AirTalk for March 5, 2013

Iceland takes a shot at banning porn – could it work in the U.S.?

FRANCE-MEDIA-INTERNET-FEATURE

ALAIN JOCARD/AFP/Getty Images

A girl surfs on the web on her computer. Are online restrictions enough to prevent children from stumbling upon adult material? Should porn be blocked on a country-wide level?

Technology has increased the availability of information and media as well as accelerating the ability to share it at nearly instantaneous speeds. But for every video of a kitten dancing on a piano keyboard, many more illicit and violent pornographic images are also indiscriminately available to anyone with a computer.

Smart phones and web-enabled tablets have now put anything available on the Internet into our pockets regardless of whether that pocket belongs to a juvenile or an adult. Governments have struggled with how to keep things like violent pornographic images out of the hands of minors, but the island nation of Iceland recently announced bold new initiatives to ban pornography in print and online.

Iceland is not the first nation to try and curtail the proliferation of porn, or other content it deems objectionable. More authoritarian regimes in Iran, North Korea and China have significant restrictions on Internet content, and countries like Britain, Sweden and Denmark ask Internet service providers to block child pornography sites. Australia’s attempt at banning certain sex and terrorist websites failed in 2012 after significant opposition from advocates of Internet freedom. And there lies the challenge - keeping illicit images out of the hands of children is a good thing, but censorship red flags go up when governments start suggesting limits on such a free and open channel as the Internet.

How can society keep information flowing freely while also protecting kids? What lessons might the U.S. apply based on other countries’ attempts at banning porn?

Guests:
Jennie Noll , PhD, Professor of Pediatrics, University of Cincinnati; Noll has studied the effects of “high-risk Internet behavior” in minors.

Russ Warner , CEO of ContentWatch, maker of the top-rated desktop and mobile web filter Net Nanny (www.netnanny.com). He is an avid blogger with expertise on Internet safety.

 


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