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It's Bigger than Google

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The United States government wants to know what you Google.

By now, the details are well-known: the Justice Department subpoenaed the company (along with three others --AOL, Microsoft, and Yahoo) for data on what people search for on the Web, supposedly as part of an eight-year battle over a federal law designed to keep children from internet pornography. Google doesn 't want to play ball.

Cry me a river.

Many of you probably think Google is being irresponsible in its refusal. Many are definitely worried about setting precedent for future government intrusion, especially after the illegal wiretapping scandal broke out recently. Quite a few more think that there will be too much information for the feds to ever sift out much of consequence.

Here 's what I think: where are the parents?

You see, schools with computer networks are able to keep students from viewing inappropriate online materials. Your ten-year old can 't walk into 7-11 with ten bucks and walk out with Penthouse. Home computers are tricky. Many Internet service providers have options that allow parents to control what content can be accessed on the web, but these can be easily bypassed by our techno-savvy preschoolers. However, there are these two amazing things almost all of us have at our disposal to keep our kids away from seeing things they shouldn 't --they 're called eyes.


I know, it 's revolutionary to expect us to actually pay attention to what our kids are doing online. In this age of single parent homes and 3rd shift scheduling and slave wages that don 't pay for after-school programs, who can really afford to take care of their children?

And good God, who wants to pay more taxes so those kids whose parents can 't afford to pay can do something constructive with their after-school time instead of sitting online or watching television?

The thing is, as parents, we are responsible for our children 's well being. Google isn 't responsible, and the government isn 't responsible. And Washington doesn 't really want to crack down on the availability of pornography --a $2.5 billion industry is good for the economy.

I find it fascinating that our Republican-dominated government, we are constantly being asked to accept more and more government interference in our lives. Silly me, but I thought the left was the side of mother-government, not the right ...

The truth is, unless you want to support raising taxes to pay for things like after-school programs and free childcare for those who can 't afford it, and unless you want to support raising wages so parents can be home in time to watch their kids after soccer practice instead of working, your kids are going to do a lot of things you 'd rather they didn 't. And believe me, no law is going to keep them from it. American kids have been drinking and doing drugs and having sex and doing any of a number of things that are either illegal, immoral, or both, for many years, and until we truly value their lives and the lives of their parents, this won 't change.

All the Christian revivals in the world won 't change that, and neither will knowing if some twelve-year old boy in Idaho Googled Ron Jeremy because he heard the name on his bus home from school.

The only thing that can change what our kids do when they are alone is not leaving them alone.

 

Katherine Brengle is a freelance writer and activist.

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