(Read this and this.) So, again I have to praise Google! I'm really hating this "not doing evil" thing they've got going... *laugh* They are now the ONLY ones protecting us from the "government" trying to sneak their way into our lives again. America Online, Microsoft and Yahoo all buckled under, only one for which I had any respect left, but Google has refused to comply with their rather broad subpoena for "the records of the searches internet users are asking it to perform".
You know, I don't think the American government is really out to protect the children. What is really "harmful to minors" in terms of sexual content anyway? I mean, when we talk about hitting someone or taking their stuff, it's obvious what we mean by "harm". Poison is harmful. Overcharging is harmful. Insulting someone is harmful. Racism is harmful. All pretty obvious. Looking at boobs? Doesn't seem to be quite as obvious. It's ok when you're 3 months old. It's perfectly natural for children to be sexually curious at 14, if not earlier. At what points does it start and stop being harmful in between those ages? Many of us haved accidentally walked in on our parents or someone while in the state of undress (at least). There are whole native cultures in which it is perfectly normal for the children to be well aware of their parents having sex. (There ain't so many multi-room igloos out there.) Now that we have rooms and door with locks, it's horribly traumatic and damaging for us to be aware of probably one of the most natural events on the planet?
Perhaps there is some harm... I don't know. I'm not a psychologist. I'm a librarian. I've tried to look up research in this topic and it seems like too many simply take for granted that it is harmful. We simply bring too much bias to the subject to consistently deal with it rationally and effectively. (See "Mitchell, Kimberly J; Finkelhor, David; Wolak, Janis. The exposure of youth to unwanted sexual material on the Internet: A national survey of risk, impact, and prevention. Youth & Society. Vol 34(3) Mar 2003, 330-358.", "Rind, Bruce. Adolescent Sexual Experiences with Adults: Pathological or Functional?. Journal of Psychology & Human Sexuality. Vol 15(1) 2003, 5-22.", and "Ybarra, Michele L; Mitchell, Kimberly J. Exposure to Internet pornography among children and adolescents: A national survey. CyberPsychology & Behavior. Vol 8(5) Oct 2005, 473-486.")