The Child Online Protection Act is before the supreme court. Basically COPA would make it a crime for commercial Web site operators to knowingly place material that is harmful to children within their unrestricted online reach.
It’s the material harmful to children line that interests/concerns me. They say harmful to children, but what they want is anything they just don’t really want their kids to see. I doubt any studies have been done showing damage to children by exposing them to porn. The subject is so sensitive there is no way you could get funding for a study. It’s just naturally assumed to be harmful. I’m not advocating porn for kids; I just remember my early experiences with porn. If my exposure harmed me in some way I’d like to know how.
My first encounter with porn was at the age of 5 or 6; I found a magazine in the ditch. It had a woman performing fellatio on a man. The man had a pained expression on his face and my thought was she was biting his dick. I don’t know if seeing this picture caused any harm or traumatized me, but if it did…..I got over it.
I think the things that really cause harm to a child’s psyche are things they experience and not pictures or things they’ve read.
This law is such a bad idea because there are so many things that are considered harmful to children. It’s open to a parents opinion as to what is harmful. Would downloading a violent video game be considered harmful? To some the parents…sure it would be. Exposing children to opposing religious beliefs, music with violent lyrics, or anything associated with Britney Spears (Britney is my personal fear for my kids, I believe it will cause brain damage) could be considered harmful to children. I can see a slew of pointless lawsuits suddenly having a basis in law coming from this legislation.
I believe kids aren’t the real reason for this law, I think the real reason is censorship and kids are a great excuse. All laws and rights go out the window when kids are involved. Free speech will probably end up taking a back seat to “protect children from harm”.
I will throw some of the blame on web sites that offer porn. They’ve gotten too carried away with making sure that anything you search for on the internet will come up with one of their sites listed in the results. It’s just damned annoying when you are looking for something and you get a ton of misleading hits that take you to porn sites.