DOPA: ”Suppose You Were An Idiot and Suppose You Were a Member of Congress. But I Repeat Myself” Mark Twain

by Marianne Richmond on July 30, 2006

Or perhaps paraphrase the expression from my college days, that’s why they call it DOP-A…

 DOPA, which stands for, Deleting Online Predators Act of 2006, or HR 5319, "amend{s} 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." The vote was 410 to 15. I think that is called a landslide.

Forgetting for a moment about the lack of definition for chat rooms and social networking sites that has been debated and discussed for the last few days on CNET, Marketing Vox, andTags:among others. Or that it seems to indiscriminately include Amazon and Linkedin as well as MySpace. I think that parents need to monitor the online activities of their children and that the attention of congress should be directed at the sexual predators.

Now, I am the mother of two teenage sons. I have been critical of advertisers such as AXE and on-line games such as XFIRE for the messages they deliver to kids. But, I also strongly believe that it is my responsibility to manage this both by teaching them different values than those represented by AXE and monitoring their on-line activities.

The Internet is a place for kids. The Internet and technology is dramatically changing education and the very lives of our children right before our eyes (or not for those not watching); but dramatic change produces fear just as election years produce the need for issues and places to point the fickle finger of blame. There are some really exciting things going on in education that are technology enabled. Stephen Downes is a great resource, as are the research and academic bloggers at Blogher, Leslie Madsen Brooks and Kiajsa Calkins. Cool Cat Blog, written by Vicki Davis is about "teaching content with new tools, enthusiasm, and belief that teaching is a high calling."

The Cool Cat Teacher Blog has the definitive post on DOPA. She goes through the bill point by point. She discusses it from the responsibility perspective (parents and schools), from an educational standpoint (the need for education, not legislation), the comparison to book burning, and….well, please read it. Thanks to Marshall at Marshall Kirkpatrick’s blog for pointing me to Cool Cat.

MSN sums it up in an article called "What You Don’t Know Can Hurt Your Kids." Also as Craig Lefebvre notes at On Social Marketing and Social Change, "After the advergaming report released last week, the good news/bad news is that there are plenty of other marketing activities on the web that you can investigate."

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