I have (at last) taken some time to read the entire text of the proposed DOPA legislation, as passed by the US House of Reps yesterday. I am going to encourage all the teachers / parents / adults at my session tomorrow at MTI 2006 on “Safe Digital Social Networking” (DSN) to use sites like Think.com, Imbee, and Moodle to help students learn safe DSN (digital social networking).
I notice in the language of the bill the world “commercial” is prominent. The first sentence of the act reads:
To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to require recipients of universal service support for schools and libraries to protect minors from commercial social networking websites and chat rooms.
Note the language, “commercial social networking websites.” Now what exactly does that mean? The bill will require the FCC to define the term. The proposed legislation also says:
20 “(J) COMMERCIAL SOCIAL NETWORKING
21 WEBSITES; CHAT ROOMS.–Within 120 days
22 after the date of enactment of the Deleting On-
23 line Predators Act of 2006, the Commission
24 shall by rule define the terms `social networking
25 website’ and `chat room’ for purposes of this
HR 5319 EH 5
1 subsection. In determining the definition of a
2 social networking website, the Commission shall
3 take into consideration the extent to which a
5 “(i) is offered by a commercial entity;
6 “(ii) permits registered users to create
7 an on-line profile that includes detailed
8 personal information;
9 “(iii) permits registered users to cre-
10 ate an on-line journal and share such a
11 journal with other users;
12 “(iv) elicits highly-personalized infor-
13 mation from users; and
14 “(v) enables communication among
Under this definition, it sounds like Think.com (a free resource sponsored by the Oracle foundation to schools) would not fall under this definition of “commercial social networking site.” Neither would Moodle sites that are being run by schools, not for commercial purposes.
Imbee, on the other hand, is a commercial site and although it offers parent moderation options and is a GREAT tool, it might fall under a FCC definition of “commercial social networking sites.” Parents and students could use this from home, but perhaps not from school if DOPA passes.
It is also not clear to me if DOPA would force US school districts receiving eRate funds (which is pretty much everyone in public schools) to block access to Wikipedia from school networks. Is WikiPedia a “for profit” social networking site? Students aren’t blogging there, although they create profiles. This seems to be less clear and up for grabs perhaps.
I am thinking if this legislation passes, schools and educators will still be able to use non-commercial websites to help students learn about read/write web technologies and safe DSN. Think.com, Moodle sites, and blog sites RUN BY THE SCHOOL (actually a very good idea for US schools according to educational law expert Dr. Scott McLeod) would still be fine.
I have added a new category to my blog for DSN. This is something I have written a lot about, and will likely be writing about more in the future… so this seems appropriate.
What do you think?
If you enjoyed this post and found it useful, subscribe to Wes' free newsletter. Check out Wes' video tutorial library, "Playing with Media." Information about more ways to learn with Dr. Wesley Fryer are available on wesfryer.com/after.
On this day..
- 2003 K-12 Classroom Technology Integration: Pre-YouTube and Pre-Smartphone - 2019
- Glimpse the Future with Amy Webb @amywebb (Thanks @TWiT) - 2018
- Changing "Classroom Normal" with Interactive Blogging - 2012
- Passion-based learning in action: Brian Crosby at TEDxDenverEd - 2010
- Thoughts on Macs and Netbooks - 2009
- You still going to teach the same when you face this? - 2009
- Digital media becomes socially interesting as it becomes technologically boring (ubiquitous) - 2009
- links for 2008-07-27 - 2008
- Virtual Field Trips: Take Students on An Adventure to Learn - 2006
- Putting the "interactive" into interactive electronic whiteboards - 2006