I’m a big fan of ‘The Simpsons’ and in one episode there is a morally outraged female character who keeps screaming the expression ‘Will no one think about the children’ whenever something crops up.
I was reminded of this sort of ineffective moral indignation when I encountered this article in The Sunday Times about the suggested censorship of sites such as Bebo, MySpace and acebook.
Whilst I can see that there are posts and material that do require removing, I’m less convinced of the suggested ‘Remove within 24 hours of complaint’ approach. A concerted effort by a few hardliners in some of our less liberal religious and social movements would soon have the websites removing all sorts of material.
Nothing is mentioned of appeal processes, etc. and as many of tehse sites are based in the US there is the US Constitutional Issue of Free Speech, as enshrined in the 1st Amendment. The solution that I would adopt were I a US web site owner confronted by this sort of daft legislation from Nanny Brown’s Government would simply be to block access to the site form any UK based ISP.
And the comment about allowing children un-supervised use of the Internet not being like TV, but like letting your children play outside un-supervised is yet another issue. When I was a child, from the age of about 10 onwards I WAS allowed to roam locally, in daylight, unsupervised. Along with most other children of my generation. However, I was responsible enough to have earned the trust of my parents.
Perhaps a major thing for HMG to take away from the curent fetish with protecting our children is that responsibility and supervision begins and should, under normal circumstances, end with the parents. The state has no role unless things have gone very wrong; perhaps the fact that such studies are being commissioned indicates that several years of politically-correct nannying by this and previous Governments has generated a generation of parents who’re scared to actually be parents and state clearly to their children what is acceptable and what is unacceptable.