for this was to be two years of imprisonment and $250,000 fines

("Internet Filtering Software").  The response to the CDA was not liberating.

In 1997, The American Civil Liberties Union, a liberal public interest group

challenged the CDA, because they claimed that the law's language was vague

and would cause unneeded and unconstitutional censorship.  The court agreed.

Therefore, Congress decided to attempt a new Act.  In 1997, the Child

Pornography Protection Act (CPPA) which intended to outlaw "virtual child

pornography" or images that "are or appear to be, of a minor engaging...

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