Editorial: A Law Not Needed


From the Evanston Review:

A freshman state senator has proposed a law that would ban access to social networking Web sites, such as MySpace, at libraries and public schools. Sen. Matt Murphy (R-27th) of Palatine, believes his legislation would make life safer for youths because it could prevent contact with potential sexual predators via computers at those sites.

We do not doubt that Sen. Murphy is sincere in his desire to make life as safe as possible for the children of Illinois. Others like him see forums like MySpace that didn’t exist a decade ago and liken them to Mr. Stranger Danger’s car pulling up to a curb and a door opening. The U.S. House, in fact, approved a bill like Murphy’s last year. Fortunately, it was killed in the Senate. If Murphy’s bill were to advance into law, Illinois would be the first state to have such restrictions on its books.

The fact is, school principals already can implement such restrictions, and many of them have. A principal is responsible for keeping his students focused on education in a safe environment, and if that means no MySpace and other networking sites, the students have to live with that.

Libraries may not have the authority figures monitoring children’s activities to the extent that schools do, but we still don’t see Murphy’s bill as having much of an impact there. These sick individuals preyed on kids before the Internet was invented, and they’ll find other ways if the computers in libraries and schools are turned off.