Libraries Keeping Kids Away from Online Porn - Toledo News Now, News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Libraries Keeping Kids Away from Online Porn

TOLEDO -- The internet can be a dangerous playground for kids. The government knows it and that's why lawmakers passed the Children's Internet Protection Act back in December, 2000. It forces libraries to monitor which web sites children have access to.

11-year-old Lindsey Gilbert likes to surf the web but she also knows the dangers lurking in cyberspace. "If somebody's trying to sell something on the computer like drugs or something -- they shouldn't be on that," said Gilbert.

That's why the Toledo-Lucas County Library has protective measures in place to make sure kids don't see something they shouldn't.

Last summer, the library installed filters on all of its computers. They're the same kind used by many public schools. "It has 38 categories that you can deny your patrons accessing. And, of course, it includes any illegal materials, pornography, violence, hate, gambling, drugs," said Library Deputy Director Margaret Danziger.

The filters can tell if you're looking for something smutty or legitimate information. "They differentiate between someone who wants just to view breasts, nudity -- and those who want information on breast cancer," said Danziger.

Brandon Harper is a catcher for the Toledo Mud Hens. He logs on at the library a lot. Harper tells News 11 he's never had trouble finding what he's looking for. "The sites I go to are you know sports sites, Yahoo, e-mail, things like that ... so I don't really go look at anything explicit or anything like that," said Harper.

But even adults don't have full access. They have to follow the library's internet policy, which prohibits users from viewing porn sites. That is good news for moms like Myla Gatlin, who says it's always nice to have an extra set of eyes watching out for your kids. "They're not around me all the time so that's kinda like a private mother of their own that guards them and helps me as well to keep them from seeing things that I would definitely not want them to see," said Gatlin.

Library officials say they had to install the filters if they wanted to qualify for federal funds. Also, we should point out the filters only block visual images -- not text or audio.

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