Cracking Down on Misleading Sex Sites
July 25th, 2006Posted by: Theo Nicolakis
Back in what we call the “early” days of the world wide web (circa 1995-1996) I recall various emails floating around that would advertise high-profile items such as the White House Web or the Vatican. To the casual observer, these web site advertisements appeared to be legitimate; however, clicking on that link would take the unsuspecting user to a pornography site (in the case of the white house). The difference between the “official” site and the illicit site was oftentimes nothing more than the substitution of .com for the .gov at the end of the web site address.
As search engines have become more ubiquitous, incidents like these are much less of an issue as companies try and protect their brands. Nevertheless, those bent on publishing ilicit and indecent material have turned to other methods of advertising their adult content–childhood brands. One such popular site has images of Ken and Barbie dolls in compromising positions and simulated sex.
The US Government has now approved new federal felonies aimed at webmasters who misuse child-friendly words like “Barbie” or “Barney”. Thus, instead of featuring child-friendly content, they instead feature sexual material. This latest measure, which now goes to President Bush for signing, is part of a growing body of legislation that centers around the Child Protection and Safety Act.
Although Attorney General Alberto Conzales’ statement, “America’s children will be better protected from every parent’s worst nightmare–sexual predators”, on this legislation may be an overstatement, it nonetheless represents a positive step for parents and law enforcement agencies in the battle for online protection for children. Indeed, without legislation in the books, the Justice Department and local law enforcement may oftentimes find themselves without the ability to take action.
Government legislation that protects minors–though it is to be applauded–is still not a substitue for astute and involved parenting.
“Parenting” is a verb. Parents and guardians must continue to remain actively involved in their childrens’ offline and online pursuits. Thus, legislation that helps protect our children be part of smart parenting and not a substitute for it.