Public Libraries Providing Access to Porn

Posted on November 22, 2013 in Family, Public Policy by

public libraryImagine taking your kids to the public library. While some might think public libraries are obsolete in the age of the Internet, many people still go and libraries are a valuable asset to any neighborhood. Now suppose you’ve taken your kids to visit the library on a beautiful, sunny day to enjoy looking at books and other activities. You walk your kids through the library, hand in hand, discussing what kind of books they will look at when, to your horror, you see…

Someone on one of the library computers is looking at porn!

This is just not a scenario out of a parent’s worst nightmare; this is a real-life scenario taking place in libraries around the country. A recent case involves a library in Orland Park, Illinois, where residents are asking the library to install filters on public computers to block access to pornography. Some however are concerned that such filters violate free speech rights and insert more government into the lives of Americans.

It’s encouraging to hear that parents around this public library are asking for filters on the computers located within reach of young kids. In a hyper-sexualized society where children are often caught in the crosshairs of marketers and advertisers, parents must be vigilant in protecting their kids. It seems the concerns of parents are at least causing the public library to reconsider its policy of no filters on the computers.

While I understand the first amendment concerns some might have, we have to ask the question if public computers in view of children are an appropriate place for porn. If the answer to that question is yes, then why don’t strippers dance on public streets? Why aren’t pornographic movies shown at movie theaters around the country?

We don’t advocate for such absurdities because we recognize the harmful dangers of pornography and seek to protect children from it. If it is indeed “no big deal” why do pornographic websites seek to verify that users are eighteen years of age? If a person has to be eighteen years old to view porn online does a library computer in view of the general public meet that criteria?

It’s safe to say that allowing porn on public library computers violates the basic laws established to regulate the porn industry in order to safeguard children. That being the case the logical conclusion is to install filters that keep such content from being accidentally or intentionally accessed.

We also need to admit that allowing porn on public computers in the library creates a hostile environment for parents seeking to protect their children from that explicit content. It’s bad enough that our public schools are now mandating explicit sex-education beginning in Kindergarten. Parents already have a tough enough time guarding their kids from explicit content on television, in movies, music, and on their home computers. The last thing parents need is another venue in which they have to be concerned about the content their kids might run in to.

Anyone who has been addicted or had trouble with porn knows how serious of an issue it is. Some want to downplay the implications and act as if porn is a common place, everyday routine for everyone. Unfortunately that is nearly true and the outcome has been catastrophic. Let’s look at some statistics on porn use in America:

9 out of 10 boys were exposed to porn before age 18.
6 out of 10 girls were exposed to porn before age 18.
28% of 16-17 year olds have been unintentionally exposed to porn online.
15% of boys and 9% of girls have seen child pornography.
32% of boys and 18% of girls have seen bestiality online.
39% of boys and 23% of girls have seen sexual bondage online.
83% of boys and 57% of girls have seen group sex online.
69% of boys and 55% of girls have seen same-sex intercourse online
56% of divorce cases involved one party having an obsessive interest in pornographic websites.

Is it any wonder we live in a society where sex among teens is not merely average and rising, but considered normal and celebrated? The worldwide sex-trafficking industry is growing and we are now realizing that even in America sex-trafficking is a major industry. Pedophilia is on the rise as online porn makers increasingly cater to the “barely legal” crowds. These outcomes are all reality because pornography has become so readily available as a result of technological advances.

Has anyone ever considered that allowing people to access porn in public places, such as libraries, is akin to providing drugs to an addict? There can be no doubt that porn is addictive and some people fall victim to this addiction and risk ruining their lives. By providing a public space for these and others to access porn the library has become the “dealer” to those seeking their next “fix.”

A public library should not be a place where parents have to worry about what their kids might see on the computer. It should not be a place that enables addiction that ultimately destroys marriages and families.

And while I am a staunch defender of the First Amendment and heartily believe in the rights enumerated in the Constitution, at times we must exercise moral common sense. Those that say restricting access to pornography in a public library infringes on people’s rights would certainly not advocate for sex shows on public streets; they would say “get a room.” The reason is that some things, though legally protected, are not permissible in public.

Just as it is not permissible for a couple to engage in sex acts in public, neither should it be legal for a person to access images and videos of people engaging in sex acts on a public computer. There really is no difference.

Hopefully the Orland Park library will get this one right and see the need and wisdom in installing filters to protect children from being exposed to pornography and keep the library from being a hostile environment for those who oppose porn.

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