Can software be developed that would allow such material to be screened away from children?

Please read the following case study (Cyberporn: The Current Controversy). Upon completion, please answer the questions following the case study. Make sure your answers are well synthesized and grammatically correct. Your case study should be at least 4-5 pages long. You may not submit Google Docs. Student may receive a zero for failing to comply. No late assignments will be accepted. Late assignments will receive a zero. Failure to do so may result in a zero on the assignment and repeated failure to comply on quizzes or assignments may result in an “F” in the course.
The Communications Decency Act of 1995 attempted to keep “obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy or indecent” material off the Internet (Levy, 1995). Legal challenges arose immediately because the law was so broad and so vague that uploading some classic literary works would become felonies, as would distributing certain information about contraception and abortion. The central question was whether cyberspace should be as controlled as radio and television, or as free as telephones, magazines, newspapers, and private conversations. Cyberspace experts point out that the Internet is more comparable to a river of ongoing conversation among 30 million computers and thus should not and cannot be subject to the same restrictions as other electronic media.
Trading sexually explicit images is one of the largest recreational uses of computer networks. (Yet such images constitute only 3 percent of all messages on Usenet newsgroups). Because standard pornography is so easily available elsewhere, “specialty” materials are in greater demand on the Internet. Paraphilic images, especially those involving pedophilia, sadomasochism, and bestiality, are common. Most of the images are simply taken from preexisting print sources, but now these are available in one’s own home. Knowledge of children’s heavy involvement with computers has led some child molesters to use this means to contact children. But how should children be protected from such material? Is parental guidance enough? Can software be developed that would allow such material to be screened away from children?
In June 1996, a federal three-judge panel produced a 175-page memorandum (it appeared online within minutes) extending free-speech protections to cyberspace. The decision noted that because the Internet is in its infancy, still evolving, and one of the most democratic of communications channels, it probably deserved even greater free-speech protection than broadcast and print media (Nadler & Fong, 1996). They came to this conclusion after spending several weeks surfing around the Net alone and under the guidance of experts. They searched for pornography and tested programs that allow parents to screen or block certain materials. They concluded that parents, not government, should take responsibility for limiting their children’s access to materials on the Net. To protect children, the panel called for voluntary content rating by PICS (Platform for Internet Content Selection) as well as filtering and blocking software. SurfWatch and Canada’s Net Nanny are examples of such software. Groups representing social and religious conservatives vowed to continue their fight for increased restrictions.
In 1997, the U.S. Supreme Court declared the Communications Decency Act to be unconstitutional and a serious threat to free speech. Noting the tremendously democratic potential of the Internet as a forum where every citizen’s voice can be heard, the Court concluded that communications on the Internet deserve the highest level of protection. After learning how to surf the Internet, the Supreme Court Justices determined that the Internet is not as invasive as radio or television and that there are other ways to protect children from the pornography on the Internet. The Court found, in particular, that it is extremely difficult to “accidentally” encounter pornography on the Internet (Levy, 1997).
Critical Thinking Questions:
How do you feel about cyberporn? What do you think about this study? What do you think about the Supreme Court ruling? Do you believe cyberporn is harmful to children? Why or why not? Do you believe Cyberporn is harmful to adults? Why or why not?

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