One problem with the internet is the availability of offensive content such as pornography and violent videos, images, and text. Because of the lack of regulation, it is easy for people of all ages, including students, to access illicit material. This raises many questions pertaining to supervision, access, and censorship.
As educators responsible for children we must consider what our students are exposed to and why they seek out this material. As an administrator, I am often placed in the position of having to suspend students for inappropriate use of the computer, most often pertaining to quasi-pornographic material. This experience has taught me that students need only seconds to access this type of material and can easily circumnavigate our filters.
Answers seem elusive. We have tried to implement more restrictive filters, but this seems to punish everyone who uses the internet for legitimate purposes. We have involved parents, counsellors, and senior administration, but all to no avail. It seems the urge to view pornographic images trumps the risk of getting caught.
This makes me wonder what types of material students are viewing at home, in the absence of filters and strict supervision. This all points to the fact that the material should be regulated more closely. I realize and appreciate that we live in a relatively free society, but, at times, it seems as though the personal freedoms of the individual trump the well-being of all. I realize that censorship and regulation can be a slippery slope. I do not, however, envision Canada ever slipping into some Orwellian state of being. I believe our government has sufficient checks and balances to prevent abuse of such powers. As such, it is my assertion that we should have a government organization with a mandate to locate and block all pornographic material as it is too easily accessed by children. This type of censorship would surely raise the ire of fanatical advocates of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but perhaps the well-being of our children should take precedence over the ready availability of internet porn.