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throwing out the baby? | Letters From Home throwing out the baby? | Letters From Home

Letters From Home

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throwing out the baby?


When I worked at the library and had to deal with people at the public computers, two of the most obnoxious groups of people who came in every day were adults looking at porn and kids typing away in chat rooms.   Both groups were likely to do their best to break the rules to get more time, and the fact that the library administration adamantly refused to have any kind of signup software installed, pretty much gave the rule-breakers carte blanche.

Did some mean nasty old staff member insist you get up and let somebody else have a turn?   Come back later when some other staff member is watching the signup sheet, scrawl some other illegible blot on the sheet and plop yourself right down again for another hour of jolly-time. Repeat as often as the staff shift changed.

Did some rotten other person try to actually, oh, use the time they signed up for when they obviously couldn’t see you were busy?   Raise a fuss.   Stand your ground.   Run and whine in the office.   Dollars to donuts you’d immediately be handed more time by some spineless supervisor who didn’t want anyone to think that there were actually rules in that space.

Well, the big bad government finally decreed that porn filters had to be put in place.   And even though the librarians fought that tooth and nail (including the folks where I used to work, who raised a fuss when the cops “invaded someone’s privacy” to the extent of arresting him for looking at child pornography on a public computer) it was upheld by the courts.   And you know what?   When the porn filters went in, some of the most obnoxious I’m-there-every-day users went away.   (Of course, there was, and is, a pretty simple way around the porn filters and it didn’t take very long for people to figure it out, but the most obnoxious droolers didn’t know about it.)

Now the government is trying to restrict access to “social networking” sites on public computers as well.   While they’re taking their usual ham-handed gnat-with-a-blunderbuss approach, I can’t help but think that it would not necessarily be a bad thing if kids using public computers were restricted to, oh, gosh, maybe actually doing their homework for a change.

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Author: infmom

Otherwise known as Infamous Mom.

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