The Internet has developed into a vast basin of knowledge with many users contributing to its growth. With the growth of the Internet, many people have seen is as a source to express one's ideas to the public. Some would even view the Internet as a virtual community, and say it is a democracy. People argue that with such free will, the Internet should be censored to protect children from pornography. However, there's a bigger issue at hand than pornography. There are people who do not live under a 1st amendment and they use the Internet as an outlet to express their ideas and to incorporate ideas from others. I believe that censorship on the Internet is wrong because obstruct other people from accessing what they want to see and it inhibits people's free speech. In this country, many activists for censorship of the Internet mainly have one thing on their minds. They want to protect children from pornography. Although I view this as a big concern, there is a greater issue at hand. Since censorship encompasses all forms of expression, censoring the Internet would hurt many people. Since the Internet is an international community, we must view it as pertaining to other countries; not just the United States. Not all countries have the privilege of living in a democracy and under the Bill of Rights. As a result, the Internet as brought newfound freedom to most people who are oppressed by tyrannical governments, or those that disagree with governments but are not allowed to express it. People in these countries can now be exposed to views that they haven't thought about, or views that they have thought about but were afraid to express them. As stated in Net Benefit, "When we asked the participants, 30 percent said they were unable to access events like this in their nation's media" (Durkan, pars. 6). Since the Internet is a virtual community, it should be treated specially and shouldn't be censored for the convenience of the anti-pornography, religious zealots. Other nation leaders could use the censorship of the Internet as a weapon against the people who oppose them or have an opposing view. The government of these countries could use censorship to avoid posting of conflicting views that would lead people to disagree with the government. Many people would argue though, that the Internet is overflowing with pornography and many children can be influenced should they see anything like this. However, censorship is the last route to take regarding this matter. If anything, the much disputed cases on pornography influence children on sex more than the Internet itself. However, if a child really wants to, he or she can find a pornographic site, but there must be that conviction first. There really aren't any cases where a child "accidentally" goes to a pornographic site. A child doesn't get linked to a pornographic site if he/she is trying to look up facts about dinosaurs for a research paper. The Internet is huge with billions of addresses. A person must search for what they want to see. Admittedly any child can type "sex" in a search engine and go to a hundred sites but this issue should be left to the parent, not the government. Concerned parents should not look to the government to raise their child, but rather try to raise their own children. There are many programs and security features on the Internet such as Net Nanny that prevent children from seeing indecent materials. And if as a parent you don't feel that a service is "clean" for your child, then cancel your membership and find another service. But rather than enforcing such measures on children, shouldn't parents trust their children to do the right thing? A child's moral values should start from his/her family. If the parents have raised their child right, the child will obey their parents. "The supporters of government censorship will say they don't intend to eliminate the acceptable stuff, just the bad stuff. And that's exactly the problem the First Amendment was designed to avoid" (Rothenberg, pars. 13). This statement exactly expresses my idea on censorship of the Internet. The Internet shouldn't be censored because it will inhibit free speech. These are one of the rights guaranteed to us by the First Amendment and one of the reasons this country was founded in the first place. This country was founded as a free country and a country for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The clich , "it's a free country" comes to mind. But clich s are used because there's some truth behind the statement and it is true that we live in a free country. To be free means that no one can control what you see, and no one can control what you say. All viewpoints and controversial ideas should be allowed to be expressed whether a person wants to hear or not. This is a basic freedom that the average pro censorship activist might agree with, but ironically he/she is against it by supporting censorship. Censorship of a democratic society leads to breaks down of the democracy that is the society. It leads to an authoritarian system that controls what you read, watch, hear, and say. In some cases, censorship is necessary such as public television, where some people don't have a choice to see what they want to see. However, in the case of the Internet, people have full freedom over what they want to see. If you don't like something, don't watch it. Don't censor the Internet.
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