GA Senate Seeks To Ban The Internet (From Kids)

Yet more idiot-based legislation is making its way through our Senate chambers. A few dopes think we can’t teach our kids about the Internets on our own, so they’ll just take it away – with Senate Bill 59:

A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Chapter 9 of Title 16 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to forgery and fraudulent practices, so as to provide definitions; to provide that it shall be illegal for the owner or operator of a social networking website (Facebook, MySpace, whatever!) to allow a minor using a protected (huh?) computer to create or maintain a profile web page on a social networking website without the permission of the minor’s parent or guardian and without providing such parent or guardian access to such profile web page; to provide for penalties; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

Why stop there? They can write-in even more nonsense to this ridiculous waste of trees above. How about an ultrasound for Twitter before a teen can log on to that!

49 comments

  1. Doug Deal says:

    Space,

    Forcing companies to get parental consent before allowing MINORS to access their site is wrong?

    You need parental consent to drive, to go on a field trip to the sciece museum and to see a rated R movie.

    Way to stand firm on the right side of things!!!

  2. StevePerkins says:

    Yawn… unless the website is hosted here in Georgia, then this deals with commerce among the states, and is thus more or less out of the reach of state-level legislation (talk to the Feds). The only likely effect of such a law is that technology companies would no longer set up shop in Georgia (bye-bye desirable jobs!).

    Either this legislator is technology-illiterate / constitutionally-illiterate, or he is pandering to constituents who are technology-illiterate / constitutionally-illiterate. Nothing more to see here, move along.

  3. Bill Simon says:

    F*cking idiot(s) in the Senate.

    Between Johnson and Staton, I really cannot figure out which has more empty space between their ears.

    THIS is the “cream” of our state? Moron-city.

  4. Doug Deal says:

    Bill and Steve,

    I agree with the two of you that it is probably unconstitutional, as they would be limiting the commerce taking place in another state, but my reaction was to Spacey. Parents getting involved in the lives of their children and guiding their access to information is not “taking the internet away”.

    Networking sites should require parental consent. It is virtually impossible for a state government to enforce laws in that regard, but an ethical business enterprise should not try to circumvent parental authority anyway.

  5. rightofcenter says:

    Bill et al,
    Get a grip. The intent of this bill is right on. It does not ban kids from the internet, it just requires a minimal level of parental involvement. As a parent of pre-teens and a teenager, I applaud it.

    The constitutional side I’ll leave for you lawyers. But

  6. StevePerkins says:

    Doug, what is it particularly about social networking sites that you feel requires parental consent? I don’t care what hype anyone throws out there, these sites are nothing more than a contemporary twist on the old message-board sites that have been around 15 years now. You compare them to Rated R movies, but I fail to see how that comparison is warranted. Most major sites that I know require users to confirm being 13 or up when registering an account, so they apparently see themselves as “PG-13” and I agree with that. Sure, you could lie when giving that confirmation, but you could lie about parental consent just as well.

    I’m genuinely curious as to what it is about social networking sites that has people lumping them in with porn and hate-speech sites. Is it pedophilia? Your kid is not going to establish a sexual relationship with an older stranger unless they are DEEPLY lonely and disturbed… meaning that you as a parent is either seriously neglecting them, or actively abusing them yourself to create that situation.

    Is it concern that your teenage will post inappropriate photos of themselves online? All the major sites I’m aware of are pretty good about taking down images with nudity almost immediately after their posted.

    Or is it just a generational thing… where older people automatically rail against things that are really popular with younger people but which they older folks don’t understand or relate to? To me, you sound a lot like an Atlanta City Counselman babbling about people wearing baggy jeans that show boxers. You sound very convinced yourself, but haven’t put out any actual reasons for it.

  7. Jace Walden says:

    Right of Center,

    Do you think the State Senate is qualified to mandate what a “minimal” level of parental involvement is?

    The vast majority of kids who use these sites don’t get picked up on “To Catch a Predator” or anything like that because they have parents who do monitor them to some degree.

    Why punish parents and kids by creating some artifical “minimum” that parents must adhere to?

    Oh yeah, because the sponsor of this bill is a big-goverment right-wing christian collectivist. How stupid of me to ask.

  8. Doug Deal says:

    Steve,

    Have you ever been on this thing the kids call the internet?

    It is a pedophiles dream. My own child is not born yet, but I have a huge collection of nieces, nephews, great-nieces and, great nephews. They range from the anti-social types to very well-behaved. Pretty much all of them that have gotten involved with MySpace have been up to things that children should not be doing.

    I helped my sister fix her home network and both of her computers when the activities of her son overloaded her computers with spyware and actual viruses. Anyway, I was sent up to her sons room and he had an AIM conversation left open on his frozen computer from what looked to be an adult wanting him to send nude pictures. It was a contact that he made over Myspace.

    You are very naive to believe that the internet is anything other than fertile ground for child predators. It is a valuable tool for adults, and with proper supervision, it can have its uses for children. However, I think it is best to keep children away from the internet as much as possible.

  9. StevePerkins says:

    The vast majority of kids who use these sites don’t get picked up on “To Catch a Predator” or anything like that because they have parents who do monitor them to some degree.

    Actually, the vast majority of kids don’t get picked up by predators because they aren’t severely neglected or survivors of prior abuse.

    Let’s be honest. We were all teenagers once. Do think there was ANY possibility that you would have been seduced by an older male pedophile over a website… or is the only reason why you weren’t out bl*wing 50-year old guys as a teen was because your parents would have monitored your Internet usage? Give me a break. Kids are either setup to be victims or they aren’t… and if they ARE, it’s the parents who set them up in the first place, so good luck depending on them to fix things.

  10. Doug Deal says:

    Steve,

    Let’s be honest. We were all teenagers once. Do think there was ANY possibility that you would have been seduced by an older male pedophile over a website… or is the only reason why you weren’t out bl*wing 50-year old guys as a teen was because your parents would have monitored your Internet usage? Give me a break. Kids are either setup to be victims or they aren’t… and if they ARE, it’s the parents who set them up in the first place, so good luck depending on them to fix things.

    You need to spend some time around kids before you make such ilinformed statements. Children are not capable of putting things into perspective. It is why they aren’t entitled to make serious life decisions until they are 18.

  11. Jace Walden says:

    Doug,

    I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid I had enough perspective to know that blowing 50-year old guys and hooking up with perverts was not in my best interest.

    I guess kids these days are different.

  12. StevePerkins says:

    No kidding, Jace. But I guess we’re “ilinformed” (sic) about such things because we haven’t had the experience of seeing a porno pop-up ad on our nephew’s computer yet. Once that happens, I’ll be better prepared to discuss whether normal teenage guys have enough perspective to refrain from blowing middle-age men after baseball practice.

  13. Doug Deal says:

    Steve,

    Wow, what a comeback. As always, when someone loses an argument on a blog, attack spelling. It was laziness on my part, as I just type as quickly as i can, then run through spell check, but hit submit instead.

    However, unless people made such insignificant errors, how would you ever feel like you ever won an argument on PP?

    I seriously hope that you do not have and never have kids of your own. The attitude that you demonstrate here is how so many juvenile monsters develop.

  14. Doug Deal says:

    Jace,

    So you have never done anything on your own that in retrospect you would not judge now to be a bad choice of action?

    It is like those drunk-driving commercials which show obviously drunk people with the voice over saying something like “everyone can recognize when you had way too much to drive”. It is when you are “buzzed” when it is dangerous.

    The issue is not all “blowing 50 year olds”, as you so eloquently put it. It is about 13 year olds pretending to be 18 year olds and exposing themselves to the garbage (which is what MySpace is, through and through) that is inappropriate for minors without parental consent.

    If you ever had a 13 year old daughter, what would you think of her communicating sexual themes with an 18 year-old? What if in the certainty of youth, she decided this was her one true and only love? Do you let her then continue communicating with him?

    Do either you or Steve believe that parents should have any oversight of their children’s activities?

  15. jsm says:

    I agree with what this bill is trying to do. However, I would imagine that a parent would have a legal right to a minor child’s myspace account already. It just seems that getting the access via a lawsuit would not feasibly be a timely course of action.

    The freedoms we enjoy in this country do not extend directly to children, but through their parents or guardians, with obvious exceptions for intervention in abusive situations.

    Social networking sites should provide access for parents to their children’s accounts. You’d think they would do this without government having to make it an issue.

  16. Jace Walden says:

    Doug, I still do and say stuff that I regret. Almost on a daily basis. Perhaps I need some parental supervision?

    Of course I think parents should have oversight. I’m going to say something that will absolutely blow your mind: THEY ALREADY HAVE OVERSIGHT!!!! They don’t need permission from the State Senate to monitor their child’s internet use.

    If I had a 13 year old that was communicating sexual themes with an 18 year old, I would bust her ass! It’s called parental responsibility.

    A bill like this doesn’t promote parental responsibility, it undermines it. It’s pretty damn simple for a parent to take something away (in this case the internet) from their kids without big-government republicans sticking their noses into it.

    What’s next?

  17. Jace Walden says:

    Doug,

    I know your next point is going to sound something like, “What if the child refuses to give his/her parents his password?”

    Here’s how that scenario would play out in a household in which the parents are in charge:

    Dad: Give me your password.

    Kid: No.

    Dad: [begins to remove belt] I’m going to count to three.

    Kid: Dad!

    Dad: One…Two…

    Kid: Okay, okay, okay, it’s SexCrzdkid013! Please don’t beat me again!!!

    Dad: Next time when I tell you to do something, you don’t give me any lip. Got it?

    Kid: Yes sir.

    Problem solved.

  18. Hank Reardan says:

    Doug Deal
    maybe people who can not control thier kids should not be able yo buy a computer in the first place.
    I have a young child and I do not have theses proplems because I keep up with what she is doing.
    What we are asking is for is these companies to do the parents jobs because they are not up to it.
    It is funny how some people want smaller government except when it comes thier pet projects

    .

  19. StevePerkins says:

    Doug, obviously parents should exercise oversight of their children’s activities, no one is disputing that. The only point that Jace and I have made is that it’s silly for Nanny Government to insert itself in the middle. On a practical level, the state of Georgia doesn’t have the power to do this, and vain attempts to try would only push desirable jobs and tax revenue out of the state. Even if such a law were enacted on a Federal level, it would be a trivial thing to circumvent (i.e. is there a person in the country who hadn’t seen a Rated R film prior to turning 17?)

    It SOUNDS like we’re all in agreement that this law is constitutionally ineffective, and it also SOUNDS like we’re all in agreement that decent parents should keep an eye on their kids. I’m not 100% certain where the disagreement actually is… other than perhaps you believing that every teenager can be seduced by pedophiles, whereas I believe that this usually occurs only when the child has faced severe neglect or prior abuse. I do not yet have children of my own, but I grew up in a less-than-ideal environment, have done a good deal of volunteer work, and am more knowledgeable on this issue than I care to discuss on an open blog. Feel free to email if you care to debate that particular point further.

    Since the normal-teenagers-drawn-to-pedophiles argument wasn’t attracting too many buyers, you’ve started backpedaling to talk about 13-yr old girls flirting with 18-yr old guys. I’m sure that this thought would make me upset if I had a daughter. However, realistically speaking this is what they do REGARDLESS… they don’t need a website for that. Whether you like it or not, you pretty much have to deal with the fact that a daughter regularly communicates sexual themes with guys you would rather her not, and you usually never know about it. As for when she “falls for him”, and believes he’s her “one true and only love”, well obviously a dad steps in once an inappropriate situation evolves into a relationship that comes to the dad’s attention. Duh.

  20. Doug Deal says:

    Jace,

    It is not unreasonable to require people to seek parental consent before dealing with minor children. In fact it is the custom and law in the US. If a child enters into a contract, it is not legally binding on him, and would only be legally binding on parents if they agreed to and signed the contract.

    You might do and say things as an adult that you may regret later, but you have to suffer the consequences of those actions. Children do not have the capacity, intellectually or emotional to make decisions that they might have to pay a lifetime for. So, they are a protected class. I think that protection is an important part of civilized society.

    It was extreme views regarding “freedom”, such as this, that convinced me to permanently disassociate myself from the Libertarian party, despite my very strong libertarian beliefs.

  21. jsm says:

    If I had a 13 year old that was communicating sexual themes with an 18 year old, I would bust her ass! It’s called parental responsibility.

    What if you don’t know about it? Kids can access the internet from places other than home.

  22. StevePerkins says:

    Social networking sites should provide access for parents to their children’s accounts. You’d think they would do this without government having to make it an issue.

    You make this sound simple and obvious… but how are you supposed to verify that you are so-and-so’s parent? What if I email Erick and say I’m “jsm”‘s Dad, please give me full access to “jsm”‘s account? What in the world is Erick supposed to do from there… take my word for it and give me the keys to your account? Or do you want to turn signing up for a website account into a process similar to a mortgage application, where you have to provide Social Security #’s and so forth to try sorting out this technical nightmare?

    You want access to your kid’s account? Ask him for his password. If he gives it to you, problem solved. If he doesn’t, then take away his computer and impose any other restrictions necessary. Presto… there’s your parental access to children’s accounts. Can’t people take personal responsibility for ANYTHING in their lives, rather than calling for corporate and government restrictions on a knee-jerk basis?!?

  23. John Konop says:

    This seems like an enforcement nightmare. I have a teenager and 7 year old, you can buy software that monitors your kids. My wife and I have limited access to our TV via the station monitoring software.

    But at the end you cannot legislate parenting skills. And both parties keep giving us big government solution like No Child Left Behind which waste money and make the problem worse.

    I hope this legislation is not another program that increases cost, waste money and does not solve the problem.

  24. Jace Walden says:

    Doug,

    If parents want to give their kids consent to get on MySpace, they can. There is no law preventing it. What exactly this law is trying to accomplish is very, very unclear. It is as Steve said, “Either this legislator is technology-illiterate / constitutionally-illiterate, or he is pandering to constituents who are technology-illiterate / constitutionally-illiterate.”

    If you believe that its the government’s job to protect children from every possible thing imaginable, then perhaps your “very strong” beliefs aren’t as libertarian as you would like to believe.

    Parents have the ability to monitor what their children look at. They don’t need the government to look over their shoulders.

    It is extreme views of “selective freedom” such as yours that convinced me to permanently dissassiciate myself from the GOP, despite my very strong small-government beliefs.

  25. Doug Deal says:

    Steve,

    Yes, we are all in agreement that it is ineffectual, but my original reason to post on the thread was SpaceyG’s comment that this was basically taking the internet away. Which is just a greatly overstated case.

    Even though it is ineffectual, I do not think it is nanny state to codify the practice of requiring parental consent before initiating or continuing transactions with minors.

    I guess I am just a reactionary.

  26. Bill Simon says:

    Doug, ROCenter, et al.

    If you guys don’t recognize a freaking “Mommy-state” when you see one, you’re as ignorant as Cecil Staton.

    Live, let live, and let parents figure out how to be responsible parents on their own.

    As Steve Perkins pointed out, if the site is NOT hosted in Georgia, it doens’t matter.

    Staton and his fellow idiots like Eric Johnson think it’s up to the State of Georgia’s AG and DA financial resources to go across state lines to enforce these laws. There are NOT laws that would be proposed and passed by TRUE conservative-thinking people.

    Again, I say, F*CKING MORONS!

    As it was pointed out by

  27. Doug Deal says:

    Bill,

    Typical, you call anyone who disagrees with a moron. Seeing as how it is you who has failed to “get” every posted piece of sarcasm, joke or witicism in the history of PP, you speak with the authority of experience.

  28. jsm says:

    You make this sound simple and obvious… but how are you supposed to verify that you are so-and-so’s parent?

    So laws are good only if they are easy to implement? Somehow I missed that section of the Constitution. Since we’re so techonologically advanced in this country, this problem can be solved.

    Parents have the ability to monitor what their children look at. They don’t need the government to look over their shoulders.

    How many parents follow their kid to the school computer lab or the library? This has nothing to do with the gov’t watching over the parent. In fact, the school systems sometimes hinder the parent from knowing what’s going on in their children’s lives. While I understand the fact that this is really an interstate issue, these guys are trying to help parents gain access to a private world that some kids create via these sites–kids who are too young to make some of the choices they are faced with.

    As I said before, minor children’s rights are managed by their parents or guardians. The parents or guardians should be allowed access to every part of their lives.

  29. joltenjoe says:

    Most school systems have firewalls to block “social networking sites.”

    Let parents be parents. The more we allow the government to take the place of parents the closer to nanystatism we creep.

  30. joltenjoe says:

    Most school systems have firewalls to block “social networking sites.”

    Let parents be parents. The more we allow the government to take the place of parents the closer to nanystatism we creep.

  31. Doug Deal says:

    JJ,

    How is allowing a business to market it’s wares directly to children allowing “parents to be parents”.

    No one is forcing parents to act one way or another. If anything it is the networking sites that are short circuiting parental involvement.

  32. joltenjoe says:

    It is the job of the parent to see what their children are doing on-line.

    So what if a business is targeting kids? It is still the parents job to intercede.

    Republicans (and I am a conservative) believe that welfare creates more problems…

    Well, the goverment “keeping our children safe” (and I do put that in quotes) promotes the same type of problems.

    It creates the belief that government is there to solve problems.

    Democrats have their social programs.

    Republicans have their “keep us safe programs”

    Both create more government in our lives and thus less money in our pockets.

  33. nast says:

    Hogwash. Are you claiming that phone companies should be forced to verify that a minor has parental consent before allowing their phone call to go through? After all, they could making plans to meet up with the skeevy perv they met on My Space!

    The way I see it, the parental consent is given once the child is allowed access to an unmonitored, unsecured computer.

  34. Doug Deal says:

    nast,

    Your argument is nonsense. You have to agree to a usage agreement before signing up on one of those sites. A minor cannot legally give consent in a contract, so you are in effect in breach of the customer usage agreement. A phone call requires no such consent, so that is at least different.

    Also, a phone doesn’t give children the ability to have their personal information posted to people to anonymous browse looking for victims. There is an order of magnitude more invasion of privacy in a networking site.

    It seems that if it was up to you, it would be okay for the 50 y.o. pedophile as described by Jace to pick your kids up in their car and take them to get “candy”. Hey, you gave consent when you allowed them to leave the house.

    Too many of you apparently have never been around children, either as a parent, baby sitter, older brother/sister or aunt/uncle. Perhaps a product of being an only child of an only child?

    For those of you claiming that you are “Republicans” and this is somehow a big government program to get consent of a responsible party, then I suppose that you would have little complaint if someone borrowed your car, fed your dog, read your mail or ate your food without your consent. Afterall, it is that big nasty government program, law enforcement, that basically prevents these things in the first place. Forcing a business to get appropriate consent before performing an action to something/someone under the control of a customer is a legitimate power of the government.

  35. nast says:

    Actually, I’ve been around lots of kids. I have some of my own, to boot. And you better believe that I know what they’re capable of, and I know what I can and can’t trust them to do.

    Since they are at an age when I know I cannot trust them to go out on their own unsupervised and not get hurt or worse, then I don’t let them go out unsupervised. Simple. If I did, then that pretty much would be giving consent, and I would be liable for anything that happened to them. The law would certainly see it that way.

    If you can’t trust your child to go online and not give out personal information to cruising pedophiles, then you should not let your child go online unsupervised. If you do, you are willfully ignorant of the consequences.

    What does “parental consent” constitute? What does it protect? How does having such consent somehow prevent your own scenario of giving children “the ability to have their personal information posted to people to anonymously browse”? It doesn’t. It just means that the parents are aware that their kids may be doing stupid things. But as a parent, you should know that already.

    This is a proposal that will prove too costly for site vendors to implement and virtually impossible to enforce.

  36. Bill Simon says:

    Doug,

    I said you were ignorant if you could not recognize the bill for what it is. Staton is (and, for most of the time in the senate, has always been) a moron.

    Oh…and, if you would bother to work on cracking some really good sarcastic lines, I might laugh at them.

    So far, alas for you, only Rugby and Icarus have that skill to precisely deliver the right comments for me to recognize as pure genius in the humor realm.

  37. Bill Simon says:

    Now, you know what legislators SHOULD look at? Requiring the manufacturers of morning cereal to start taking out all the sugar in their cereal offerings.

    Talk about something that pushes parents to go buy, buy, buy a bunch of sugar-laden food so that Junior and Missy grow-up nice, FAT and with a whole lot of problems ranging from rotten teeth to hyperactivity, let’s see if gutsy Staton (who cares so much about the health and safety of the children) has any balls in this realm?

  38. StevePerkins says:

    Pretty much 100% of the replies on this thread acknowledge that this legislation would be completely ineffectual, but some still support “codifying” some vague principle that minors have zero right to make decisions. I’m paraphrasing (only slightly)… but basically the argument seems to be, “I know it’s a bad and unenforceable law, but I support it’s passage because I believe in the idea behind it.”

    If the law had no downside, then so be it. However, this bill would have the downside of discouraging technology companies from opening locations and creating jobs in Georgia. Balancing that downside is… wait for it… ZERO upside, because we all agree that it’s an ineffectual law. Based on this, I haven’t seen any serious arguments on this thread supporting the bill’s passage. A symbolic gesture makes little sense when it involves downside with absolutely no positive effects in return.

  39. Bill Simon says:

    Laws DO have downsides. Every new law adds a cost to government (either in the county DA’s office or AG’s office) to assign someone to prosecute it. That assignation causes a hole to be left for other investigations into existing laws…those holes are filled by adding budget dollars.

    Again, we have a bunch of f*cking stupid-ass morons representing themselves as “Republicans.” They are uneducated charlatans.

  40. rugby fan says:

    “Again, we have a bunch of f*cking stupid-ass morons representing themselves as ‘Republicans.’ They are uneducated charlatans.”

    Prose such as that is why I appreciate Bill. I remember, in 2006 I believe, there was a comment from Bill that read only “eat **** and die”.

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