When it comes to rights and privileges it is less about them being given to someone than it is about what they do with them. Allowing sex offenders the right to social media isn’t the problem, it’s what they could potentially do with it. However, telling someone that they are barred from having a social life in what is probably the only place they are still accepted is, for lack of a better word, harsh. Criminals deserve to be treated like criminals when they’re in jail, not when they are scrolling through their phones.
Social media plays a large role in the lives of many. Whether it is for a specific cause or just to pass the time, social media has become go-to for smartphone users. Everyone has the right to use their phones and these apps, even people like sex offenders. Although their crimes are absolutely heinous they are still allowed to live their lives, and social media is apart of that.
A person’s first amendment rights cannot be revoked so taking away their social media would be illegal. While I am certainly not a defender or sympathizer of sex offenders, it’s difficult to argue with the law of the land.
I do not see this restriction to social media as something that would ruin their lives or inhibit them in any way, but, ultimately, it’s not right. But, also, there are other, more productive ways to rehabilitate and assimilate that don’t involve staring at a screen. Plus, with the negativity and chaos that circulates through social media, it might be better for them- and for those around them- if they stayed away from it. It can easily become addicting, which feeds another unhealthy habit for them. Ultimately, I do not agree with it being taken away from them, but I don’t like the idea of them having unlimited access to all things social media either. The best situation would be some kind of monitoring system of someone’s feed, not necessarily as a way to regulate them, but just to make sure no one slips back into the old habits that got them in trouble in the first place. However, this would then pose the question of how ethical or legal would it be to keep tabs on them. In cases like this, no one wants to look like they are taking the side of a sex offender, but no matter who they are you cannot put restrictions on the freedoms legally given to them.
Camry Bishop, a student in Jon Pfeiffer’s Fall 2017 Media Law class at Pepperdine University, wrote the above essay in response to the prompt: In Packingham v. North Carolina, the SC ruled that even sex offenders have a 1st amendment right to social media. Where they correct? Has social media become so integral in today’s society that restricting access would be the same as restricting access to necessary tools for rehabilitation (means to drive, means to find a job, means to keep a job, means to secure housing, etc.)?