Today more than ever we must pay attention to the images that we intake everyday. Whether they be in TV, movies, magazines or newspapers, we must be able to filter those images that send negative and inappropriate messages to our minds. In an attempt to counter the images we see on computer screens, the Children’s Internet Protection Act, signed by former President Clinton, mandates that public libraries which receive E-rate funding must install filters on Internet access.

That’s a great idea, especially in public places like elementary schools and high schools. Children and teens should not be able to explore Web sites that can warp and altar their minds with images such as acts of hate and the creation of giant explosives. But how about filters that actually filter out harmful materials and not constitutional matter? For example, if filters were on computers at my university, to look up information on Dick Van Dyke would be difficult because of the words "dick" and "dyke." The filters are word-sensitive and not specifically sensitive to adult Web sites.

With all the technology in the world, you would think that filters could be created that would understand the difference between research and premeditated destruction. Yes, it’s true that you type in the information and the browser just brings back what matches the search, but can’t a browser differentiate between Web sites that have a dancing Dick Van Dyke and those that have a dancing... you get the idea.

The filter could just be built with a sensor that reads the Web sites that have inappropriate material. The site has to be registered for the information it contains, so the filters could read the sites’ address and bar people from looking at it. Yes, we are in world and should be able to view whatever we choose, even if it may be immoral and arouse some personal urges. But what about the younger viewers of the Internet? Why should they be able to look at offensive material? Should they be able to create an explosive similar to the one used in the Oklahoma city bombing.

The filters are a good idea, but their creation appears to be very rash and crude. They give off the impression of being thrown together without taking into account the barriers created to research on a computer. The information is out there. We need to protect ourselves from inappropriate materials. But that is our choice. If Internet research in public places is going to be filtered, then they must be done so in a more intelligent way.

We do not have filters, but it would be nice to know you could enter a computer lab, sit down and do some research, without worrying about the guy next to you gyrating in his seat. And we don’t mean over the latest Star Wars trailer. Filters lose their purpose when they block out appropriate material because they share a same word. Unfortunately the filters are obsolete before they can make their mark.

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