Must Be Election Season... Politicians Desperate To Protect The Children

from the who-can-protect-the-children-more? dept

It's clearly getting towards election season. Our federal government, rather than getting anything important done, is focused on passing all sorts of laws "for the children." No one wants to vote against any such bill, because opponents will use it against them in campaigns. Meanwhile, it always looks good for politicians to talk about protecting children -- even if (1) it does no such thing and (2) it takes away rights from adults as well. In Congress today, a ton of new legislation was suggested... all for the sake of "the children." To be fair, it was mostly a brainstorming session, rather than actual legislation, but it gives you an idea what they're thinking. Many of the proposals involve spying on people and/or restricting aspects of free speech. The problem with both proposals is obvious. While the politicians defend spying on people by noting that those who are involved in questionable activities have no right to privacy, they seem to forget all the privacy the rest of us are giving up for that cause. As for censoring sites (or having search engines, ISPs or some new "search and destroy bots" censor sites for the government) the problem is the same one as always: who determines what's acceptable content and what's not? If the content itself is illegal, then the proper course of action is to go after whoever put the content online. Just because that may be difficult is no excuse for asking others to get involved in mandatory blocking of content (especially when ISP-based blocks tend to have a lot of collateral damage on shared hosting servers). We won't either bother discussing the problems with banning links to certain sites, such as gambling sites. Keeping children safe is a noble goal. However, kneejerk plans to overly protect children at the expense of everyone else don't help very much. They don't go after the root of the problem, and they don't encourage parents to actually teach their kids right from wrong and how to deal with confusing or dangerous situations. Update: In related news, it looks like the Senate doesn't want to be left out in the hysteria. Various Senators seem to be shoving each other aside to put forth a plan requiring websites to label themselves if they have sexually explicit material. Of course, as has been covered numerous times by numerous courts, mandatory labeling of content tends not to pass the First Amendment test. Also, it leaves open a very big question about what exactly qualifies for the label.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Jon, Jun 27th, 2006 @ 4:34pm

    "The Internet was not created for children, and I see no reason to hand it to them now." -Rotten.com

     

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  2.  
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    Sean, Jun 27th, 2006 @ 5:17pm

    Hmm

    I have to agree with what Mike said at the start, and in the title of the article, this isn't to "protect" the children, it's to get fucking publicity when the topic comes around so you can appeal to every over-protective parent in the fucking country to vote for you.

    Also yes, they should go start to teach the PARENTS what the fuck they should be doing. If you try and teach to kid when he's 12 he will just rebel against it when he's 16. But if you can bring some common sense to the kid when they're younger and teach them right from wrong then you can make them better when they're in their teens and starting to 'rebel' as they like to say.

    That's my two cents.

     

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  3.  
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    Drama2Sell, Jun 27th, 2006 @ 5:39pm

    Information Wants to be Free

    If there was ever a definition of "slippery slope"--this would be it.

    Once you start banning sites--any sites--you start a chain reaction that will lead to censorship for "the sake of the children".

    And lets face it, it's not for the "sake of the children" its for the the "sake of the lazy parent."

    If your concerned about your child seeing different viewpoints on the internet--unplug the freaking machine, buy net-nanny, or better yet monitor your kids activities and talk to them.

    But lets leave the government out of it, shall we?

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2006 @ 6:34pm

    Agree with Drama2Sell completely. This article also has some very valid points. Instead of new laws, lets enforce what we already have.

     

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  5.  
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    Alrighty Then, Jun 27th, 2006 @ 7:35pm

    For the sake of the children, can't you stop posting this crap about being for the children?

    Do it for the children!

     

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  6.  
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    Tyshaun, Jun 27th, 2006 @ 8:03pm

    web site ratings and nerf world...

    We have ratings for songs, TV, movies, and video games, how long before web sites have to have a rating?

    Oh well, welcome to nerf world, where we don't bother to teach our young to think, we must walk around and protect them from every possible thing that may cause them harm.

     

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  7.  
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    J.R., Jun 27th, 2006 @ 9:12pm

    I blame 9/11. This country's parents were already starting to get slightly over-protective when I was coming up, but the latest generation has become positively tweaked about the whole thing.

    I also blame the media for fear-mongering, politicians for buying into it and fanning the flames instead of calling for reason, and the parents themselves for not getting actual facts and honestly educating themselves.

    People wonder why I don't want to be a parent? I can't handle the stress of other parents flipping out at me every time my kid as an independent thought that wasn't homogenized or run through a politician-approved thought mill.

    I hated school, I hated most people and I hated most adults for exactly this kind of stupidity. I always felt like the adults were trying too hard to protect me when I was that age, without letting me discover the mistakes that can be made.

    With this inter-connected world comes an easier method of spreding truth, and more importantly lies. The internet is not meant for children, it was never meant to for what it's being used for, but it's being used by children and in the way it is. The only hope you have for making sure your kid is safe on the internet is to monitor them, and when you can't... trust that you educated them correctly.

    I deal with indolent, lazy, loud-mouthed and thoughtless parents on a daily basis. People who honestly believe that teaching kids what's wrong, but not why, and not explaining the shades is a good substitute for rational thought. This entire planet has come to a new level of stupidity that only the internet could have heralded.

    You know, SeaLab 2021 had a joke once:

    Teacher: Can anyone tell me what the internet was, and how it almost destroyed the world in 2007?

     

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  8.  
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    Adam, Jun 27th, 2006 @ 9:13pm

    Re: web site ratings and nerf world...

    I don't find ratings to be a problem. Hell, in the real world, parents tell their kids 'Don't touch the stove, it's hot.' Giving a little warning about what's on websites is fine with me. Just don't tell me that I can't go to whatever site I want. Label a movie R, sure. Label a movie R, and based on this say that it can't be shown? No way in hell. Say a game is rated M, fine. Decide that it's illegal to sell or rent M rated games? Screw you.

     

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  9.  
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    Scarker, Jun 27th, 2006 @ 9:20pm

    Oi Vey…

    I've got it! An answer to the problems of both government and lazy parent alike! How about we hand children over to the government to be raised. They seem to want to do it so much, and most parents seem to not want to do it, so it's perfect!

    This is where we will be in a few decades if this keeps going. Let's snap out of it, shall we? We're required to go to school, so we should be smart enough to think, right? What say you to anarchy? It seems more orderly and contained than what we've got now…

     

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  10.  
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    Sen. Shavingsback, Jun 28th, 2006 @ 9:38am

    My proposed legislation: The Leave no Child Unconcieved Act will make all forms of birth control, abortion, and masturbation illegal...effectively protecting all potential children from being not-born.

     

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  11.  
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    ebrke, Jun 28th, 2006 @ 10:08am

    Re: Hmm

    Some years ago, I heard an interestng viewpoint from a woman I knew. I don't know if it was her ethnic background (Chinese) or just a personal philosophy, but she felt that if you hadn't given your moral values to your children by the time they reached the age of 7 or 8, you'd failed as a parent.

     

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  12.  
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    Gabriel Tane, Jun 28th, 2006 @ 10:58am

    What really makes me sick

    ... is that we've missed a golden opportunity.

    As a "developed nation" who is, by and large, not impoverished, we should be so far above stupidity like this.

    It's been long-said that once a society has the technological means to rise above the menial day-to-day struggle for existence, they should then have more energy to devote to mental and spiritual development. Did I miss that? Did we try that and find that we didn't like it?

    We've taken this wonderful possibility for truly deep, long-sighted and enlightening thought and wasted it on material possession. And that's the root of the problems here.

    Yes, we need to protect those who aren't able to protect themselves. But why don't we start by helping then learn to protect themselves. Oh, wait, that would take time and energy... WHICH WE SHOULD HAVE IN ABUNDANCE!

    And it's that materialistic greed that's driving these politicians. They aren't serving their people. They aren't serving to better our society. They are serving their paycheck. When did a servant of the people lose sight of their duty? When it became a job instead of an appointment to be proud of. Fuck modern politicians. Fuck them all.

    I know that "we should do this..." statements don't really solve anything, but here we go...

    We should stop paying our politicians. The government should provide for them (housing, food, etc) and do so at a moderate level. Provide them enough to be comfortable. Does it sicken anyone else that these "servants of the people" make more than the ones that are teaching our youth? Which one's a more important role for our future? Why the hell does a politician need more things than anyone else? How does that $75k-plus car help you run our government? Fuck you all, you greedy, useless, self-serving bastards. Rarely have I ever wished for the death of another sentient being... but here's hoping you check out soon.

    And we wonder why other countries laugh at us when they're not busy asking us for aid or walking all over us like the pathetic door-mat we are? We're a fucking joke.

    Sorry for the high emotional level of this rant, but this is one that really gets under my skin.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2006 @ 8:22am

    Of course, as has been covered numerous times by numerous courts, mandatory labeling of content tends not to pass the First Amendment test.
    Not a problem. The US is at war. A probably never ending war. And constitutional protections don't apply in times of war. Simple.

     

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  14.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Jun 29th, 2006 @ 8:49am

    Re:

    "Not a problem. The US is at war. A probably never ending war. And constitutional protections don't apply in times of war. Simple."
    -Anonymous Coward

    I don't see how the war has anything to do with this and even politicians aren't going to try to stretch the war card that far. But what they will do is declare a war on violent media. Worked so well against drugs and terror.

     

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  15.  
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    Tim Perry, Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 3:03pm

    Re: Re:

    I hope you are being sarcastic because the war on terror and the war on drugs have actually had reverse effects. The war on terror has caused many people to be pissed of with the States (if they weren't already) and join terrorist groups. The war on drugs created a black market and now (counting for inflation) heroin, just as an example, is 500x cheaper then before the war on drugs. But people are making money off of it so they make up shit and claim that it is working.

     

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  16.  
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    Tim Perry, Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 3:35pm

    Re: What really makes me sick

    Well the reason we pay our politicians so much is because of who sets their salary. When you set your own salary you'll give yourself a raise whenever you have the chance.

    Teachers are the most underrated profession in the world, and that's what sad.

     

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  17.  
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    Tim Perry, Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 3:37pm

    Re:

    So I assume that you mean to make rape legal with that? hmmm...interesting.

    I assume of course that you are being sarcastic and I am simply joining in.

     

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