Tuesday, May 16, 2006

21st Century Censorship? Your Tax Dollar$ at Work...

Hopping on the bandwagon...

Last week, Representative Fitzpatrick (R-PA) introduced: "H.R. 5319: To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to require recipients of universal
service support for schools and libraries to protect minors from commer-
cial social networking websites and chat rooms." (See the Library of Congress website)

This legislation proposes that anyone under 18 be prohibited from using school or library computers to access Web sites that create public "Web pages or profiles" and also offer a discussion board, chat room, or e-mail service.

While it seems that the target is websites like MySpace or Facebook, if passed, this could also prevent students from accessing blogging websites such as Blogger, LiveJournal and Xanga. At Stevenson, I know of several teachers and students that actively discuss educational topics outside of the classroom in this forum.

For instance, recently our AP Government teachers broadcasted an AP exam review "event" on Stevenson's local radio station. Students also "tuned into" the teachers' blog site, CitizenU.org, to post questions and discussions during the live radio show.

Can social networks be dangerous for students?
What are our responsibilities as educators?

There are several websites interested in your feedback, such as Technology & Learning magazine's TechLearning.com "Question of the Week" at:

Also Mobilize.org (Mobilizing America's Youth) has launched an "SOS" campaign: "Save Our Social Networks" -- see details at: http://www.mobilize.org/SOS

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