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Censorship of the Internet


The world is changing quickly, and the Internet is now an important part of our global culture. Not everyone is comfortable with these changes, and there has been a lot of talk about censoring the Internet, particularly when it comes to children and public libraries. As always, there is no shortage of people telling us what to think and what to do.

The Internet is showing us what happens when uncensored information flows freely. As a society, what adjustments are we going to have to make to live in an age of unrestricted information?

To help you understand these topics, here are some ideas and resources for you to explore:

Children's Safety on the Internet

Internet Safety for Kids
SmartParent
Parent's Guide to the Internet

Censorship on the Internet

Peacefire (anti-censorship)
Enough is Enough (pro-censorship)

Freedom on the Internet

ACLU Cyberliberties Web site
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Computers and Academic Freedom

U.S. Congress and Legislation

Children's Internet Protection Act
Safe Schools Internet Act of 1999

The Internet and Libraries

The Internet is bringing new challenges to our library system and our traditions of freedom.

There is a movement afoot to require all public libraries to censor information by using software "filters" that restrict Internet usage on computers within the library. For example, these filters are supposed to block pornography.

Legislation has been proposed that would require such restrictions on a national level. Librarians are strongly against this. However, influential people are rallying against the ALA (American Librarians Association).

For example, radio talk show host Laura Schlessinger has become highly anti-ALA. She has been taking time on her show to bash the ALA and tell people to pressure politicians to stop supporting libraries with public money until they agree to censorship.

In the meantime, the ALA, as well as many liberal observers, have come out strongly against any type of censorship in public libraries.

Here are some related Internet resources for you to explore:

ALA (American Library Association)
ALA Statement on Internet Filtering
Dr. Laura takes on ALA

Traditionally, only materials that were selected by librarians were allowed into a library. Now, for the first time, librarians are being called upon to be responsible for information over which they have no control.

Is this an important issue, or are conservative groups using it only to advance their political agenda? How much do parents and other adults really care about public Internet access in our libraries?

Our ever-changing world is presenting us with challenges that cannot be met with old customs and traditional ways of thinking. As we enter the twenty- first century, how should we deal with a new world in which massive amounts of uncensored information are widely available?

Don't let anyone tell you what to think. Inform yourself, and make up your own mind.