"Fences are made for those who cannot fly." -Elbert Hubbard
The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) is a federal law mandating "technology protection measures" be enacted by schools and libraries which receive certain categories of government funding.
While few would argue against filtering access to sites that are obscene or display child pornography, determining what is "harmful to minors (for computers that are accessed by minors)" is a bit more challenging.
Teachers and students frequently find themselves unable to access information because their school districts and public libraries block legitimate websites containing red flag words like "sex" or "weapons," regardless of the context in which these terms appear.
In June 2003, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Online Policy Group (OPG) released Internet Blocking in Public Schools: A Study on Internet Access in Educational Institutions. According to a press release, "The study found that blocking software overblocked state-mandated curriculum topics extensively -- for every web page correctly blocked as advertised, one or more was blocked incorrectly. "
On Wednesday, January 13, 2010 ISTE-SIGMS is hosting a webinar, "Fight the Filter," at 8 pm E.S.T. Presenter Buffy Hamilton will help participants "explore the reasons for the current state of restrictive filtering policies and discuss concrete strategies for effectively challenging and changing filtering policies."
Librarians, classroom teachers, and other interested educators should plan to attend this timely and important discussion.
Our children need clear, consistent safety policies and guided practice in good digital citizenship...not walls or fences.
“Surely there is grandeur in knowing that in the realm of thought, at least, you are without a chain; that you have the right to explore all heights and depth; that there are no walls nor fences, nor prohibited places, nor sacred corners in all the vast expanse of thought..." -Robert Green Ingersoll
"Don't Fence Me In" by ryancboren