If individuals retain a moral obligation to filter the inappropriate material accessible to children online in the same way they have done for off line material, society as a whole could achieve what legislation has failed to do; control what our children see and post online. If this new moral paradigm is achieved we can provide safe environments for our children online without the need for government intervention and tight legislative controls. For this to occur though, we must first assess the data surrounding our fears and desires for control of online environments, and seek a better accord of how the internet acts as intermediary for offline behaviors. This essay will focus on the social desire to filter pornography and other material deemed inappropriate for children, because child protection issues are often the point of convergence between freedom, as promoted by the anti-censorship movement, and of the control trumpeted as necessary by the pro-filter lobby.
This essay will argue that whilst the wikipedia entry for Virtual Community answers the question of ‘when’ and ‘how’ virtual communities are formed, it lacks information regarding why virtual communities have become part of our everyday lives. As the following will show; this is the most important aspect for sociologists who wish to focus on the difference between traditional communities that occupy physical spaces, or neighborhoods, and the online communities that transcend the tyranny of physical space, location and time.