MIM tells FCC, “Apparently, only in our nation’s federal courts do people believe that parents are not only the first line of defense when it comes to protecting children from online exposure to pornography but the only defense” (MIM News Release)

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NEW YORK (Feb. 24, 2010) – MIM President Robert Peters has advised the FCC that while parents are the “first line of defense” in protecting children from harmful content online and elsewhere, a reliance on parents is “not the whole answer.”  This was in response to an FCC “Notice of Inquiry” [MB Docket No. 09-194] seeking comment on “how to empower parents to help their children take advantage of the opportunities offered by evolving technologies while at the same time protecting children from the risks inherent in use of these technologies.”

Mr. Peters points out that, “For a variety of reasons, many parents cannot or will not use available technology.”  Some parents, he writes, “do not read or speak English fluently.”  Others lack “literacy skills.” Many are “chronically ill or disabled.”  “A technology gap also separates most parents…from their children…Parental controls can be difficult to use…Furthermore, as children get older many will find a way to circumvent the technology and no technology is perfect…And while it may come as a surprise to some federal court judges, many parents are not part of the solution; they are part of the problem…And it isn’t just dads…it’s moms too.”

He adds, “Once upon a time, the Supreme Court had the good sense to understand that many parents need help to protect their children and that at times government must intervene because parents aren’t always available to protect their children…Today, the Supreme Court is no longer concerned about whether parents will do what the Court thinks they should do (i.e., use filters).  According to the Court, what matters is whether parents have the ‘ability’ to do so.”

He continues, “But if the limitations of filters and the failure of many parents to use filters weren’t problems enough, there is yet another problem with the Court’s thinking…The other problem is that as children get older they have opportunities outside the home to access the Internet from devices that are not under parents’ control.”

Mr. Peters states that in addition to use of filters by parents, use of age verification technologies by online pornography distributors and enforcement of Internet obscenity laws by the Justice Department are needed. He concludes, “Freedom of speech and press is indeed a ‘fundamental’ right but so is the right to live and raise children in a safe, healthy and decent society.”

Click here for Document submitted to the FCC.  Also available at  www.fcc.gov.

Author: MIM   02/24/2010

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