Nov 4, 2006

Boys logged onto Myspace at the library

I'm at one of the LA County library branches in Mar Vista. It's a new building, great perks. Like free wi-fi, big tables with computer outlets, Perfect for a writer like me who needs to get away from it all to write.

Except I'm here on a Saturday, and there are kids. Lots of 'em. Kids who are screaming and squealing. Until the librarian comes over to tell them to please be quiet. Because librarians have the authority to do that: Tell someone to be quiet.

At the table in front of me are two kids with their skateboards. Probably between 11 and 13. They're logged on to the free computers where they get 15 minutes access at a time. They've been there the entire hour I'm here. Which is fine. No one is waiting so they can keep logging on.

But I'm right behind them and I can see they're on myspace. You aren't supposed to be on myspace if you're under 16. Also, one of the kids is on a myspace page and the background wallpaper is a dismembered doll head. The other is looking at a myspace page with pics of girls, probably his classmates, with captions like "this is me looking sexy." Another is of a girl reclining on her bed, legs spread open a bit. She doesn't need the caption.

I asked a librarian about it But 1) unless the kids' parents are there, they can't do anything about it. It's not the library's job to parent children, and in fact they can get in trouble. 2) It's public access, freedom of information. They don't censor.

Unless it were an adult looking at sexy pictures of minors. Then they can step in. But 12 year olds? No.

Well, unless the kids were being loud. Then the librarian could tell them to be quiet ... while they look at their classmates' soft core kiddie porn.

A friend of mine had two nieces with myspace pages. The girls were 10 and 14. Their father was OK with it. Which I guess is OK if you're there to monitor the kids. But what about when you're not? Under-age kids, mostly girls but boys as well, are being lured by "16 year old boys" in their area to some hang out. And they end up being old men predators. I was so worried about those nieces I emailed myspace. As far as I know, they never did anything.

Librarians in another state have filed suit against allowing patrons to browse porn sites at the library. They claim sexual harrassment: they're trying to do their jobs checking out books and they have to see hard core porn on computers. "Free speech," though.

Isn't there some common sense to apply here?

I love the fact I can come here to the library and use the facilities. And yes, and we have to protect the freedom of information and access. In some countries you're not allowed to have a Bible. Maybe it'll get like that here some day. Until then, I still get to read the Bible and log in and use the county's electricity. And 12 year old boys on skateboards can look at their classmates reclining on their beds with their legs spread.

I don't know about you, but that's not sexy. That's sad.


Anonymous said...

maxx and cole?? uh...not accurate. hope you're well.

Anonymous said...

Eh, I can't really say that I care about this all that much. I mean, I found my uncle's playboys when I was 12. My father's more graphic euro=porn when I was 13. I think I'm pretty well adjusted. Hasn't made me hate women or objectify them any more than I already do being a male that is visually biased.

Susan Isaacs said...

From Susan: Anonymous brings up a valid point. Everyone's curious about sex. But I hazard to guess that looking at pictures of anonymous women is different than pictures of your classmates. Plus, we have a huge epidemic of internet porn. It has damaged our psyches, the way we relate to real people. If nothing else, it gives people the excuse to develop fantasy lives with ficitonal people rather than have relationships with real people.

Further, why should librarians have to see that stuff at work? Librariand are rightfully filing suit that it's sexual harrassment. you don't go to the library for porn.

If you want to go look at porn, go to a porn shop or an internet porn cafe.

Susan Isaacs said...

My friend with the nieces logged on, I got some of the facts wrong, so I cut out that part of the story. Ker, I can't find your email ... please email me directly :P

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