NMA.co.uk brought to my attention that the new ruling about children’s social networking sites will be out today:

MySpace, Bebo and others are awaiting the result of a ruling on children’s access to social networks from the US government. The implementation of the Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA) could result in children being barred from accessing social networks in public libraries and schools. The Act passed through the House of Representatives last week by 410 votes to 15.
Now the act goes to the Senate for approval. There is uncertainty over how far the act will reach, however, as the government’s definition of social networking sites could apply to a vast range of sites.

It categorises a site as a social network if it ‘permits users to create an online profile that includes detailed personal information’ and ‘enables communication between users’. When introducing the act congressman Michael Fitzpatrick claimed social networks are, “feeding grounds for child predators that use these sites as just another way to do our children harm.”

A counter movement called Save Your Space is encouraging social network users to lobby their senators to speak out against the act.

I looked at the Save Your Space site – they believe that it is not only Bebo and MySpace that will be affected, but Flickr and Tagged. As well as such den of iniquities as a personal hangout of mine, Wireless World Forum. Oh and forget educational sites that need a cookie to track question and answer quizzes and puzzles.

My opinion? As usual we are using legislation to bring up our children. A little monitoring and education will go a long way. If the kids aren’t playing online, then they are at the mall. Have you taught them StrangerDanger? Or hanging around another kid’s house signing in as adults. And then where is the protection? Yes, kids sites need strong regulation about what can and cannot be taken as information, how it can be used and what information is published openly but banning? Nah

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