Hamilton (2009) argued that the government should have a set of rules that regulate the content on the Internet. His argument is based on the idea of how children can obtain easy access to pornography. He criticized Electronic Frontiers Australia for being overly liberal on the matter of censoring out excessive sexual content on the Internet.
Chia et al. (2004, p. 109) link those who are in support of censorship to the “third-person perception” where ‘individuals tend to perceive more negative media effects on others than on themselves’. There are two reasons behind this. First, censorship is viewed as a method to avoid the adverse effect from media influence (Shah et al. 1999). Second, it could be due to individuals have the intention to penalize the media for the subject of the negative communication (Gunther 1991). In the context of Internet, it is arguable that parents would be in favor of censorship because they want to protect their children from negative consequences (e.g. imitate scenario from the pornography).
On the other hand, Wang (2003, p. 3) discovered that the use of Internet filter in the schools of United States has ‘block more material than the statuette contemplates’. Additionally, McCabe & Lee (1997) construe that Internet is a global community without limit and attempting to censor materials would contradict the freedom of expression guaranteed by the First Amendment.
With regard to the sexual content, many extreme libertarians might attribute it to moral relativism. Electronic Frontiers Australia claims that ‘filtering will impose one set of sexual standards on others who don’t share them and this makes all net censorship invalid’ (Hamilton 2009). My opinion is that there should be moderation for the use of Internet access in schools because children are too young to make their own decision. The government should also set a clear parameter on what would be filtered out in order to maintain the freedom of expression endows by the Internet.
Chia, SC, Lu, KH, McLeod, DM 2004, ‘Sex, lies and video compact disc: A Case Study on Third-Person Perception and Motivations for Media Censorship’, Communication Research, vol. 31, no. 1, pp. 109 – 130.
Gunther, AC 1995, ‘Overrating the X-rating: The third-person perception
and support for censorship of pornography’, Journal of Communication,
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Hilmiton, C 2009, ‘Web doesn’t belong to net libertarians‘Australian 16 February, viewed 18 November 2009, <http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/web-doesnt-belong-to-net-libertarians/story-0-1111118869227>.
Shah, DV, Faber, RJ & Youn, S 1999, Susceptibility and severity: Perceptual
dimensions underlying the third-person effect, Communication
Research, vol. 26, no. 2, pp. 240 – 267.
Wang, C 2003, ‘Internet Censorship in the United States: stumbling blocks to the Information Age’, IFLA Journal, vol. 29, no. 3, pp. 213 – 219.