Sunday, November 18, 2012

Communications & Cyberspace: Chapter 11

So far, I am enjoying this book. I am finding the different, yet related opinions to be interesting.
Instead, of reaching and trying to comment on every chapter, I thought I would focus on the one I enjoyed the most, from the first set of readings.

**I have come back up to this section after writing my post. I have to admit it got away from me a bit. If you have read my other posts you will see this one turned out a little differently. Apparently, I climbed up on my soapbox and  just let it out. I decided to keep it, and not re-write my post. I don't usually let myself rant online like this, but perhaps I needed to let it out.

Chapter 11, basically we hate what we fear, and we fear what we don't understand.  This has been taking place for at least as far back for as I have studied. I have always found fear to be fascinating. For awhile, I wanted to be a psychologist that specialized in helping people overcome there extreme fears, or phobias. A popular way to do this is through systematic desensitization. The show My Extreme Animal Phobia demonstrates this method.  This video is a clip of a man's treatment, a ways into the episode.  But, back to the chapter.

I want to discuss my thoughts on web censorship.  First, I think its important to state that I am comfortable with what we have established at this point in time.  I do feel that children should be protected. However, while the government should provide assistance in some areas, such as making child pornography illegal. It is the responsibility of parents to protect their children from real and perceived dangers on the internet.  Parents have the means to do so, as some companies have released programs to install on computers. It is also up to the parents to supervise their children while on the computer just as they do in other aspects of their children's lives.   People don't what the government telling them how to raise their children, so they cannot in turn ask the government to step in and regulate the internet.  As a society, we seem to walk this fine line with our wants and expectations; we want freedom but expect the government to protect us from ourselves. We want the freedom to choose to look at pornographic or violent websites, but don't want to have to wrestle with self-control or conscience. Its much easier to tell the government to block these choices; then we can complain about having our freedoms taken away without having to actually come to terms with our own beliefs and struggles.

Are there terrible websites out there? Ones spouting hate and intolerance? Yes, there are. But shutting down those sites will not shut those people up. As long as there are people, there will always be an outlet for fear and hatred.  But, that also means there will always be an outlet for love and acceptance.  For every fear driven website there is one of understanding.   You can't shut down the fearful, but by allowing them to remain on the internet, you are allowing them to remain on the public forum.  In this forum, they can be monitored and studied, by the government, psychologists, and others. We won't fear these groups as much as we come to understand them more. Do I really want groups out there spouting hatred toward women and trying to argue that the oppression of women is a good thing? And, voicing all the other archaic beliefs they have toward women? No, I do not. But I acknowledge their right to freedom of speech, and I would rather know where they are, and who they are, then have them be part of some backroom secret society.

Of course, this is all just my opinion, and you, of course, have the right to feel differently.  You can even respond to my post in away way you want.  Isn't the freedom on the internet in our country great? I know I don't ever want to lose it.

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