Best way for politicians to pander to the Religious Right and much of middle America? Pass a law to protect kids!
It doesn’t matter if your law actually results in helping kids. It doesn’t matter if it actually results in harm to those some children. What counts is that you’re actually winning the hearts and votes of soccer moms all over the country.
More importantly, how could you ever vote AGAINST kids? You won’t support library filtering? You WANT our kids exposed to filth… with our taxes? Kiss goodbye to reelection.
A current example of this hypocritical frenzy is the congressional establishment of a new kids.us domain. No one has offered how this is supposed to work in practice, or even provided any evidence to suggest that it’s actually a good idea in the first place. But really, what congresscritter could afford to face attack ads claiming: “Senator Smith voted against protecting your children from pornography and gambling on the net”?
From a practical perspective, I can’t see how this new domain would be beneficial in any way.
Let’s say schools and libraries decided to limit kids to browsing ONLY sites in this domain. How could this possibly work for both a five year old and a twelve year old, with such vastly different capacities for absorbing and synthesizing info?
Even if such access restrictions were thrust upon only elementary school kids, what content would be designated as ‘kid-friendly’? In particularly what about such borderline resources as dictionaries (could be some bad words!), news sites (disturbing content), international pen pal forums (all those pedophiles!), and so on?
What incentive would companies have to even create and maintain content for this domain and this demographic, especially when such efforts would require extra work on top of existing .com (and .uk, .ca, etc.) sites?
What if ‘questionable content’ was found on a site in kids.us? Would the offending site be immediately removed? Could parents sue? Would there be criminal sanctions?
In a nutshell, then, the new domain is of questionable usefulness and has been ill-defined to say the least. I’m betting the Congress spent less than an hour studying the issue. After all, it’s for the kids! Who could say no?
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