Congressman Freaks Out About Second Life; Demands Ban In Schools
from the fear!-save-the-children!-be-afraid! dept
Just a few months after worrying about terrorists hiding in Second Life, now at least one Congressional representative is worried about how Second Life is corrupting your children. He’s trying to drum up support to ban Second Life from schools and libraries, hyping up the fact that “bad stuff” happens in Second Life and, gosh, we wouldn’t want kids to learn how to deal with bad stuff in an environment where they’re protected from any physical harm. It’ll be much better when they learn to deal with it out on the streets.
This is actually an attempt by Rep. Mark Kirk to reintroduce DOPA, the Deleting Online Predators Act. It was last introduced almost exactly two years ago (note the timing: right before Congressional election season…). Because very few politicians want to give an opening to challengers to their seats to put out an ad saying they voted against “protecting the children” last time around the law was quickly approved by the House by a massive 410 to 15 vote, at which point it moved on to the Senate to die (not having all Senators up for re-election at the same time has its benefits). Of the 15 dissenters to the original bill, Rep. John Dingell was the one who said what needed to be said (and which so few other Reps were willing to say):
“So now we are on the floor with a piece of legislation poorly thought out, with an abundance of surprises, which carries with it that curious smell of partisanship and panic, but which is not going to address the problems. This is a piece of legislation which is going to be notorious for its ineffectiveness and, of course, for its political benefits to some of the members hereabout.”
Yes, the law would effectively ban a ton of internet sites from schools and libraries, including ones like LinkedIn, Slashdot and Amazon.com, based on its overly broad language. On top of all that, study after study after study has shown that social networks and virtual worlds (despite the FUD) are not “breeding grounds” for predators. And, of course, parents are finally coming to terms with this and are no longer freaking out about kids using these sites. So, explain why we need such unnecessary and overly broad legislation again? Oh right, it’s election season…