Thursday, May 11, 2006

COPA? How about DOPA?

Cnet reports that Congress is considering passing legislation called Deleting Online Predator Act or DOPA. This legislation would basically shut down access by minors to websites at all schools and libraries for social networking and blogging sites. This Myspace as scapegoat inspired legislation would be broad enough to nail all the sites kids use like Myspace, Facebook, Live Journal, Xanga etc. as well as sites like Blogger.

I expect that there will be a concerted effort by the fledgling industry that 10s of millions of kids are using to temper this a bit or at least make it reasonable. It smells a bit like election year over-reaching to me.

2 comments: said...

It seems that in the U.S people are really casual when it comes to issues related to protecting children.

I went to high school and college in the 80s. There was no Blogger, MySpace, Facebook or any other social networking site. Yet I've managed to do some great things and make a nice living for my family.

And that's why I think that restricting access to social networking sites in schools won't hurt kids a bit. And it may just protect them from internet predators.

Oliver Starr said...

PodcastNYC are you out of your mind? Do you have kids? Are you with them every single moment that they're in front of a computer? Does anyone think that the conversations that represent "dangerous interaction" are actually taking place inside the walls of educational facilities? How much time do kids in school have truly private and unrestricted access to computers anyway?

This is the kind of typical Neocon knee jerk reaction that makes me look like a felon for buying cold medicine and results in far more problems for the average person than it does obstacles for the criminal.

But hey, lets create legislation that's certain to further impede our contry's youths ability to interact and function in our increasingly virtually connected digital world. (At least while at school where they could be using these resources to (gasp) learn something rather than at home where mom and dad are wearing the hair of the back of their heads in their ringside recliners all while junior is wanking to some hot and buxom babe images supplied courtesy of his new online friend BroncoBob.

Yeah, preventing kids from accessing MySpace and FaceBook at school is really gonna protect them in a meaningful way. It might also protect them from applications that are in development such as social collaboration tool ClassFolders which is an educational social collaboration site in development by the same group that is rolling out Foldera (

What I'd really like to know is exactly how many minutes of private "MySpace time" the average kid in public school has each week? Does congress even know? Did they even bother to do one moment's analysis before slapping together this ridiculous proposed legislation that lets everyone feel better about how far they're willing to go to protect their kids just so long as they don't have to increase in any way whatsoever the amount of time or attention that they actually spend with their offspring.

Give me a break. All legislation like this is good for is bragging rights for some numb nuts politician (who probably either has no children of his or her own OR has at least one child that's in therapy or is clandestinely abusing drugs due to a lifetime of chronic neglect)but does nothing to actually impact the problem - which is not social networking web sites but is really a combiation of our inability to effectively manage our kids free time, educate them about the risks associated with anonymous interaction with adults, and most particularly our inability to identify and either incarcerate or treat the real villians in this case, the deranged individuals that are interested in having inappropriate sexual interactions with children.

But hey, let's crucify "Tom" from MySpace. That will solve the problem. Really. I promise.