What’s Wrong with DOPA

There are a lot of folks TALKING about DOPA but not many have read the bill. I want to go on the record and tell you exactly where I have issues. (I feel that I need to do this since CNN and TechCrunch have posted my blogging against DOPA!) Following is the actual text of the Bill and my comments.

Deleting Online Predators Act of 2006 (Engrossed as Agreed to or Passed by House)

109th CONGRESS
2d Session

H. R. 5319

AN ACT

To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to require recipients of universal service support for schools and libraries to protect minors from commercial social networking websites and chat rooms.

Acceptable Use policies handle many of these issues.

Currently, schools have Acceptable Use policies which detail how they expect school computers to be used. This includes instructions that school computers are not to be used for pornography, commercial enterprise, etc. Every school that I am aware of blocks Instant Messaging, Myspace, Xanga, and Facebook.

What will be blocked?
This COULD extend blocking to other commercial social networking websites and chat rooms including:

Blogs – I collaborate on a supportblogging wiki is that is a great resource for educational blogs. All commercial blogs such as blogger (which I use) and wordpress will probably be blocked. Many of the great educational blogs listed on supportblogging will also be blocked.

Wikis – Wikispaces and PB Wiki (Websites used to build educational wikis such as my Westwood Classroom wiki), Although schools have the ability to create internal wikis for their students to use, these: 1) Cost a significant amount of time and potential money to set up (although the software is open source) and 2) Can not be accessed from home. (One note despit what some think, Wikipedia MAY not fall under this since it is non-profit.)

Many other great resources – The SEGA Tech folks have compiled a list of websites that would be blocked which include: the Jason Project Online (real time science website that allows students to chat with scientists), Google Pages (easy free way to set up web pages), Web CT, Blackboard, Moodle, Google Talk (a free chat that many schools use to give teachers their phone messages), many aspects of Google Earth, and probably the Georgia Virtual School and other virtual schools that are being implemented nationwide.

The Have-Nots will have nothing

You'll notice that many things that will be blocked are the free tools. What will result is that the “haves” will have the resources to set up internal systems, the “have-nots” will have nothing.

HR 5319 EH

109th CONGRESS
2d Session

H. R. 5319


AN ACT

To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to require recipients of universal service support for schools and libraries to protect minors from commercial social networking websites and chat rooms.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the `Deleting Online Predators Act of 2006′.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    The Congress finds that–
      (1) sexual predators approach minors on the Internet using chat rooms and social networking websites, and, according to the United States Attorney General, one in five children has been approached sexually on the Internet;
      (2) sexual predators can use these chat rooms and websites to locate, learn about, befriend, and eventually prey on children by engaging them in sexually explicit conversations, asking for photographs, and attempting to lure children into a face to face meeting; and
      (3) with the explosive growth of trendy chat rooms and social networking websites, it is becoming more and more difficult to monitor and protect minors from those with devious intentions, particularly when children are away from parental supervision.

    Parents aren't supervising kids AT HOME!

    Sexual predators are a problem. However, none of these studies show WHERE children are when they are experiencing the predatory behavior, my guess is most of them are at home! Every school I know of blocks myspace!

    Unfortunately, parents do not supervise their children! They are less educated about online websites and do not even know how to find their child's myspace account. I have spent time teaching parents how to supervise their children on myspace and am writing a book that includes that as a cornerstone.

    Predators go where kids are unsupervised

    Predators congregate where supervision is absent. When I was growing up, it was the mall! The mall was not an evil place, but it was used for evil because parents and responsible adults did not go there.

    Likewise, myspace is not inherently evil. It is inherently unsupervised! Parents need to be involved. Teachers need to be involved. Massive education efforts of parents, teachers, and students need to happen. Instead, we are burying our head in the sand and hoping the problem goes away!

    Is trendy bad?

    I find great offense at the word “trendy” here. I can picture an adult looking at their nose saying “tsk tsk” at these teenagers! Teenagers used to congregate at the hamburger stand or the mall or other places. Now, they congregate online. No amount of legislation is going to change that. We can teach them effective, ethical online interaction skills or not.

    These “trendy” chatrooms, wikis, and blogs are also amazing tools that are helping multinational businesses cooperate. They are an essential backbone the globalization of business. Everywhere we are emphasizing the need to collaborate, cooperate, and eliminate duplicate services. The most valuable collaboration tools in the history of mankind must be taught to our children but through this act, the vast majority of Americans will be ignorant by design.

    We protect children through education, not through ignorance!

    SEC. 3. CERTIFICATIONS TO INCLUDE PROTECTIONS AGAINST COMMERCIAL SOCIAL NETWORKING WEBSITES AND CHAT ROOMS.

      (a) Certification by Schools- Section 254(h)(5)(B) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 254(h)(5)(B)) is amended by striking clause (i) and inserting the following:
            `(i) is enforcing a policy of Internet safety for minors that includes monitoring the online activities of minors and the operation of a technology protection measure with respect to any of its computers with Internet access that–
              `(I) protects against access through such computers to visual depictions that are–

    `(aa) obscene;

    `(bb) child pornography; or

    `(cc) harmful to minors; and

              `(II) protects against access to a commercial social networking website or chat room unless used for an educational purpose with adult supervision; and'.


    Blocking is happening now!

    Yes, we must block obscene pictures, child pornography, and things harmful to minors. Who would disagree with that?

    I have found, however, that the most difficult thing to block is Google image search. My students are under a strict rule that if they see anything, they are to report it immediately to me. I will then go and block it if possible. I think pornography is terrible.

    Educate kids on the harm of pornography
    I find, however, that educating students about the harm of pornography and the consequences will help them resist it. Unfortunately, if kids want to see pornography, all they have to do is turn on the TV. I'm not sure why Congress is so intent on targeting the Internet when such a poor job is being done on television.

    Yes, block pornography! Yes, block social websites! Yes, block tools that do not educate but only serve to distract!

    I believe, however, that any time you take power out of the hands of local educators that you serve to weaken them. The conduit of communications in the 21st century is the Internet.

    Students must learn how to be responsible, competent net citizens who can protect their privacy and safety, and that of those they will be responsible for as adults.

    Learn from the Middle Ages

    In the Middle Ages, when those in charge did not like the content of books, they had a similar strategy. They had massive bonfires and burned everything! We lost many great works of prehistory and progress was stalled until educators moved forward with reading and education. That is why it was called the Dark Ages.

    We obviously have not learned much. We are simply “throwing the baby out with the bathwater.”

    Predators cannot be deleted

    Predators are not something you can press a key and delete! They are there and trust me, they are happy! Happy to have more children online at midnight after the parents have gone to bed. They are happy to have children who are not being taught about online predators. They are happy to have less supervision. They have more victims!

    Education prevents victims

    I am not FOR predators. I am avidly, vehemently against predators. I am FOR education as the only medium for preventing victims!

    Define “adult supervision”

    The words “adult supervision” concern me. To an uneducated offline world, adult supervision means that an educator is “looking over the shoulder” of every student as they post and work. This is unrealistic and impractical.

    RSS is better than “over the shoulder” but who will comprehend it?

    Harnessing the power of the new Internet, I use RSS feeds to monitor every wiki entry and every blog entry made by my students both at school and any of their personal blogs that they tell me about. I am watching!

    I seriously doubt that lawmakers, commissioners responsible for enforcement, or educators understand RSS and will resort to an “over the shoulder” methodology and a “zero tolerance for mistakes” that will totally shut down Internet-based teaching!

    Internet education doesn't mean goof off education!

    It is a misunderstand to think that educators who use the Internet to teach are creating “goof off” kids. Just look at Darren Kuropatwa‘s math classes or Clarence Fisher's class. These insightful educators are doing amazing things.

    I graduated first in my class from Georgia Tech and use a college level textbook to teach Computer Science. I don't say this to brag but to say that I believe in a great, tough education! Just look at my school wiki and see if you see any “slack” in there. You won't!

    Parents and Teachers raise kids

    Yes, I advocate supervision of children online by parents AND teachers. But just having parents do it is not enough! As their teacher, I need to be involved in the process of educating parents and students!

    I am going to proactively help students “clean up” their myspace account so that they will not limit their scholarships and job hunting. With a significant number of employers Googling their prospects, students need to know that what they create online has significant consequences. I will teach it, but many kids are going to be ignorant in public school classrooms.

        (b) Certification by Libraries- Section 254(h)(6)(B) of such Act (47 U.S.C. 254(h)(6)(B)) is amended by striking clause (i) and inserting the following:
              `(i) is enforcing a policy of Internet safety that includes the operation of a technology protection measure with respect to any of its computers with Internet access that–
                `(I) protects against access through such computers to visual depictions that are–

      `(aa) obscene;

      `(bb) child pornography; or

      `(cc) harmful to minors; and

                `(II) protects against access by minors without parental authorization to a commercial social networking website or chat room, and informs parents that sexual predators can use these websites and chat rooms to prey on children; and'.

      I agree with parent authorization in libraries

      Yes, parents need to authorize access to commercial social networking sites. This is great! If I don't want my child on myspace, I don't want them on it at school or the library. I should be asked and give my consent. I agree!

      We need parent authorization in schools

      I also think schools should require consent for activities at school. If I don't want my child on myspace, I don't want an “over the shoulder” teacher to set them up without my knowledge.

      What is missing? We are informing parents about sexual predators.

      Who is informing students? We are teaching explicit sex in the schools and we can't teach kids how to protect themselves from online predators? We can't teach them that most people in kid chat rooms AREN'T kids? We need STUDENT education! I don't see it!

        (c) Definitions- Section 254(h)(7) is amended by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

            `(J) COMMERCIAL SOCIAL NETWORKING WEBSITES; CHAT ROOMS- Within 120 days after the date of enactment of the Deleting Online Predators Act of 2006, the Commission shall by rule define the terms `social networking website' and `chat room' for purposes of this subsection. In determining the definition of a social networking website, the Commission shall take into consideration the extent to which a website–
              `(i) is offered by a commercial entity;
              `(ii) permits registered users to create an on-line profile that includes detailed personal information;
              `(iii) permits registered users to create an on-line journal and share such a journal with other users;
              `(iv) elicits highly-personalized information from users; and
              `(v) enables communication among users.'.

      “The Commission” will decide what websites should be used in education.

      The commission will have to sort through all of the websites out there and determine their benefit. As an entrepreneur, when did the fact that something makes money limit it from being a good thing? Competition and profit have driven our economy! Students should be taught about how to create profiles that do not reveal private information.

      How many members of “the Commission” are qualified educators who understand best practices, core competencies, and emerging technologies?

      Profile Building

      A profile can be nebulous or specific, it is user driven NOT site driven. To prevent children from sharing private information, we should again educate them. I love Think.com a free website done as a service of Oracle. It has the best tools for profanity filtration and privacy flagging I've ever seen.

      Will it be blocked because Oracle makes money? I have seen amazing writing since I have introduced my students to blogging! The possibility of an audience produces amazing works. The interaction fuels excitement. It can be done well, but public school teachers will not have a choice!

      Here's a laptop but don't use it!

      What about all of the laptop schools that use many of the online textbook resources? Whole curriculums could go down the drain. Will the Commission look at every school?

      Behemoth blocking database is in our future

      The maelstrom of subjective analysis that will be required is going to be impossible. I can only guess that it will result in an online behemoth of a database that feeds the blocking program of all public schools and libraries. I see no money to pay for such a thing and the massive server farm that it would require.

      This is not quite as easy as it sounds. It sounds a lot like the centralized Chinese censorship that many Americans have opposed. Very expensive. Very difficult to do. Very communist.

      (d) Disabling During Adult or Educational Use- Section 254(h)(5)(D) of such Act is amended-

          (1) by inserting `OR EDUCATIONAL' after `DURING ADULT' in the heading; and
          (2) by inserting before the period at the end the following: `or during use by an adult or by minors with adult supervision to enable access for educational purposes pursuant to subparagraph (B)(i)(II)' .

      SEC. 4. FTC CONSUMER ALERT ON INTERNET DANGERS TO CHILDREN.

        (a) Information Regarding Child Predators and the Internet- Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Federal Trade Commission shall–
          (1) issue a consumer alert regarding the potential dangers to children of Internet child predators, including the potential danger of commercial social networking websites and chat rooms through which personal information about child users of such websites may be accessed by child predators; and
          (2) establish a website to serve as a resource for information for parents, teachers and school administrators, and others regarding the potential dangers posed by the use of the Internet by children, including information about commercial social networking websites and chat rooms through which personal information about child users of such websites may be accessed by child predators.
        (b) Commercial Social Networking Websites- For purposes of the requirements under subsection (a), the terms `commercial social networking website' and `chat room' have the meanings given such terms pursuant to section 254(h)(7)(J) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 254(h)(7)(J)), as amended by this Act.

      Passed the House of Representatives July 26, 2006.

      Section 4 is a winner!

      I really like section 4 and the idea of a website. That is a great start!

      What is not included in this legislation:

      • Education of children about privacy and online safety
      • Education of parents about how to supervise their children online
      • Opportunities for students to use social networking to further their education
      • Opportunities for commercial businesses to provide needed conduits for education (How about a myspace for education with profanity filters, and privacy blockers?) It would make a lot of sense financially.
      • Education of students on Internet teamwork skills.
      • Opportunities for American students to interact in global projects using existing websites
      • Funding for implementation
      • Funding for schools to set up internal wikis and blogs for teaching
      • An online mechanism for reporting predators that kids and adults can used.
      • Steeper penalties for online predatory behavior.
      • More law enforcement resources to handle the problem.

      Good concept, poor implementation

      As you can see, I agree in concept, just not in implementation.

      We'd never stop farming because we had bugs

      I grew up on a farm. Every year we battled bugs and fungus so that we could have a good crop. We never considered not planting in our field because of the bugs and fungus. We took steps to fight them, but it was part of producing a crop.

      Likewise, as we progress to an Internet world, we will have bugs and fungus. We must aggressively take steps against these predators, identity thieves, and unscrupulous business people, but that is part of producing a crop of well educated, Internet savvy children.

      Doing the wrong thing
      Congress needs to do something! But doing the wrong thing is worse than doing something when it will create more victims. Educators are already firing up to teach children, give them the tools, responsibility, mission and resources. Don't keep them from doing their job!

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      20 thoughts on “What’s Wrong with DOPA

      1. Wow, you were cited by CNN? That’s pretty nifty.

        Seriously, this is a great comprehensive post. You should make an executive summary for it and encourage people to send it to their senators.

      2. Vicki – I was directed to your post by a friend, and I am so happy I followed his advice.

        Thank you for your comprehensive and thoughtful look at DOPA. If only our representatives in the House had given the topic as much thought.

        I also enjoyed reading your student’s views on DOPA. How ironic that the very students this legislation is meant to protect have a much better understanding on how to reach the desired result!

      3. Vicki – I was directed to your post by a friend, and I am so happy I followed his advice.

        Thank you for your comprehensive and thoughtful look at DOPA. If only our representatives in the House had given the topic this much reflection.

        I also enjoyed reading your student’s views on the subject. How ironic that the very students this legislation is meant to protect have a keener understanding on how to actually reach the desired result!

        Bravo on the great work!

      4. Robert-
        I am working on a letter to my Senator. Thanks for the suggestion, I’ll post it.

        Maplemama –
        Thank you for the compliment. My students are who have turned me into a complete advocate for these new technologies. The use of these technologies pushed my 10th graders past what many college students learn in computer science. I hope more people read up on this legislation.

        Thanks Liz-
        You are always and encourager and a great blogger!

      5. Vicki,
        Was directed to you blog via TechCrunch. Very informative and I agree whole heartedly re: education is the best form of protecting the innocent.
        Unfortunately, I think John Howard (our PM) will follow US policy quite soon.

        Jason
        Sydney, Australia

      6. I respect your views, however I was surprised and disappointed that the vote was 410-15. Many of those who oppose DOPA do so because they believe that children should be educated and not restricted. I agree that they should be educated, but let us face it, not all parents do their job and the parents who are doing their job are left with schools and libraries that are not doing their job.

        I can not speak on behalf of the US, but I know that surprisingly some Canadian public libraries and schools do not monitor children’s internet access nor do they have filters in place. We were all teens once. I keep hearing the same comments. “Parents do your job.” Well I ask you this, “How many of you rebelled against your parents?”

        No matter how much we take care of our children and educate them, it only takes them making one unhealthy choice to put them at risk. You can educate your child untill you are all blue in the face. The truth is that children don’t often think of the consequences of unhealthy choices. If DOPA will save just one child, don’t you think the bill is worth it?

        I do want to add that while I support the bill, I do think that the legislation should be rewritten so it does not block sites such as Yahoo and Google. I think they need to better determine what sites will be blocked before passing the law.

        These are just my thoughts!

      7. Rose-

        I am not advocating that NOTHING be done, however, but this legislation is not about just blocking myspace, it is about trying to weigh and count websites that are as numerous as sands on the sea shore.

        Yes, libraries and schools SHOULD have filtration in place. I will tell you as one that runs a filter, that no filter is 100% and I must be vigilant and monitoring what my students are doing.

        However, we are ignoring the realities that over 90% of teens are on the Internet more than once a week. We are ignoring the realities that teens WILL communicate in this method. We are ignoring the fact that we must spend our efforts on education and not legislation.

        You’ll see my proposals at the end of the post.

        As for helping one child, what if we help one child and harm thousands. It is my resolute belief from working with children daily that is what will happen.

        Many supporters of DOPA play the card that those of us who are against it “don’t love children.” I love children enough to know that teens respond not to restriction but to education. Tell them they can’t and they will!

        If adults think they can block the tech savvy generation from doing anything, they are uneducated. The only response is to educate the tech savvy generation!

        We must require libraries and schools to filter, yes. Unfortunately, there are always parents who don’t do their job and this law does nothing about that!

      8. Vicki,
        I invite you to place the Flash applet I created into the sidebar of your blog. This applet allows users to enter their name, city, and state and send a preformatted email to their state Senators. If users would like to edit the body text of the email that capability is there as well. We need to make every effort to have Senators hear our voices and concerns about DOPA before it is too late. Information on how you can include the applet can be found at http://bumpontheblog.etowns.net/?p=73. If you would like to see the button in action, simply visit the home page of my blog.

        Brian Grenier
        http://bumpontheblog.etowns.net

      9. Vicki, educate them? You can educate your child untill you are all blue in the face. The truth is that children don’t often think of the consequences of unhealthy choices. I speak from personal experience and believe me I educated my children.

        But as a parents it’s not just important to know what they are doing at home, but at school too.

        It was shocking to learn that my sixteen year old daughter (15 at the time) was able to use the computer at school unsupervised and like Suzanne Stanford,(internet safety coach who is helping to protect children and organizations from the dangers of the internet) I too learned that my daughter had an online identity.

        While she may not have been on networking sites such as MySpace, she was using the internet at school to communicate with friends.

        I can guarantee that it doesn’t matter how much you talk to them about the dangers and risk of internet safety, they’ll ignore the warnings. “It won’t happen to me,” is a myth. When a child posts personal information and a photo about themselves on a network site it has now made them a target for predators who are searching for the next child victim.

        Should children really be using these websites in Class unsupervised? Should my daughter of been allowed to set up a hotmail account, and add her friends etc without my knowledge when as a parent I supervise her at home? I’m all for education and I believe that computers play an important role in their education. We need technology in every classroom and in every student and teacher’s hand, but what we don’t need is children accessing the net with no supervision at all.

        How many children under 14 have already violated the MySpace terms of service? Children should not have unsupervised access to the internet. There are just too many opportunities for inappropriate interactions. MySpace does not belong in the classroom. Again that is just my opinion.

        As to your comment about my website being blocked, I hope that my website is blocked by all public schools and libraries and most of my readership are adults reading my blog from the comfort of their own home!

        I did have one teen who used my blog for education purposes but she did so at home, supervised!

        If my blog was blocked from school computers my son would not of been able to surf my blog unsupervised when he should of been using the computer lab for his class assignment and his assignment sure did not involve showing his friends Mommy’s blog.

        Research also suggests that 50 per cent of youth have received unwanted sexual comments online, and that 25 per cent have been asked by someone they knew only online, to meet in person.

        Vicki, I was also under the understanding from an article on mtv.com the proposed bill would allow the filter to be turned off for educational purposes by adults or minors visiting the sites under adult supervision.

        You said, “Unfortunately, there are always parents who don’t do their job and this law does nothing about that!’ Well Vicki, Unfortunately, there are always teachers who don’t do their job and this law does nothing about that!

      10. Rose-

        I am not advocating no filters at the local level. I invest several thousand dollars a year in a firewall. Schools without content filtration are doing a disservice to their students. Teachers who do not supervise their students are also doing a disservice.

        I agree that all schools and all libraries should employ filtration. I am opposed to centralized filtration because it interferes with curriculum at the local level.

        I also agree that parents should give permission for the activities that will take place at school.

        Rose, I firmly believe that you and I are both advocates for parent involvement and supervision. As an educator and a parent I believe that centralized filtration is the wrong way to go about this.

        I believe that education of parents, education of students, guidelines and requirements for local filtration, and adequate supervision of children and teens are the way to do this.

        If you read my post above, you will see my concerns for adult supervision.

        I agree that we must take action to protect children from myspace predators.

        Let me ask you this question, what mechanism is in place for children to report predatory advances on myspace.

        As for my students at school, I teach at a private school so we will continue to use our educational wiki on wikispaces, we will continue to access math and english blogs available on blogger.com and we will continue to interact with children around the world under my very careful supervision.

        We will also unblock myspace for a week and “clean up” their myspace accounts as I teach them about the dire consequences that inappropriate material can have on their scholarship and job hunting possibilities and we will do this with parent supervision.

        I am an absolute fanatic about protecting children and teens. I am also a fanatic about doing things that work and not spinning our wheels in misguided directions that will waste taxpayer money and hurt education.

        I would never advocate lack of adult supervision. However, most people do not understand how I supervise all of my class activities using RSS. I doubt the commission will which will leave teachers looking at every screen before the kids hit the submit button. That is unrealistic and will result in teachers avoiding new technologies altogether.

        Are you forgetting that most students are accessing myspace from home?

        Great intent, Rose, but this act, which will probably pass, lacks the real world application to make a lot of difference!

      11. Vicki, I have noticed that you and I are both advocates for parent involvement and supervision. I also admire you in taking the role and responsibility of supervising and educating the children in your care, but just as there are parents not doing their job, there are educators not doing theirs. What about those children? What about the children unsupervised at school? I’m not sure what mechanisms are in place for children to report predatory advances on MySpace and to be honest I don’t believe that many children would report them. Children are easily manipulated and alone children become vulnerable. I’m not forgetting that most children access MySpace from home and in all honesty I don’t believe children belong on MySpace, but that is another subject of discussion.

        I see that you and I agree on many things, but disagree on the ways to solve the growing problem and that’s ok too. I have already said that before DOPA is passed, if passed it needs to return to the drawing board and the issues that you have pointed out needs to be addressed.

      12. Rose-

        I think Congress should require filtration. It should be decentralized, local filtration and it can be audite by the FTC. A behemoth massive database will create more problems than it will solve.

        If local educators don’t provide adequate filtration, THEN allow the FTC to impose their filter.

        Require schools to have acceptable use policies and full disclosure to parents.

        Take disciplinary action against lax teachers and libraries who are not doing their job.

        This is a people problem not a computer problem. Thank you for understanding my intents.

        Brian –
        I’ve posted your comment and will take a look at the applet. I am in the throes of preparing for the new school year so it may take me a day or two.

      13. I want to make a comment here about the constant use of “libraries” being lumped in with “schools”. Most people do not realize that the public school and the public library have two very different legal functions and serve two very different groups. Legally, the public school agrees to treat the children who attend it as if it were a parent. As a parent, I agree that my child should be shielded from adverse elements and would expect the school to do so. On the other hand, the public library does not have that legal requirement and serves ALL the public whether they are old, young, middling or anything else. Children are legally required to go to school. The library is a personal choice. The public library also has a commitment to serve ALL people, not just Christian or Asian or poka dotted vegetarians. The public libraries’ strength is in serving all and providing all points of view, not just one. And, surprisingly, not all public libraries are supported with tax money although those poka dotted vegetarians also pay taxes. With that said, I do agree that the parent of anyone under 18 who comes to a public library should have the right to restrict their child from the internet. At our public library, PARENTS must be sitting with any child in elementary school or younger who is on the internet. When a child enters 7th Grade, the parent is given an option to sign a form which allows their child to be on the Internet alone. If the parent doesn’t sign, they don’t get on. Please, don’t enact faulty federal legislation and take away local control from the local public libraries.

      14. Let’s review. You want legislation that provides for:

        # Education of children about privacy and online safety (No, you don’t want centralized decision-making. You said so yourself.)
        # Education of parents about how to supervise their children online (How, exactly, would you want Congress to pass legsliating mandating education for parents?)
        # Opportunities for students to use social networking to further their education (Wait, you already said you wanted to filter social networking sites. It seems like you’re contradicting yourself here. Maybe it has to do with all those sites that you’re so scared “could” be banned. This is fear-mongering. You’re declaring an end to the entire internet based on fears of what “could” happen. Sorry, I’m not interested in fear-mongering.)
        # Opportunities for commercial businesses to provide needed conduits for education (How about a myspace for education with profanity filters, and privacy blockers?) It would make a lot of sense financially. (Children got educated just fine before there was internet. I think they’ll be fine with a filtered internet.)
        # Education of students on Internet teamwork skills. (Again, you wanted these decisions left up to the educator. Why do you complain that it is so?)
        # Opportunities for American students to interact in global projects using existing websites (They have opportunities. DOPA does not preclude this. DOPA has no effect on this at all, except in some mythical alternate reality where your worst fears that the entire internet has now been banned by Congress. This is rather silly, isn’t it?)
        # Funding for implementation (Ah, you want more money!)
        # Funding for schools to set up internal wikis and blogs for teaching (Even more money!)
        # An online mechanism for reporting predators that kids and adults can used [sic]. (It’s called Cybertipline.)
        # Steeper penalties for online predatory behavior. (They actually just passed this. Good suggestion though!)
        # More law enforcement resources to handle the problem. (Again, just passed. Any more objections?)

      15. OK, John,

        A few things. First of all, I tend to vote Republican (although I vote for the candidate) and I am a private school teacher so any additional funding wouldn’t affect me, I’m on my own anyway. And I’m very conservative, so the implications of liberal “spending” won’t stick if you throw them in my direction.

        This is not a partisan issue and I don’t play the partisan game anyway, I am an issues person.

        We need to protect children and I have outlined what I would do. I am sick of issues becoming “left” or “right” issues, how about doing things the correct or incorrect way?

        1) If Congress could pass educational mandates for schools of any kind, it could also require online educational opportunities be provided to parents at PTO’s or through libraries. How about stop smoking campaigns and other advertising programs?

        Perhaps I have an opinion on this because I provide it as a service for parents now. But again, I am at a private school so I have to do it because it is the right thing, not because I have funding.

        The fact is that research shows that non-technically savvy parents are not employing filters in the homes. The homes is where children are falling prey, NOT at school.

        I am from a technical background and I want the facts. The FACT is that Congressmen and Senators are talking about protecting children in the home and are responding by blocking myspace at SCHOOL. This makes no sense whatsoever.

        2) I have a business background and what is direly needed by global American business is Internet cooperation and teamwork skills.

        My husband works for a multinational company and works with people in China, India, and the Czech republic on a daily basis. He is attempting to use MS project to coordinate things but most people do not understand nor comprehend collaboration.

        In order to make businesses increasingly profitable in this country, it is essential that we teach online collaboration to our children. We must teach them to disagree in meaningful ways and without using putdowns (a lesson you need to learn, I think.)

        We must teach them the ethics of collaborative computing. Talk about costing money, the PROBLEM is the blocking of FREE educational sites by Congress they just want to block myspace. I don’t advocate having to set up internal servers, I in fact was thinking that is ludicrous but that is what this bill would cause to happen. THIS BILL WILL COST MONEY!

        As a person with Republican leanings, I HATE WASTED GOVERNMENT SPENDING. I hate the thought of a behemoth database that will cost a fortune. THIS BILL IS GOING TO COST A FORTUNE BUT DOESN’T ACKNOWLEDGE THAT.

        For some reason, I don’t think you really read my post. I think you just picked out my points on spending without understanding that I was stating how this bill was going to cost money.

        MONEY MONEY MONEY! Yes, that is what DOPA will require to make happen. There are other, far less expensive ways to protect our children that could stimulate business and protect children.

        Unfortunately, I think you are so intent on picking a fight with a left wing educator (not me, sir) that you’re not reading a balanced discussion on what I truly think will and won’t work about this bill.

        I’m sorry I wasn’t aware of the other things that passed. I am glad that they have passed and that is great(I would love the hyperlinks, by the way so I can share them with my readers.)

        And as a teacher, you really need to work on not alienating people and trying to make them feel stupid, its not a good way to live your life. I work with my students to prevent this behavior.

        So, I’m done with my windy response. I disagree with the left that DOPA is a ploy of the right. I disagree with the right that those against DOPA are left- partisan people with a hidden agenda.

        I liked working for Senator Nunn because he wasn’t partisan, he was a people-man. He took issues and weighed them by what he was right and wrong. Sadly, that is a characteristic sorely lacking in many politicians today.

        No one is right all of the time, and no one is wrong all of the time. We all have opinions and when we put our heads together we usually come up with a better solution than if one group made all of the decisions. That is the fact. That is democracy.

        I think that the current DOPA bill could be changed in some realistic ways that would help education and not harm it in such a significant way. I think the best answer is to NOT pass DOPA because it will cost too much money.

        The fact is, my private school classroom will not change. My students will learn Myspace protection, privacy, and safety skills. If your child goes to public school, they will not if DOPA passes. If you don’t know how to protect them online, too bad, no one will tell you.

        Ignorance breeds victims.

      16. Ms. Davis,
        Excellent discussion (both practical and philosophical) and I am glad John posted his comments so your response could help those harboring the opinion that this is a partisan issue. It’s a lot more complex than that. All education resource issues are more complex than “liberal vs. conservative”.

        I’m a fifth grade public school teacher. A career changer from the high-tech industry I, like you, feel compelled to teach technique and good sense about collaboration and technology.

        There’s more of my comment on the comments below, but an important reason for responding tonight is to ask:

        Where I can research further — and discuss experiences about — the intricacies of upper elementary classroom blogging? One good source is Miguel Guhlin’s work. James Farmer has interesting things to say. Do you know others?

        I am well-versed in networking and the client-side applications. I have been part of collaboration in industry settings, and participated in internet startups and internet-related services. What I’d like to explore with other teachers are challenging tasks that we think support our curriculum AND require the special collaboration of the blog/wiki space. Even if that space is no wider than our room it will benefit my students. I hope to connect closely with one particular fifth grade in another state headed by a teacher friend. I am trying to involve my families and my community, too, because like you I worry about fear-mongering on the myspace issue. The way collaboration-space permissions and best choices of education tasks interrelate must differ in various blog interfaces. I could learn from others and, perhaps, they, too, from my sharing.

        As some one with my own family and life I have limits, too. This is my third year of teaching and first at this grade level so I am climbing steep learning curves in everything EXCEPT the technology.

        I wish more of my students had access to computers at home; about one-third can get on the internet at home — sometimes. Their households usually have one CPU on dial-up. Your comment about tech savvy applies here. When I ask I find that everyone has an admin account if the OS is WinXP and some parents are working so hard they are not home until after the kids are in bed. (Yikes!)

        There is nothing truly substantive in our state curriculum about collaboration and technology is not “tested” so we are nearly ignoring it. We have a blog (WordPress) and I try to fit in training on its interface so the students can use it for practice in writing, peer editing, group work. I have to feel my way on my own as I’m the only one doing this at my school.

        This thread has made it clear I have to add more adult/family help to the blogroll and actively promote its use. We could have a Math night and a Internet night. My students could be the presenters in some of that! I also love the idea of my own use of RSS for moderation trigger although I moderate everything now through e-mail or notification inside the WP interface.

        Like you, I use personal time and money to further this goal. The state has not helped except provide the internet line to the classroom (which IS filtered.) I scrounged old Win98se and two prized WinXP computers from the community and string my own cat-5 cable. So I have to keep these running. I bought the router, etc., and a tabletPC plus my own projector. We’re experimenting with on-screen real-time learning on the tablet. Too bad [poster] John doesn’t recognize the millions (billions?) across the country that teachers spend out of their own pockets to help a classroom keep moving. We do our own part (not entirely happily) to keep taxes down!

        I hope this doesn’t come off as whining (which isn’t allowed in my classroom) because I am having a lot of fun trying to make this work, but I just feel very isolated and the community/family involvement has been lacking. Because I had a whole life as a marketer, I know I have to think of compelling needs my blog can meet. That will help. I already know how compelling the needs of my students are. They need (and deserve) all the help they can get.

        Whoa, this got long-winded. It’s a powerful topic, and the fears *reflected* in Congress’s reaction have a big effect on teaching. You certainly may edit this comment as you see fit.

        Jonathan Rawle

        for your use:
        jonathan_rawle AT NOSPAM notes dot k12 dot hi dot us

      17. Vicki-

        I agree with your views about DOPA completely. I wanted to add for Rose especially that there was a recent Frontline on PBS about teens and new technology that she might want to look up on their website. You can watch the whole program online. It explores many of the issues, especially where parents do take an active role in supervising their children online. To an extent it agrees with her viewpoint :no amount of standing over their shoulders is going to prevent them from making a bad choice-one teenager openly admitted that her mom watched her access at home, so she did all her social networking sites at her friend’s house. But note, it was her friend’s house, not school, so even if it wasn’t accessible at school, kids would still find a way to get access.

        But it really acknowledges that and I think ultimately backs up Vicki’s points. Kids do have to be taught right from wrong online, and you have to have a firm enough foundation where you can trust that they won’t do something stupid. They’re much more likely to do something stupid, however, if they don’t get the instruction about the dangers and the opportunities to learn safely in a teacher-led environment.

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