\'Tools\' fail as strategies to keep kids away from Net sex at libraries

This Commentary by Paul McMasters from Freedom Forum is filled with excellent points on First Amendment issues and libraries. Many good lines here for Friday\'s \"Quote of the Week\"\"we must rely on the fact that our children are remarkably resilient, relentlessly individual and essentially good. They have thrived on extensive First Amendment rights and deserve to arrive at adulthood with those rights intact.\"
\"For those reasons and more, I would urge the members of this committee to carefully consider a voluntary educational approach to the problems the committee has been charged with addressing. There are a number of Internet operations, corporations and organizations that are offering educational resources for parents and others, including books, pamphlets, special Web sites, videos, and even classes. A special cooperative effort of major players online has produced the GetNetWise Web site that helps parents and children to make wise choices. The American Library Association, as well as individual libraries, offers helpful online guides for patrons, young and old.\"

\"In fact, there is a wide array of options for parents and children as guides to safe and secure surfing on the Internet. \"Parents can choose from among literally thousands of kid-friendly web sites, and can use child-oriented ISPs and browsers to keep their kids\' Internet experiences within safe bounds,\" Richard Kaplar writes in the introduction to Protecting Kids Online, a compendium of projects and efforts by industry and nonprofit organizations, published by The Media Institute. \"At the same time, parents can choose from scores of filtering and blocking software products to screen out inappropriate content before it reaches their children.\"

\"Those resources more than address the concerns of parents who wish to direct their children\'s online activities at home. That leaves the problem of children accessing the Internet at the homes of friends, at the public schools and libraries, Internet café, bookstores and other places. No laws are going to cover all of those online venues, nor the other media in which children will encounter — accidentally or intentionally — inappropriate speech.\"

\"In such circumstances, the ideal strategy is education and voluntary efforts that enable parents, guardians and teachers to help children become Internet savvy.\"

\"It is the only strategy that protects parents\' rights to instill the standards and values they wish for their children.\"

\"It is the only strategy that safely protects the First Amendment rights of both speakers and listeners.\"

\"It is the only strategy that is relatively safe from paralyzing legal challenge.\"