Thursday, July 1, 2010
The past year I have been working with the Online Safety and Technology Working Group that was commissioned by the U.S. Congress to report on the latest findings and recommendations about the safety of children while online. Many good things have come from the report, especially useful in the world of analysis and academia.
For parents however, the report says what we know: the Internet and technology are changing faster than we can keep up with and make rules for; children are so immersed in technology they hardly separate virtual from reality, and schools need to use technology that is available and educate children on digital citizenship.
Because the report is trying to be forward thinking, it does not address the issues that still are haunting and frustrated families and educators: explicit material being shoved into our homes, on our phones, and child's phones no matter how we try to stop it, and places of education that have become sexually charged environments due to the overwhelming amount of explicit content accessible by children on the Internet.
Parents, schools, the technology industry, and the government should realize that children accessing pornography intentionally and inadvertently most certainly continues to be a significant danger to our children online. Families, parents, and schools struggle to keep explicit content and all its consequences away from children.
It is true that this is not a new problem, or a fashionable one. But the fashionable ones like cyberbullying and sexting are often just consequences of children viewing, mimicking, sharing, and producing their own forms of pornography.
Until the technology industry and the government take serious action to empower parents and schools, children will be exposed to the harmful effects of pornography.
Arizona Family Council
Link to OSTWG report