Are Your Kids at Risk for Second-hand Porn?

I remember the days, especially in the summer, when I’d pack up my kids and we’d all go to the library to check out books. Our local branch felt like a haven filled with familiar stacks of books, magazines and videos. Sadly, in some areas that has all changed. Kids are not safe from pornography exposure at libraries.

Let’s look at it this way.

Imagine entering a library only to discover that several of the patrons are smoking. The haze hangs thick in the air and your kids begin to cough. Your son, who suffers with asthma, struggles to breathe. The health consequences of inhaling second-hand smoke are well documented. The 2006 Surgeon General’s Report indicates that “there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Breathing even a little secondhand smoke can be harmful to your health.” 

Although there are no federal laws that ban smoking, many states and counties have enacted laws to protect its citizens from the dangers of second hand smoke.  Some states even have laws that prohibit smoking in personal cars or homes if there are children present.

But what about the dangers of second-hand pornography?

Recently, a mother in a Washington state library complained to a librarian because a patron of the library was viewing porn on a public computer. The librarian told the mother that they didn’t censor patron’s internet use, so in other words if she did not want her child exposed to second-hand porn, she should not bring her children to the library.

What???

Currently, there are no laws that protect children from exposure to second-hand porn.  Although the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) requires libraries receiving federal funds must install filters for minors using the computer, anyone age 17 or older may use a non-filtered computer. Therefore, if a library patron chooses to view pornography, other patrons of the library (including children) may be exposed.

Recent research shows that pornography is harmful to children’s growing brains.  Exposing children to second-hand pornography, like exposing them to second-hand smoke, puts children at risk for real harm.

Parents need to be aware of the dangers of second-hand porn at the library. My hope is that as these dangers become well-known, legal remedies may be put in place to allow libraries to be safe again for children.

One thought on “Are Your Kids at Risk for Second-hand Porn?

  1. This is a very important issue! I know things can change as more people become aware the issue of second hand pornography. I wonder what it will take for library policies to change?

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