DOPA is an iceberg theory fix that simply fails to look at ways to actually address the root of the problems. Simply banning social networks doesn’t actually fix anything and is based on inaccurate assumptions.
First, it generalizes the problem to public systems, as if children only get into trouble at school or the library. Children will use these social networks at home, and some parents will not watch them.
Next, it also assumes that censorship actually works at protection. Censorship only tried to hide the issue and drive it underground. That doesn’t mean the problems don’t continue to exist.
Furthermore, sometimes the children themselves are also setting themselves up; creating accounts that claim they’re over 18 and posting scantly clad pictures of themselves. I would love to think of children as angels but, frankly, I remember middle school and am well aware that the loss of innocence started then.
DOPA puts the blame on networks, not the users. Its the guns don’t kill people argument. Technically accurate as these networks require the participation of the individual. Social networks are not the culprit.
As much as these reasons play a factor in my disagreement with DOPA there is actually a much bigger issue that makes me dislike it. The use of bully-tactics to put it in effect.
Supposedly, public systems have a choice of whether to implement DOPA or not. But if libraries and schools do not comply to DOPA they will be ineligible for certain funds and grants. So, really, the “choice” of whether or not a library uses DOPA is based on dichotomy and doesn’t actually give a choice to many public systems who desperately rely on these monies to keep afloat.
Can you say “forced conservatism?”
So how can a school or library look at more effective ways of addressing social network issues?
In a computer club, perhaps a social network could be used as a learning experience with the students. Teachers and librarians could show children how to create a “safe” chat-room. Maybe even the kids would be able to have a discussion on ways we could make the social networks safer.
In other words, educate and have the children think critically.