Internet censorship1





Internet Censorship

There is a growing debate about censoring the internet. Some people think that the

internet is protected under the first ammendment and cannot be censored. Others think

that some of the material that is on the net needs to be filtered and regulated. The word

censorship is defined as examining any material and prohibiting what is objectionable,

according to Webster’s II dictionary. Censoring the internet is a violation of the first

ammendment rights of every citizen in the United States. There are two general truths

that some people feel are attitudes towards censoring the internet. The first is that very

few people admit to favoring it. The second is that no matter who you are, in a matter of

minutes spent surfing the net almost anyone can find something that they find to be

offensive. In fact, some web surfers feel that the truly inappropriate things are inspired

by one’s own religion. For example, the Nurenberg Files website showed pictures of

mangled fetuses with the photograph, name, and address of some abortion clinic doctors.

If someone were to kill one of the doctors then an ‘X’ was put over their picture. This

site may not harm a child, but it seems that the focus today is on what is inappropriate for

the child to see. What about the adults? A site like this “clearly acts to corrupt and

deprave the adults who take it seriously” (Brown 48).

Another reason for not censoring the internet is the psychological effects that it can

have on a child. The filtering of the internet can tell a child that adults do not trust them

to surf the net on their own. This can lead them to believe that they can not make their

own decisions, and that a computer determines what right and wrong is. These filters

also give off the impressions that the communities are unsafe and the school officials

have not got the know how to do their job. Many teachers try to teach their students

responsibility. This can be done in many ways, one of which is through the internet

policy in our schools. By not censoring the internet and trusting children to make the

right decisions they can get a boost of self-esteem that so many children need these days

(Nellen 53). The filtering devices can obstruct a teacher in their quest to teach their

students. For example, Ted Nellen wanted to use to obtain some information on the

AIDS virus to help him teach his class. He tried to get information of the internet at the

school he teaches at and found that to be impossible because the filtering devices that

were installed worked (Nellen 53).

Another question that needs to be asked is who are the people that are determining

whether a site should be filtered or not? Just because they find something offensive does

not mean that there is not some one out there who would find the site unoffensive. These

people can filter what is put on the internet, so what is stopping them from doing this sort

of thing in other areas of American culture. Filtering the internet is not the answer to the

problem. Children and adults should be educated on what is right and wrong on the

internet and not treated like they are criminals (Nellen 53).

The software that is available for the purpose of internet filtering and blocking has

been able to block out certain web sites, but the web is always changing and the software

is outdated so fast that censoring that way is not worth it. Another way to censor is to

leave it up to the internet server. Even they cannot keep up with the growing number of

sites and monitor each and every one. These undesirable sites are not easily found unless

a specific word is typed in as a search engine or if the web site is known. However, those

who are for censoring the internet all have the same argument, which is that the obscene

sites will cause some kind of unacceptable behavior that will lead to violence. They feel

the software is a good thing even though it becomes obselete within a short period of

time.

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