Thursday, May 11, 2006

Outlawing social software in libraries & schools

The whole uproar over MySpace strikes me as a lot of sound and fury over nothing. It's like Congress falling all over itself to protect children from violent video games, I think it's a matter of going after the symptoms of a violent society and ignoring any prospect of addressing the true scope of the problem.

Now a group of representatives, billing themselves as the Suburban Caucus, want to prevent schools and public libraries from allowing access to MySpace and other social networking sites.

More coverage at the Tech Law Prof Blog.

This type of thing drives the libertarian in me crazy. I'm not a hard core libertarian, but I do think the government far too often pokes its nose into people's business. I was talking to Spammy T the other day and he summed it up well when we said:

Every time I send a note to my congressman or senators for some [Electronic Freedom Foundation] issue, I make sure to add in my own verbage about how we need fewer federal laws, not more and how the federal government needs to be smaller. If we could get a streamlined federal government that actually ONLY did what it's supposed to constitutionally (interstate trade and mutual defense), we'd be able to also streamline the tax system as well as the intellectualy property system to make sense again. First thing I'd do would be to revoke corporations' status as "people".

Danah Boyd offers an interesting perspective on why this generation of kids are so attracted to online spaces:

As the real world is perceived as more dangerous with child abductors lurking on every corner, kids flock online to hang out with friends, express their hopes and dreams and bare their souls with often painful honesty -- mostly unbeknownst to their tech-clumsy parents. "We have a complete culture of fear," said Danah Boyd, 28, a Ph.D student and social media researcher at the University of California, Berkeley. "Kids really have no place where they are not under constant surveillance."

Driven to and from school, chaperoned at parties and often lacking public transport, today's middle-class American kids are no longer free to hang out unsupervised at the park, the bowling alley or to bike around the neighborhood they way they did 20 years ago. "A lot of that coming-of-age stuff in public is gone. So kids are creating social spaces within all this controlled space," said Boyd. |Wired| (emphasis mine)

1 comment:

spammy t said...

Come on. You know exactly why this kind of bullshit non-issue is coming up now: it's an election year and few of our elected officials want to tackle REAL issues that might alienate certain portions of their "constituents" and possibly prevent them from getting "reelected" (I put that in quotes because so few of our races resemble real elections), they have to make up issues like this that play to people's emotions rather than their common sense to trick people into thinking they're doing something when they really aren't.