The common image that comes to mind on the topic of censorship is that of book burning. Dating back to ancient times, the easiest way to deal with unwanted writings has been to get rid of them, usually by heaping them into a blazing pyre. In his most famous science fiction novel, Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury warns of a futuristic society where all literature is destroyed under a kerosene flame and the citizens' freedoms are kept in check by the lack of written information. In fear of this kind of totalitarianism, many bibliophiles have fought against all manners of censorship, wielding the first amendment and the rights recognized by our fore-fathers. But with the technological advances of this the last decade of the twentieth century and the up welling of a new informational medium comes a new twist to the struggle for freedom of expression.
The inherent educational value of the Internet is being realized in schools across the country. The vast web of information is easily accessible and is quickly taking the place of traditional library resources, because of its current events and diverse views. Understanding the importance of this new technology, the Clinton administration is pushing for school Internet connection with the goal of "more than 97 percent of public schools connected by the year 2000 (Hoffman 15)." However, serious problems arise due to the very nature of the Net. Alongside the educational and commercial resources are sites with pornography, criminal advocacy, and illegal drug manufacturing information. According to Syllabus magazine, "a keystone question becomes how to deal with this richness and diversity of information and interchanges while providing a safe e...
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...ndividuals is a far better educational goal than developing 'regulated' individuals (Grinnell)." While high school students are learning other skills to prepare them for the rest of their lives, they can also learn, through a powerful medium like the Internet, responsibility. In this way students can also realize the dimensions of their freedom of expression and inalienable rights, that are so very often taken for granted.
Bruce, Marty (1999). Censorship on the Internet. [Online] Available: http://www.purplenet.net/~marty/ip.htm
Grinnel, Curt. Internet Issues: Hotchkiss High School Internet Policy
Hoffman, Ellen. "The Dark Side of the Internet: Controls on Student Access." Syllabus High School Edition. September, 1999. pp14-17.
Net Censorship Crisis. [Online] Hotwired. Available: http://www.hotwired.com/special/indecent/dcpc.html
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