We can do so much better!

As US cit­i­zens, our tax money funded the cre­ation of the Inter­net, yet we don’t even have the con­sumer choice to have easy access to a gen­eral com­mu­nity Inter­net alter­na­tive that is free from hard­core inap­pro­pri­ate mate­r­ial. Quite incred­i­bly, we don’t have easy access to an Inter­net option that is in com­pli­ance with already exisit­ing fed­eral laws meant to pro­tect children.

How is this pos­si­ble? It’s time for respon­si­ble adults to fight back! Any­more than we would sit back and let health­care providers include ille­gal, harm­ful drugs in what they deliv­ered to our chil­dren, we need to press our leg­is­la­tors to stop Inter­net Ser­vice Providers from deliv­er­ing ille­gal, harm­ful, porno­graphic mate­r­ial to our chil­dren if we don’t want it! We need each and every Inter­net Ser­vice Provider to pro­vide us with access to at least one gen­eral com­mu­nity Inter­net option that is safe for our chilren. We can do so much better!

 

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Children need our voice!

Imag­ine our ances­tors sit­ting around the evening fire show­ing their chil­dren words and imagery of vio­lence and hard-core por­tray­als of women as sex objects. Most of us would con­sider that to be an extremely unhealthy and odd culture–one that was nei­ther nur­tur­ing of chil­dren nor con­cerned about the con­se­quences of such child rear­ing on the culture’s future society.

This is what our own cul­ture is inad­ver­tently head­ing towards. By only hav­ing one Inter­net option, our chil­dren have access to highly hard­core, inap­pro­pri­ate words and images that flow right into our homes. For mil­len­nia, cul­tures have had the com­mon sense to pro­tect chil­dren from words and imagery that are inap­pro­pri­ate for the young. It’s time for our generation’s adults to stand up and require that Con­gress pro­vide us with at least one man­dated Inter­net option that is in line with fed­eral obscen­ity laws, meant among other things to pro­tect chil­dren. We need the abil­ity to pro­tect our chil­dren if we want to.

Please join us in help­ing to pro­tect our chil­dren. Sign the peti­tion today!

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Sending a petition is quick and easy and it’s the right thing to do.

All we’re ask­ing is that in addi­tion to their stan­dard Inter­net ser­vices, Inter­net Ser­vice Providers (ISPs) in the­United States be required to pro­vide sub­scribers access to the Inter­net that excludes hard-core vio­lence and pornog­ra­phy, in com­pli­ance with exist­ing fed­eral obscen­ity laws (as specif­i­cally defined in Title 18 of fed­eral law). An ISP would still be allowed to freely offer its stan­dard non-filtered Inter­net com­mer­cial ver­sions. We need safe access to the Inter­net that is free of hard­core, inap­pro­pri­ate mate­r­ial if we so choose. It’s time to do right by our chil­dren and grandchildren!

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Time to take a stand!

As won­der­ful as the Inter­net has been in mak­ing knowl­edge access­able and expand­ing per­sonal net­works, it has brought things into our homes that would have been unimag­in­able to past gen­er­a­tions.  It shouldn’t have to be this way. We need to have a choice.

Accord­ing to the Lon­don School of Eco­nom­ics in 2002, nine out of 10 chil­dren aged between eight and 16 had viewed pornog­ra­phy on the Inter­net at some point in their lives. A study pub­lished in “Pedi­atrics” in 2007 con­cluded that 42% of chil­dren aged between ten and 17 had been exposed to online pornog­ra­phy dur­ing the “pre­vi­ous 12 months.” In most cases, the sites were accessed unin­ten­tion­ally when a child, often in the process of doing home­work, used a seem­ingly inno­cent sound­ing word to search for infor­ma­tion or pic­tures. This is com­pletely unac­cept­able. One of our basic human rights should cer­tainly be to have our chil­dren do their home­work with­out our hav­ing to worry about pornog­ra­phy!

Noth­ing has hap­pened since those stud­ies to allow fam­i­lies and oth­ers to have access to the Inter­net with­out hav­ing to worry about inap­pro­pri­ate mate­r­ial show­ing up. And noth­ing will hap­pen, unless we take a stand and pres­sure Con­gress to give us a safe alternative.

Please take a stand today by sign­ing the peti­tion and for­ward­ing it to oth­ers. If you can, put the website/petition on your Face­book, Twit­ter account or an orga­ni­za­tional web­site. Thank you for charg­ing forward!


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Letting the industry do whatever it wants, isn’t the answer

Let­ting the Inter­net indus­try do what­ever it wants, is not the answer. The respon­si­bil­ity for deliv­er­ing a safe, law­ful alter­na­tive must be placed on the providers of the Inter­net, not on the vic­tims of unwanted Inter­net obscen­ity. In every other indus­try (food, drugs, auto­mo­biles, toys, etc.) com­pa­nies are required to pro­vide prod­ucts and ser­vices in com­pli­ance with fed­eral law—why not the Inter­net industry?

The Inter­net was cre­ated by government-sponsored ini­tia­tives paid for by cit­i­zens of the United States. Yet there is no safe, gen­eral com­mu­nity Inter­net alter­na­tive for the mil­lions of cit­i­zens in the United States who want one. An atti­tu­di­nal poll con­ducted by Com­mon Sense Media in June 2006, showed that 85% of par­ents believe that the Inter­net posed the great­est risk to their chil­dren among all forms of media. If this were an issue of toys and the law said that toys should come with­out high lev­els of lead (which it does), would it be too much to ask that com­pa­nies be required to offer alter­na­tive toys with­out those lev­els of lead? Any­thing less would seem highly irre­spon­si­ble. Like­wise, it seems irre­spon­si­ble that ISPs in our coun­try are not required to offer a gen­eral com­mu­nity Inter­net ser­vice that is in com­pli­ance with fed­eral obscen­ity laws.

If we don’t stand up for the well-being of our chil­dren and grand­chil­dren, who will?

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Where is the outrage?

Below are some brief excerpts from the New Zealand Her­ald. Do my wife, daugh­ter, and per­haps future grand­daugh­ters really have to grow up in a world where depic­tions of graphic vio­lent rape are spread through­out the homes of the nation? Where sex­ual assault and child abuse are dis­sem­i­nated as porno­graphic forms of adult enter­tain­ment? If it is true, per the indi­ca­tors below, that for 50 of the most pop­u­lar porn sites, 90% of the con­tent includes ver­bal and phys­i­cal abuse of women, where is the out­rage from Con­gress and from our country’s civic, activist and rel­gious lead­er­ship? We would never allow this in the work­place or in schools, but we allow ISPs to trans­mit it into our homes with­out any respon­si­bil­ity to offer us safe alternatives.

 

Two weeks ago, the children’s com­mis­sioner for Eng­land, an inde­pen­dent body that has been doing an in-depth two-year inquiry into the exploita­tion of chil­dren by gangs and groups, pub­lished a report sum­maris­ing the cur­rent research on porn. Sue Berelowitz, the deputy com­mis­sioner, says that it was because porn kept on com­ing up in the evi­dence they were hearing.

The 40,000 research papers the report analysed found “a cor­re­la­tion” between the view­ing of porno­graphic mate­r­ial and those who carry out those vio­lent acts.

“It’s also clear that children’s atti­tudes to sex and sex­u­al­ity are being affected, some­times at a very young age. This mate­r­ial is just a few clicks away. And it’s affect­ing them.”

The aca­d­e­mic debate over porn will no doubt rum­ble on. Porn is so diverse because humans are. It’s also just another area of life in which tech­nol­ogy is out­pac­ing our abil­ity to process it.

The free stream­ing porn sites are only a few years old, and the era of chil­dren with smart­phones in the school play­ground is even more recent. Or, as Sarah Green of the Cam­paign to End Vio­lence Against Women, puts it, we’re only just begin­ning “a global exper­i­ment with our chil­dren. And we don’t know what the results will be.”

It’s not my gen­er­a­tion who’ll live with the con­se­quences. It’s the 11-year-olds. The 12-year-olds. The 13-year-olds. The ones who are typ­ing “free porn” into their friend’s phone right about now.

The graphic details

• 30 per cent - of all inter­net band­width is used for pornog­ra­phy. (Source: Huff­in­g­ton Post)

• 70 per cent - of men and 30 per cent of women watch porn. The aver­age time spent on a porn site is 12 min­utes. (Huff­in­g­ton Post)

• 450 mil­lion - Unique vis­i­tors to porn sites each month. When com­bined, Net­flix, Ama­zon and Twit­ter get 316 mil­lion vis­i­tors. (Huff­in­g­ton Post)

• 90 per cent - of all con­tent included ver­bal or phys­i­cal abuse against women in one study of 50 pop­u­lar porno­graphic web­sites and DVDs. (Vio­lence Against Women)

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Time for the 85%

In this mod­ern, high-tech age we have no excuse for not hav­ing a gen­eral com­mu­nity Inter­net alter­na­tive that is in com­pli­ance with US fed­eral obscen­ity laws meant to pro­tect our chil­dren. It doesn’t mat­ter if this is due to com­pla­cency, lack of leg­isla­tive will, or due to the lob­by­ing efforts of com­mer­cial interests–the result is the same. Chil­dren can’t do this for them­selves. We can and must take a stand. We can and must pres­sure Con­gress to make this happen!

An atti­tu­di­nal poll con­ducted by Com­mon Sense Media in June 2006, showed that 85% of par­ents believe that the Inter­net posed the great­est risk to their chil­dren among all forms of media. Now is the time for this 85% to let their voices be heard.

Please begin today, and sign and send along the petition!

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Disregarding laws that protect children, is the same as disregarding children

If we assess mat­ters by look­ing at actions rather than words, at the present moment our gov­ern­ment has more regard for the porn indus­try than for the law and chil­dren. US Code, Title 10, para­graph 1470  states:

Who­ever, using the mail or any facil­ity or means of inter­state or for­eign com­merce, know­ingly trans­fers obscene mat­ter to another indi­vid­ual who has not attained the age of 16 years, know­ing that such other indi­vid­ual has not attained the age of 16 years, or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title, impris­oned not more than 10 years, or both.

This law is sim­ply dis­re­garded. I con­sider myself a mod­er­ate, polit­i­cally and oth­er­wise. I am a strong sup­porter of the First Amend­ment, but Inter­net obscen­ity as it relates to chil­dren has gone over-the-top.  I have been on school and drug boards and a city youth com­mis­sion, and I have never seen such cal­lous dis­re­gard for the well-being of chil­dren on such a mas­sive scale. We are wit­ness­ing the mass exploita­tion of chil­dren in our gen­er­a­tion, in our very homes, under our very noses. The gov­ern­ment refuses to enforce clear laws to pro­tect children.

Are we going to sim­ply let this hap­pen, or are we going to make a stand on behalf of chil­dren and our future soci­ety? We don’t need to be putting peo­ple in prison for 10 years, but we do need to put a stop to allow­ing the porn indus­try to freely dis­trib­ute hard-core obscen­ity into our homes, if we don’t want it.

Sign the peti­tion today!

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The UK may be leading the way

The largest ISPs in the UK (BT, Sky, Talk­Talk and Vir­gin) are work­ing on plans to offer UK con­sumers “a choice at the point of pur­chase over whether they want adult con­tent on their home inter­net, lap­tops or smart phones.”

So instead of an eas­ily bypassed soft­ware fil­ter or site block­ing solu­tion that sits on one’s desk­top, the new sys­tem will pro­vide for auto­matic safe Inter­net access at the ISP level, upon pur­chase of the ser­vice (noth­ing else is required).

This is all we’re ask­ing for in the US: parental and con­sumer choice for a gen­eral Com­mu­nity Inter­net option that is in com­pli­ance with already exist­ing laws meant to pro­tect chil­dren from ille­gal, inap­pro­pri­ate mate­ri­als. It would be won­der­ful if US ISPs would also lead the way and sim­ply pro­vide this option–but after sev­eral years of lob­by­ing they have refused to do so. It’s time for our Con­gress to step in and require ISPs to pro­vide this option for those par­ents and fam­i­lies who want it.

Just as US auto­mo­bile com­pa­nies uli­mately needed to be required to pro­vide seat belts to pro­tect peo­ple, it’s now well past time to require that the the US Inter­net indus­try pro­vide an Inter­net option that allows par­ents to pro­tect their chil­dren from hard-core, ille­gal, inap­pro­pri­ate mate­ri­als if they so choose.

Please help make this hap­pen! Sign the Safe Inter­net Peti­tion today and let your gov­ern­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives that you care about our kids; and if you’ve sent a peti­tion pre­vi­ously, please keep send­ing them until we’re heard and action is taken!

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Protect our children from illegal Internet porn. Take a stand today!

Pornog­ra­phy has been around for a long time and it’s not going away. But the dif­fer­ence right now is in the quan­tity of pornog­ra­phy that is so eas­ily acces­si­ble, the increased vio­lence and degra­da­tion that is shown, and that it is being allowed to pour into our very homes to our chil­dren through the Inter­net. And iron­i­cally this is all hap­pen­ing at a time when our government’s effort to enforce laws that would help pro­tect our chil­dren is actu­ally dwindling.

Please sign the Safe Inter­net Peti­tion today!

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