Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Protecting Children On the 'Net By Making It Safer

Cheryl B. Preston, Brigham Young University Law School, has published All Knowledge is Not Equal: Facilitating Children's Access to Knowledge by Making the Internet Safer, at 13 International Journal of Communications Law and Policy 115 (2009). Here is the abstract.

Global access to Internet knowledge is a worthy goal, especially for the children who will populate the information society; however, access must be considered in the context of imposing Western pornography on every culture and family. This Article briefly reviews the risks facing children online. It then focuses on the implications of cultural imperialism in Internet expansion. Nations, communities, and parents must be given the opportunity to access the Internet without drowning in sexually explicit content. In addition to children, what are the consequences on women of flooding various cultures with an intense diet of Western sexual images? Any discussion of expanding Internet access must address, in addition to child exploitation and feminist goals, fundamental questions of self-determination and the right of countries, cultures, religions, families and individuals to honor their own conceptions of morality and human dignity.

This article then describes an Internet port zoning approach that will offer content choice by segregating Internet content. The Ports Concept accommodates those who want to speak and hear adult speech, while recognizing the equally legitimate interests of those who do not want pornography in their homes and businesses, eroding their cultural values. Such a zoning scheme can work with an Internet governance structure relying on a specialized central global authority, or with governance seated in individual national authorities. The Article then suggests various options for trans-national implementation and enforcement if the Ports Concept is applied in a national, rather than centralized, governance approach. The Article also addresses the limitations and risks of this approach. Finally, this Article links the possibilities of Internet port zoning and principles of cultural self-determination.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

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