Libraries’ porn policy lets kids sneak a peek

By DOUGLAS MONTERO and BOB FREDERICKS
April 9, 2011

Kids don’t have to hide dirty magazines under their mattresses anymore — they can just go to the library.

Children 13 and older can easily access hard-core porn in the city’s public libraries by simply claiming to be of age on the software and clicking off the filters that block XXX-rated content.

And library patrons say it happens all the time.

“You’ll see three or four kids, 13 or 14 years old, and they’re all gathered around a computer giggling,” said a regular at Brooklyn’s central library at Grand Army Plaza.

Even kids who don’t want to surf for smut can be exposed to it because they can wind up sitting next to porn gazers.

“A lot of the times, I see people watching pornography and stuff like that. The man right next to me today was watching naked women,” Julio Sosa, 14, told The Post at the Jerome Branch in The Bronx.

Library officials defend their policy of allowing easy access to porn as a free-speech issue and say just .5 percent of Web traffic on public-library computers is to porn sites.

“Our staff carefully monitors use of computers in adult areas. It is long-standing library policy — here and across the nation — to abide by the First Amendment,” said New York Public Library spokeswoman Angela Montefinise.

But Julio says kids watch it anyway.

“She [a librarian] comes over and tells them to stop watching it, but once she leaves, they just go right back to watching it,” he said.

City library collections never included pre-Internet porn, in books, magazines or movies, and some religious leaders and politicians say the standard should be the same for online porn.

“There’s a big difference between exercising your ‘freedom of speech’ at home and exercising it in a public place such as a library, where you’re surrounded by other people — including children,” said Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro, who is threatening to cut taxpayer funding of libraries.

Montefinise says that would unfairly penalize New Yorkers.

“If public funding for library computers was pulled, the biggest victims would be the people of Staten Island and New York City,” she said.

Julio, who likes to play video games on the computers, says porn watchers should be booted.

“They shouldn’t be allowed to watch it,” he said. “You don’t know if a minor like myself could be walking by.”
Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/computer_xxxposure_KYLdCwCA3Q5VgMh0yyM63M#ixzz1LsMeJMFi

 

DANIEL SHAPIRO

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