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Reasons cited for censorship of internet content

Internet Content Why Ought Not To Be Regulated?

Censorship has been applied across the world with the intention of regulating access to internet content. Various nations and agencies have cited various reasons as to why there is an urgent need to control media content in the modern world. One of the reasons cited as being behind censorship is the need to prevent children from gaining access to harmful internet content such as “video games.” This is a feature which allows users of the internet to download and play games on their computers and mobile phones.

With the introduction of online betting, video games have been modified to allow people to place bets and play the games to win cash. This feature also allows people to watch and play games such as wrestling while at the same time, an individual can play other important games such as scrabble, chase among others. The internet has various video games application which can be downloaded and saved on the smart phones. The video games feature also allows the individual to view the most popular and most downloaded games among internet users. Moreover, the user has access to instructions on how to play the new game, how to earn points as well as how to win and in some games how to management danger especially in the games that entail fighting.


The use of this feature by children has raised concerns over the world. Among the reasons cited as being behind the call for censorship on access to internet content is the fact that children waste a lot of time playing the video games instead of doing other constructive chores. The games are addictive and make children to abandon their books for the sake of playing thereby registering poor academic grades. Another reason behind the call for censorship on access to the internet content is the fact that the modern child is increasingly becoming lazy and careless (Gorman, 2007). This is because they spend a lot of time playing the video games leaving no time for engaging into live activities that might enable them develop their skills such as playing soccer as well as participating in doing household chores which might help shape their future life. Similarly, those calling for regulating access to internet content maintain that through the video games feature, children are exposed to violent internet content which if allowed to continue will lead to a future generation of violent personalities since they are exposed to the violence in the video games. Furthermore, with the recent introduction of online betting, access to video games exposes children to gambling.

Why censorship is not the solution

 Introduction of live online betting has seen online live betting incorporated in the video games played by the children (Weber,2010). This exposes children to online gambling which may end up destroying their future lives as some end up dropping out of school due to exposure to easy betting money. There are ethical issues that surround online gambling among children caused by their exposure to the internet. Before doing an analysis of the ethical issues surrounding online gambling, a definition of gambling is offered. Gambling entails placing money as stake on an event whose outcome is not known with the hope of the event turning out in your favour and allowing one to win money or material goods at the end of the event.  Online gambling on the other hand entails gambling via the internet. Some of the games available on the internet for online gambling include, Bingo, Sports betting, Lotteries, Horse racing betting, Casinos among others. Online gambling according to those advocating for censorship of internet content to bar children from accessing the feature of video games that exposes them to online gambling destroys the future of the child.

Through online gambling, children are exposed to easy money hence encouraging them to drop out of schools. The vice according to those against it is addictive and could encourage children to engage in other evil acts such as theft in order to raise money to use on online gambling (Speta, 2009). However, I hold a contrary opinion to that held by the various nations of the world over control of internet content. I strongly believe that the internet content ought not to be controlled. Control of the internet content will seriously jeopardise the gains made over the years as a result of freedom by all across the world to access the internet and have their stories shared. Today, it is easy to publish information and have it accessed easily throughout the world within a matter of seconds due to the freedom of the internet.

Regulating use of internet content raises ethical questions. For instance, accounting to utilitarianism, an action is deemed ethical if it serves the interest of all parties. Regulating the use of internet content with the intention of denying children access to video games as a way to bar them from online gambling is unethical according to this theory (Brickell, 2012). Through online gambling, children who get lucky manage to win money which they use to satisfy their basic needs. Some of the money and material goods gained from gambling is used for good courses. Hence censoring access to the internet content will deny the children a chance to meet their interests.

Promotion of responsible gambling and safe internet use


Most governments put up restrictions to the use of the internet contents for its own interest hence end up using its citizens as a means to an end therefore according to the Kantian categorical imperative, regulation of access to internet content is unethical. This ethical theory maintains that people should never be treated as a means to an end but rather as an end in themselves (Shety, et al. 2010). Hence instead of regulating access to internet content, people should be allowed to exercise freedom in the use of the internet contents

From the ethical point of view, it is therefore not right to censor access to internet content as means to bar children from accessing video games and stop them from online gambling. Instead, mechanisms should be put in place to promote responsible gambling and playing of other video games.

Today, there are adequate software to be used to block access by children to internet contents meant for adults. Moreover, the available software does not only apply to children content (Bowie & Jamal, 2006). Today, software are available that can be used to promote safe internet shopping and hence reduce evils such as fraud. For instance, one can use effective anti-virus software tools that are available in an attempt to make activities such as online shopping sessions safe for use by human beings across the world. I therefore strongly hold the opinion that instead of putingt up measures geared towards regulating access to the internet, the society should be educated on the safe as well as unsafe habits on the internet to make them cautious while using the internet than regulating.

 Barring children from using the internet on the pretext that they will be exposed to harmful content will end up denying children an opportunity to access the positive side of the internet which fortunately is more than the negative sides. Such a move will deny the children a chance to access good lessons that come along due to access and use of the internet (Goldsmith & Wu, 2006). Moreover, whereas the government may deem some internet content inappropriate and want to regulate it, the same content may be of significant for use to online writers as well as researchers hence regulating it may deny a chance of using the same information for good courses by the relevant persons (Ballon & Van Heesvelde, 2011).

It would be argued from the human rights point of view that blocking access to certain sites is an abuse to the right of human beings to have access to information which is provided for under the United Nations Charter on Human Rights. Moreover, some sites which might be viewed by the government to be inappropriate might be a good source of leisure to the hardworking citizens therefore regulating such sites may deny the hardworking citizens a chance to enjoy their leisure time after hard work (Pasquale, 2008). In countries where regulation of access to internet content has been implemented, it has proved to be counterproductive. For instance, in the United States, regulation led to a closure of sites that are deemed essential for study by students thereby denying the students a chance to access crucial information that is essential for their studies.

The negative consequences of censorship


Education and sensitization of the society on safe use of the internet will not only make the internet a free territory but ensure that the users of the internet are protected from accessing harmful content on the internet (Mathiesen, 2013). Arguing in support of the need to sensitize the society on the responsible use of the internet content instead of regulation, Gaylord (1999) points out that providers of internet services should create and promote a culture of responsibility among the users of the internet through the establishment as well as ensuring that a code of conduct is implemented by all in the course of using the internet content. This will ensure that internet users Financial in responsible behaviour and access responsible content. This way, the internet users will not feel as if they are coerced to adhere to a certain way of life. Instead, the users of the internet will be responsible while using the internet and this will end up promoting a culture of responsibility within the society (Van Noort, et al. 2008).

 In conclusion, in coming up with measures meant to regulate access to internet content that is harmful to children, the governments should embrace measures which while reducing access to harmful content will encourage and promote internet use. Technology has more advantages than disadvantages to humanity hence any measure towards controlling access in the area of technology must be geared towards promoting the use of technology as opposed to regulating its use by human beings (Solomon, 2010)

References

Areheart, B. A. (2011). Regulating Cyberbullies Through Notice-Based Liability.

Ballon, P., & Van Heesvelde, E. (2011). ICT platforms and regulatory concerns in Europe. Telecommunications Policy, 35(8), 702-714.

Bowie, N. E., & Jamal, K. (2006). Privacy rights on the internet: self-regulation or government regulation?. Business Ethics Quarterly, 16(03), 323-342.

Brickell, C. (2012). Sexuality, power and the sociology of the internet. Current Sociology, 60(1), 28-44.

Goldsmith, J., & Wu, T. (2006). Who controls the Internet?: illusions of a borderless world. Oxford University Press.

Gorman, G. E. (2007). A tale of information ethics and encyclopaedias; or, is Wikipedia just another Internet scam?. Online Information Review, 31(3), 273-276.

Mathiesen, K. (2013). The Internet, children, and privacy: the case against parental monitoring. Ethics and Information Technology, 15(4), 263-274. Moe, H. (2008). Public service media online? regulating public broadcasters' internet Services—A comparative analysis. Television & New Media, 9(3), 220-238.

Pasquale, F. A. (2008). Internet nondiscrimination principles: commercial ethics for carriers and search engines.

Shetty, N., Schwartz, G., & Walrand, J. (2010). Internet QoS and regulations. IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking (TON), 18(6), 1725-1737.

Solomon, J. M. (2010). New Governance, Preemptive Self-Regulation, and the Blurring of Boundaries in Regulatory Theory and Practice.

Speta, J. B. (2009). The Shaky Foundations of the Regulated Internet.

Van Noort, G., Kerkhof, P., & Fennis, B. M. (2008). The persuasiveness of online safety cues: The impact of prevention focus compatibility of Web content on consumers’ risk perceptions, attitudes, and intentions. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 22(4), 58-72.

Weber, R. H. (2010). Shaping internet governance: Regulatory challenges (Vol. 46). Springer Science & Business Media.

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