The Toronto Sun
Thursday, February 25, 1999
page 7

Porn fans chase librarian

Kids surfing cyber-smut sites on library's on-line computers

by Tom Godfrey

A librarian was chased and cursed by a 19-year-old man and his buddies when she cut them off from viewing pornographic pictures on the Internet.

Police said large groups of local school children flock to Downsview Public Library at lunch and after school to view porn on the Net on library computers.

"It is appalling and disgusting", said Det. Steve Craddock, who's investigating the case.

"Police were shocked by the large number of kids looking at sex on the Internet", he said after officers arrived at the library.

The librarian told police she was chased and the teen was swinging his arms and screaming obscene racist comments.

The librarian's co-workers came to her rescue.

Local hangout

Police said the library has become a popular hangout for local children, who log on the Internet to view nude pictures, get on sex chat lines, and send dirty e-mail.

"This library is better than an arcade", one officer said. "Kids have free access to all kinds of pornography."

One officer said Toronto libraries should censor or block Internet sex sites on their computers.

"Taxpayers shouldn't be paying for this", he said. "This is appalling and something has to be done."

Kim Huntley, of the Toronto Public Library, said staff does not restrict children's access to the Internet.

"If there's inappropriate behaviour, we ask them to move on or to leave", Huntley said. "We treat the Internet as any learning resource material.

She said staff do intervene, when they see kids surfing sex sites.

Huntley said the Downsview library isn't worse than any other in Toronto, and yesterday's incident has been an ongoing problem with one group of kids.

Parent's job

She said the librarian was never in any danger.

"It does happen that young children do see sex on the Internet", Huntley said.

"It's a parent's responsibility to monitor what their kids view."

She said blocking or monitoring children's access to sex sites is being discussed and is an issue plaguing Toronto libraries.

"Anyone can view anything on the Internet as long as there's no complaints from anyone", she said.

Police have described the wanted man as a black male, with a thin build, dark colour jacket with blue baggy jeans, and slight facial hair. Anyone with information can call police at 806-3105.


School board targets Net sex

by Tom Godfrey

Toronto Public School Board officials say they're taking drastic steps to stop kids from viewing pornography and using sex chat lines on the Internet.

Board spokesman Ross Parry said the board is supervising most of its computers with Internet hookups and have started using specialized software to block sex sites.

Parry said the board will also hook up its computers to a central control room, which will have software to block nude pictures, chat lines, and e-mail services.

Supervised

"We don't think there's much sex-type abuse going on with our computers", he said. "It we drop our guard, there will be the possibility of abuse."

Parry said students are now supervised by teachers when they surf the Net.

"We do have a lot of supervision", he said.

"The kids are supervised very well now."

Parry said all the board's 585 schools have computers and many have access to the Internet.

Children have to know how to use the machine", he said. "Educators are now facing a challenge."

He said school technicians are discussing ways of blocking all cyber-smut available.

"I think we're doing a reasonably good job at this", he said. "As we grow it will all be controlled from a central location."

Parry said student access to chat lines and e-mail is just as bad as viewing nude pictures.

There are about 300,000 students enrolled at the board.


Copyright © 1999 by The Toronto Sun. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.