This weeks column for 24Hrs Vancouver: Movement to block porn an unnecessary form of censorship

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The winner of last week’s duel on Edward Snowden was Laila Yuile with 67%.

This week’s topic: Should Canada implement a UK-style filter to protect children from pornography on the Internet?

Conservative MP Joy Smith of Winnipeg has jumped on U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron’s bandwagon and agrees all Internet pornography should be blocked in Canada at the level of the Internet service provider. Those customers who want to access porn on their computer would need to opt-in and inform their service provider.

Cameron said the move was part of a series of measures designed to stop extreme sexual images from “corroding childhood.” My counterpart Brent argues that without a mandatory filtering system such as the one being implemented in the U.K., parents won’t be able to stop kids from being exposed to porn through interaction with their peers, adding he thinks porn is behind the rise in such things as teen sexting.

Time for a bit of a reality check.

Read Brent Stafford’s column

As a parent of four — including two who are already young adults — I absolutely agree that children, in particular young children who inadvertently see porn, may suffer mental and emotional impacts as a result. That’s why as a responsible parent, I have always taken the necessary steps to protect my children from accessing inappropriate content not only on the Internet, but on television and other forms of media as well….

Read the rest of this week’s column, and don’t forget to vote and leave your comments at this link http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/2013/07/28/movement-to-block-porn-an-unnecessary-form-of-censorship

Or, if you prefer to see what today’s edition looks like, click on todays date on the E-edition! http://eedition.vancouver.24hrs.ca/epaper/viewer.aspx

13 thoughts on “This weeks column for 24Hrs Vancouver: Movement to block porn an unnecessary form of censorship

  1. Anonymous Coward

    Porn is not all they intend to block… Don’t sleepwalk into censorship…

    Be warned people. Once the filter is in place, however good the initial intentions, it won’t take much to add ‘objectionable’ content to it. And who decides what is ‘objectionable’ exactly?

    http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-07/27/pornwall

    If you’re really concerned about “The Children” ban all children under 18 from accessing the Internet, impose heavy fines and jail time for the parents

    BTW — BC has the hight child poverty, no doubt this is for “The Childen”, lol….

    Think of the children
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Think_of_the_children

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    1. Don F.

      instead of heavy fines and jail time for parents wouldn’t those punishments be much more meaningful and purposeful towards those producing porn or does that just make too much common sense to this world?
      Don

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      1. Makes no sense at all Don, what exactly is wrong with porn (speaking as an adult)?
        To me, it makes more sense for the parents to know (read:not be lazy) and look into how to protect their children by setting up filters and options readily available from internet providers and phone companies, rather than a “global” ban that takes away from responsible adult actions.
        And, like AC mentioned, pretty slippery slope having the “government” or other “over-sight” body monitor or censor the internet.
        Whose definition of “objectionable content” does one have to follow.. if not just their own?

        Yes, you won’t stop “porn” from reaching those that actively seek it (much like a child bringing pop’s playboys to school for show and tell back in the day… lol) and I think that trying to “hide” anything these days (rather than talk about it) is ludicrous.
        Kids are far more intelligent that most parents give their kids credit for.
        Banning “porn” does nothing to decrease that as we are sexual beings, we procreate through sex.

        Instead, how about the parents and ones concerned about “porn” make sure they themselves are aware and informed about how to protect their internet security properly as by doing so they will have reduced a child’s potential to sex exposure to minimum.

        Again, my thought is, at this point in our evolution, why are we still ashamed of sex, sexual topics and the body in general…. and then teaching this to our children?
        If we stopped making the body “taboo” and instead focused on personal well-being and respect from one person to another, we really wouldn’t have this “issue”.
        JMO

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        1. Don F.

          First you ask “What exactly is wrong with porn?” and follow that with “parents look into how to protect their children”???
          I suppose my reasoning is that there is something wrong if parents have to find ways to protect their children. Is there a magical age where it becomes ok ???
          Is your meaning that if children wait to a proper age then porn’s okay like alcohol?

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    2. Laila

      Very good point about objectionable content – who decides what is objectional and what is not? And where does it end?

      What is alarming about this all, is that it seems a misguided attempt to address an issue that started with dealing with child pornographers. Those people who are viewing child porn, making child porn are a very serious threat to all children and it almost seems like this was an extension of trying to find those people.Sure makes it easier when you have a list from the Net provider of whose allowed porn and who hasn’t.

      In talking to other parents I know, none have had any issues with porn popping up accidentally with younger kids, because they monitor their computer use and use the same mechanisms I do to prevent any objectionable content from being viewed.

      Teens on the other hand,young men in particular, will still find a way to access porn with filters, more likely than not via a friend whose parents have opted in,via a net café, Wi-Fi, or simply the local corner store owner who really doesn’t give a crap if he sells a Penthouse to a teenage boy.

      There are other issues. I know people who think any nudity is porn, or who think a romantic scene in a movie is porn,or a racy photo is porn. The filter is not going to be able to define porn exactly and things will get through that are pornographic because they are file labeled puppies and things that aren’t porn are going to be restricted for the same reason.

      Last, where is the outrage and action over excessive violence on tv, in the media and elsewhere? As I said, there are hundreds of studies supporting the impact of violence on childrens development and societal views and the gov doesn’t seem to be overly worried about that.

      Which tells me this is not about protecting children and more likely a personal judgment on the part of the legislators supporting this.

      Parents need to limit childrens access to technology, period. They need to monitor what they view, what they do,and take responsibility. Perhaps mandatory parenting classes would be a better use of resources and would likely prevent a number of issues children face.

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  2. Gary T

    If more parents were proactive , like Laila. this would not be a problem. Anyone who wants the government to step in, is just greasing the already slippery slope that we are on to total government control of everything. Enough of Big Brother constantly looking over our shoulders.

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  3. G. Barry Stewart

    Bravo for parents who are in charge of their kids — but many are too lazy or too busy to bother controlling their kids’ internet use. You might have strict controls in your house… but when Little Johnny visits the neighbour kid, someone’s going to get his eyes opened.

    BC public schools get their internet feeds filtered through the PLNet (Provincial Learning Network), which gets MOST of the inappropriate material out of the stream (YouTube trash is often still available) — and flashes a warning screen when a “bad” site has been approached. Internet providers could be required to offer this kind of “Family Plan” service to parents, to make their home lives simpler.

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    1. Laila

      True Barry, which was my point above. But nothings changed. Even if Johnnys dad didn’t have a porn stash in his closet, maybe his buddies dad does…. its the same with teens and alcohol, drugs, etc…

      If a parent is so darn lazy they cant set their computers own built in filters, or Windows filters, or buy a program, there is a bigger problem that is going to go far beyond possible porn exposure. As I mentioned above, exposure to violence has immediate results on youngers kids, shown by numerous studies.

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  4. Blocking porn will not stop kids from “sexting”.
    Anyone thinking so is a fool.
    In fact, it might create that “underground” kind of atmosphere that allows pedophiles and cretins to flourish.

    Did you not play doctor (with other kids) as a child.. or the “show me yours and I’ll show you mine”?
    Internet had nothing to do with that for me as I was a pre-internet by about 30 years, so how do explain that? And what are you going to do? Block “General Hospital” because it might cause kids to explore? Ban Sears catalogue because it has panties and bras in it? Block cartoon magazines (like Avengers or Electra) because they wear skimpy / tight outfits on shapely figures?

    Where does the “line” get drawn, who’s drawing it, and why someone messing with my rights as an adult based solely on speculation and ignorance (fear-based to boot) is considered appropriate?
    Instead, how about the parents who are concerned DO SOMETHING about it, like LEARN TO PROTECT THEMSELVES AND THEIR CHILDREN BY UNDERSTANDING THE TECHNOLOGY YOU PLAY WITH.
    Society is not responsible for your children’s upbringing. And letting the government back into the bedrooms is not acceptable, and is a cop-out for parents and childminders to keep playing Angry Birds instead of setting up appropriate child filters.

    Those adults who buy the latest gadgets for their kids, and (1) know nothing about the technology and its capabilities (2) give said gadgets to their children without first setting up child locks and site bans, is doing nothing but contributing to the problem. Where’s the public outrage at this?

    Don’t blame the kids, and most certainly don’t blame me.. or try to hold me accountable by getting the government to implement a total block on adult sites.

    Be interesting to see the lawsuits coming from the porn industry should a “global porn ban” try to be implemented.

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  5. Laila

    Excellent comment. Excellent. And I agree. Next thing will be banning fashion magazines, hot rod ones – those skimpy or sometimes nude women draped over bikes and cars are sure to meet the standard of porn for some.

    Personally, I do think we live in a society now that is hyper-sexualized from a young age, and parents are part of the problem. You see little girls dressed up in these appalling beauty contests like tiny versions of adult women.Kids are bombarded by magazines, videos,programs, commercials, etc that all show sexually oriented content. I know watching much music videos cant even happen in my house – I was watching one weekend when the kids were out and wow, some of the videos out there are unreal,treating young girls like sex objects or playthings for young men.

    That’s where education comes in. Sitting down with your teens and talking about the difference between real life and what you see in the videos, or what they may seen in porn. Most parents wont have that talk though,because they feel uncomfortable.

    A slippery slope indeed

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