Maybe, but here’s my thinking- as succinctly as I can describe it.
Yes, in theory, it would be great to have these decisions made at the local level, as Dwight suggests. The thing is, though, that I simply don’t trust the local educators to make the right decision. Plus, I know that kids are very, very clever when it comes to getting around obstacles to their desires, and if the blocking was done on some ad hoc basis, kids would find a way around it within the first day.
Let’s say it was handled on the local level, and let’s say that the principal at my kids’ school decided that since her kids are so responsible and all, that she would trust them to police themselves. I know that’s not going to work. So what would my choices be? To gut it up and deal with it or yank my kids out of the school they love and move them somewhere else? What if the principal at the new school leaves in a year and the new one changes the policy?
What if changing schools is not financially or geographically feasible?
Again, I simply don’t trust local educators to make the right decision every time. Particular when it comes to technology. And I’m unwilling to cede control to them to that degree, regardless of whether they see things my way or not. If you accept the fact that kids shouldn’t be hanging out on MySpace at school, then there is no compelling argument against HR 5319.
Now, if I could conceive of one good reason why a kid should be on MySpace at school, then maybe I’d have second thoughts. But I can’t. Not for a second.
So while there is some paternalism going on here, on both my and the legislators’ part, the overriding good of protecting our kids far outweighs the mild fear that this is the fist step in some Orwellian plan to take away all of our rights.
Kids shouldn’t be on MySpace at school. Kids don’t always know what’s good for them.
The MySpace Law is a good thing that will make schools safer and more productive for our kids.
P.S. Although I suspect he will line up on Dwight’s side of the debate, I really want to hear Seth Finkelstein‘s thoughts on this.
Update: As he mentioned in a comment, Seth posted his thoughts and, as always, makes a lot of good points. I hadn’t thought of the Republicans vs Fox angle, but that might just prove to be a very interesting by-product of this debate. Having said that, if the vote was 410-15, a bunch of Democrats must have voted for it too.