Older Finns look to more effective Internet policing even at expense of freedom of speech, survey finds
Young men less eager for control of cyberspace
An overwhelming majority of the 55 to 64-year-old Finns would gladly see Internet discipline tightened up, even if it meant restrictions on freedom of speech.
Three out of four Finns in the age group share the view.
Of young adults between 18 and 30 years of age, only around a third would make sacrifices to freedom of speech for the benefit of improved monitoring of the Internet.
Young men in particular are very much against the idea. Among this group, only 22 per cent second the suggestion.
These were among the findings of a survey commissioned by Helsingin Sanomat and conducted by Suomen Gallup into the opinions of the two age groups on various subjects relating to Net usage.
After the Jokela and Kauhajoki school shootings the idea of tighter monitoring of Internet material idolising violence and guns has been suggested in various connections. For example, Internet messages with threats of violence could be screened out before the deeds are carried to fruition.
There has also been plenty of discussion on the practice of the central criminal police of Internet filtering. The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) maintains a list that prevents access to Internet sites suspected of distributing child pornography.
A 500-strong crowd even protested against the measure, which some call preventive censorship.
Even though the subject provokes strong feelings for and against, a majority of the respondents in both groups are willing to accept the establishing of a special Internet unit within the police force.
Of the young adults, 58% support the idea. For the older group the corresponding figure is a sizeable 77%.
Again, young men stand out with a differing opinion. Of them, 41 per cent are against the idea of Internet policing.
The young men also have doubts over the practicality of a functioning net surveillance regime.
In the view of 35% of them, such monitoring is nearly impossible.
Still, around 70 per cent of the respondents in both age groups believe that the monitoring might work to a certain extent.
Based on the survey, the different age groups seem to disagree especially on the significance of the Internet in inducing mindless violence.
Of the older respondents, more than 70 per cent believe that the influence of the Internet on incidents such as the Jokela and Kauhajoki school shootings is fairly or extremely high.
Among the younger generation only 40% seem to share this view.
Again, there is a clear difference between the opinions of men and women.
Of young women, 51 per cent say that the influence of the Internet is extremely or fairly high. Only 28% of young men seem to agree with the claim.
The Suomen Gallup survey was carried out in October, and invited views from 1,200 young people (ages 18-30) and an equivalent number from the 55-64 years age grouping.
Some 51% of the younger group responded, and 70% of the older one.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Police raid extreme right-wing music dealerships in Helsinki and Kouvola (28.8.2008)
Police admit child porn site blocking list contains old addresses (29.2.2008)
Teaching Plato in school - can learning be a dangerous thing? (20.11.2007)