it’s not a wise move to simply block access to social networking sites

Several articles in this week’s reading raised a critical issue – how to prevent children from predators in social network, which is heavily concerned by parents and the government. Wade Roush pointed out in the article “The Moral Panic over Social-Networking Sites” that the U.S. House of Representatives introduced the Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA) to block minors from accessing commercial social-networking sites and chat rooms. Honestly, I don’t think this a good idea. Because social networking sites are so attractive for teens, they could not stop using it. If you really want to do something, you will always find a way to go around it. I still remember when I was in China, Chinese government restricted accesses to some foreign news sites, such as Voice of American. I was able to use proxy server to bypass the filter and get access to it.

It is obvious that schools should play a critical role to advice teens, who are students at school, on using social networking sites. I got some recommendations that they might adopt. (1) Tell students “don’t disclose their personal information online, including address, photo, and phone number”. (2) Schools should effectively monitor using social networking sites at school and provide appropriate assistant. (3) Schools should educate parents on using social networking sites and inform them potential consequences, so that they could cooperate with teachers to help teens use these sites appropriately.

In conclusion, I don’t think it is a good idea to simply restrict teens’ access to social networking sites. Parents and schools should work together to guide teens to take advantage of these sites and form their virtual social circles.

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4 Responses to “it’s not a wise move to simply block access to social networking sites”

  1. Jeremie Says:

    I agree with qingyi that schools should play a larger role in educating children an that youth should not be restricted. Most of the articles showed good evidence that most cases of abduction and sexual proposals were either very low, or came from youths in the same age, and most disregarded the information. Instead of policing, educate!

  2. Joanne Says:

    I am also in agreement 100%. Educating about the risks and providing strategies to use these sites safely seems like a more reasonable route.

    Censorship always seems to be the quick-response in situations like this…and I don’t know if even really reduces risks that much: as if kids won’t find a way to get onto the site they want, or simply find another similar site!

  3. Alexandra Says:

    Hey Guys,

    I am with you on this issue. Blocking sites just encourages people to conceal their online activity and find other places to socialize. Now that social networking sites have become so popular, it is the perfect opportunity for libraries to step up and start educating their patrons on the safe and creative uses of this technology. I don’t think that libraries should stop at educating young people. Libraries should also educate parents, as it is important for them to be aware of what their children are doing online.

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