Schools and libraries are supposed to be safe environments for children, and the community, to come together to pursue education and character development.
However, sexually exploitive material is seeping into these learning spaces, potentially damaging children’s intellectual development and warping their sexual templates to normalize sexual violence and lack of consent.
Schools and libraries are fostering unsafe, unhealthy environments for children in three primary ways: inadequate, or non-existent, computer and Wi-Fi filters to prevent exposure to pornography; online school databases that expose children to pornography, normalize sexually violent and risky acts, and promote prostitution; and lastly inadequate, or non-existent, filters to block pornography on school-owned devices like iPads or laptops that are distributed to children.
Three ways schools and libraries are fostering unhealthy and unsafe learning environments:
- Online school databases that expose children to pornography, normalize sexually violent and risky acts, and promote prostitution.
- EBSCO Information Servicesoffers online library resources to public and private schools (K-12), public libraries, and more. These are online resources provided by schools that children often use to do research for a school paper, or to complete other online homework. In its advertising for schools, it promises “fast access to curriculum-appropriate content.” However, several of EBSCO’s products provide easy access to hardcore pornography sites and extremely graphic sexual content. Innocent searches provide pornographic results. Via a system that bypasses school Internet filters, EBSCO brings the dark world of XXX to America’s elementary, middle, and high school children. Learn more here.
- Inadequate, or non-existent, computer and Wi-Fi filters to prevent exposure to pornography.
- Most schools and libraries are not using effective filtering on both the school computers and Wi-Fi, despite laws requiring them. In 2000 Congress passed (and the Supreme Court later upheld) the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA)—a federal law that imposes requirements to filter Internet access to obscene pornography, child pornography, and other material that is harmful to minors. These requirements must be met in order for any school or library to receive funding from a governmental program called the E-rate program, which makes technology more affordable for eligible schools and libraries. However, CIPA requirements have been egregiously under-enforced, so schools and libraries are not being held accountable to filter.
- Inadequate, or non-existent, filters to block pornography on school-owned devices like iPads or laptops that are distributed to children.
- Beyond the responsibility of schools to create safe environments on their physical property, they also have a responsibility to create safe learning environments on school-owned devices they distribute. Schools around the country now give students iPads or laptops or other electronic devices with few, if any, monitoring systems. This is unacceptable. School administration responsibility extends beyond the school grounds—whether that is regarding a school-sponsored trip, or a school-sponsored device. On any fieldtrip schools would not allow students to be exposed to violent, degrading pornographic images, and so too they must take the necessary precautions to ensure school-distributed electronic devices are not exposing children to harmful material.
This is a national outrage.
Parents and guardians trust the schools and libraries to hold themselves accountable to a higher standard of protecting children from sexually exploitive, objectifying, and damaging material. Yet, news reports of children gaining access to porn in schools and public libraries are a regular occurrence.
Pornography turns once-safe community schools and libraries into a XXX space that fosters child sexual abuse, sexual assault, exhibitionism, stalking, and lewd behavior in libraries across the country.
Quick facts about the harms of pornography:
- A 2014 study found that increased pornography use is linked to decreased brain matter in the areas of motivation and decision-making, impaired impulse control, and desensitization to sexual reward.
- A 2015 meta-analysis of 22 studies from seven countries found that internationally the consumption of pornography was significantly associated with increases in verbal and physical aggression, among males and females alike
- As a result of viewing pornography women reported lowered body image, criticism from their partners regarding their bodies increased pressure to perform acts seen in pornographic films, and less actual sex, while men reported being more critical of their partners’ body and less interested in actual sex.
- A 2015 study found that men’s frequency of pornography use is positively linked to body image insecurity regarding muscularity and body fat, and to increased anxiety in romantic relationships.
For citations and further research, visit http://endsexualexploitation.org/publichealth/
Is this the kind of sexual education we want our communities to promote?
The good news is you can make a difference through the National Center on Sexual Exploitation’s Safe Schools, Safe Libraries project.
Our Safe Schools, Safe Libraries project is a grassroots campaign designed to empower parents throughout the country with the tools needed to identify the local schools and public libraries where children are at risk.
Using our tactics, dozens of concerned citizens around the country have been able to get their local schools and libraries to improve policies.
We provide you with three “getting started” packets to help you protect the children in your community. Thank you for taking a stand!
- Getting Started: Filtering in Schools and Libraries
- Getting Started: Online Library Databases (Upcoming)
- Getting Started: School-Distributed Devices (Upcoming)
Check Your Local School’s Online Databases
Download the National Center on Sexual Exploitation’s action packet “The ABCs vs XXX: How to Ensure Your School’s Online Library Databases are Pornography Free.” This is a useful tool for any concerned parent or citizen who wants to protect children from being exposed to pornography and sexually graphic materials on school online resources.
Petition ALA Leaders
Become a Community Leader
It often just takes a few concerned citizens to simply ask for effective filters to be installed and the libraries and schools will do it! Please take on this project and lead the way in your neighborhood. Download the “Getting Started Packet” here.
Stay updated on these projects
Protect Young Minds, an organization dedicated to helping parents protect and prepare their children regarding the harms of pornography, has created a checklist for online safety at your school. Too many schools do not have the necessary procedures and filters in place to create a safe learning environment that is protected from the harms of […]
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UPDATE 2/22/17: EBSCO executives contacted NCOSE last night and have shared that they are concerned about the explicit and pornographic content accessible via their database and that they are actively working to develop new algorithms and better filtering systems. While EBSCO remains on the Dirty Dozen List until these improvements have been implemented system-wide and […]
A surprising number of public libraries do not have pornography filtering software. An even larger number employ ineffective filtering software that children and adults are bypassing to gain access to pornography while at the local library. This not only harms the health of individuals using pornography, but it also paves the way for problems of child pornography use and unintentional […]