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Censorship of the Internet in Libraries - Essay Example

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As the paper outlines, the use of internet filters in public libraries is not a new phenomenon, however, it is a very contentious one. People on both sides are very vociferous about their views in this regard. It is very difficult to get everyone to agree to one viewpoint in this regard…
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Censorship of the Internet in Libraries
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Internet Filters Should be Installed in Public Libraries
The use of internet filters in public libraries is not a new phenomenon, however, it is a very contentious one. People on both sides are very vociferous about their views in this regard. It is quite clear that it is very difficult to get everyone to agree to one viewpoint in this regard. Those who oppose internet filters bring up First Amendment rights, as well as democratic principles in this regard. The Resolution on the Use of Filtering Software in Libraries has also been passed which also agrees with their contention. However, those who are in favor claim such filters help a lot in protecting children from harmful content available on the internet, therefore, they should be allowed. Living in times where terrorism is rampant and hate speech the norm, it is very important that children be protected from the unpleasant side to the internet. Internet filters should be installed in public library computers as their advantages far outweigh their disadvantages.
The opponents of internet filters say that it would impede their First Amendments Rights, but it is good to keep in mind that public libraries give internet access to children as well. Although this is a good service they provide, however, when children have unrestricted access to the internet it is all but natural that they, sometimes, end up visiting pornographic or other harmful websites. The children need to be protected in this regard. Children are protected by law from being exposed to harmful substances in real life as well, and it should not be different when it comes to the internet.
While those who oppose the installation of internet filters claim that these filters end up blocking even useful websites, based on their names or URLs, it is pertinent to note that the internet filters used today are not so simplistic as those of yore. Though they are far from perfect, however, they do have the option of unblocking certain websites that have been wrongly blocked. All that is needed would be for the user to complain about a useful site being banned, and the library staff can have it unblocked.
Some detractors also claim that the filters block all LGBT content, content that can be useful to a youngster who is confused about his gender identity. However, that matter is also very easily redressed: again, it is good to remember that modern internet filters are not as crude as their previous counterparts. They can be programmed not only to unblock sites, but they are also programmed not to block sites as mindlessly as they were doing in the past (for instance, just based on the letters “sex” in the URL). Therefore, this contention also does not hold ground.
All in all, in the interest of protecting children from harmful content, installing internet filters at public libraries is a very good idea. The library staff, along with involved community members, can work on implementing a set policy for these filters, ensuring that only harmful content is filtered out. This is the logical step to take in a bid to ensure that children are sheltered from harmful content.
Works Cited
“Don’t Filter Me.” American Civil Liberties Union. ACLU, 14 Feb. 2011. Web. 27 Feb. 2011.
“Library Filtering Introduction: History of Internet Filters and the Library.” Infopeople.org. Infopeople Project, n.d. Web. 26 Feb. 2011.
“Resolution on the Use of Filtering Software in Libraries.” ALA. American Library Association, n.d. Web. 26 Feb. 2011. Read More
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