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Louisiana State Univ.

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Monday, August 26, 2013

Regulating the Internet Using the "Best Interests of the Child" Standard

Wei Quan, University of Minnesota, has published Children-Related Internet Content Regulation: Best Interests of the Child, Definition of Child, and Cyberspace Purism.

This paper explores what the concept of childhood is, and could be in Internet content regulation,  and suggests that the definition of child in Internet content regulation should reflect the study in this area, considering some potential practical and theoretical difficulties in using age as the sole index in defining child in Internet content regulations. The paper also briefly reviews the decision-making process in Internet content regulation, and suggests that the phrase "best interests of the child" may play a necessary role as a factor to be considered in existing First-Amendment analysis to provide an opening to incorporate deliberation as to what are in the best interests of children in the context of Internet content regulation. Part I reviews basic concepts and concerns in the decision-making process of Internet content regulation, discusses the potential benefits and concerns of introducing the phrase "best interests of the child" into current First-Amendment analysis, and suggests and it may provide a necessary forum and opening to incorporate and balance competing policies and theories as to what are in best interests of children in the context of Internet content regulation.Part II consists of three sections. Section one reviews the concept of childhood and sources for an expansive view of childhood in today’s digital era. Section two considers practical and theoretical difficulties in using age as the sole index in defining child, and suggests that there are arguments that the age of majority in today’s digital era, in certain aspect, may be older than Congress’ definition of child in Internet regulation. Section three examines current children-related Internet content regulations in two categories: content prohibitions targeting on content providers/contributors, and content-access regulations targeting on service providers that require filtering at certain point within the structure of the Internet. The paper suggests that the effectiveness of a specific measure should be evaluated within the system of Interment regulation.Part III reviews some sources and reasons to anticipate a policy goal of a greater level of cyberspace purism.

Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/media_law_prof_blog/2013/08/wei-quan-university-of-minnesota-has-published-children-related-internet-content-regulation-best-interests-of-the-child-d.html

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