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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Porn in Libraries

The debate of unrestricted access to porn in public libraries is back in the news. Some say that librarians should not be censors to public content available online. On the same side of this argument are those who say the library's so-called, "shoulder tap" policy that allows patrons to object to what others may be watching is also too restrictive. "Is there a problem here or do we have people who want to engage in censorship?" said American Civil Liberties Union.

Early in my career, I spoke at the American Library Association regarding this issue, hearing from many librarians who had to deal with men coming to the library to view porn offending other patrons. They also complained of not feeling comfortable in the role of censor. Feeling that this was not part of their job description.

The debate will surely continue. Not one ounce of doubt about that. The Internet is publicly accessible at a library, and should libraries be censoring any objectionable materials. It isn't just porn but hate sites or access to violent games, for example, may not be something that parents want their children to view. Given these issues, do you believe libraries should censor porn at public computers?

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Pathological Computer Use

Pathological Computer Use (PCU) is a proprosed diagnosis for the upcoming fifth edition of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V). PCU consists of excessive computer use, withdrawal, tolerance, and serious negative repercussions due to excessive computer use. The debate, to some extent, is in the term. Research has used Internet addiction, Problem Internet use, Pathological Internet use, heavy Internet use to describe the same behavior. As another opinion question, what term do you think best describes the problem?