[oasis][columns]

by Matt Barton
July 1996

One of the strengths and weaknesses of U.S. Democracy is that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, practically. Take any big issue, ask anyone what they think about it, and you'll almost always get a response.

I'm sure that many of you are aware of the Communications Decency Act that was overturned by a panel of federal judges in Philadelphia. The problem that I saw with the bill was that it was very vague. What is indecent to me may not be indecent to you, or anyone else. Who's more right than the other? Nobody is.

Public opinion changes dramatically one way or another simply by watching the nightly news on the big television networks. We hear story after story of child pornography, young teenagers taking plane trips across the country, and how all this seems to be a huge problem that the government must do something about it. Let's face it, people generally like to pawn off responsibility or blame to someone else.

So, whom do we turn to for help? The government! I think, as a society, we expect the government to do a lot of things for us. It sounds rather communistic to me. I think it's mostly due to the fact that a lot of people are not taught to think for themselves, and don't believe that they can make a difference.

We believe what we hear on the news and don't consider the significance of the problem. In other words, how big of a problem is it? How many sites on the world wide web contain child pornography and other material that is considered "indecent?" All of the estimates I've seen tell me that it's below one percent of all sites. So, now the problem is not the content on the Internet, but rather who is in control of what children see.

The best and most difficult solution to this problem is really very simple. If parents, the so called protectors of their children, would regulate what their children see and don't see then no one would be making a huge fuss over nothing. Parents can subscribe to a ratings service, or simply not subscribe to an Internet provider.

Parents are the ones in control and not the government, they just don't seem to realize it yet.


Matt Barton is a nineteen-year-old in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is a member of the Indianapolis Youth Group and a certified HIV/AIDS Instructor for the American Red Cross. You can contact Matt at mbarton@iquest.net or visit his home page.
©1996 Oasis Magazine. All Rights Reserved.