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Important policies to fix
EBSCO has failed to clean up middle school and high school databases, and continues to expose minors to sexually graphic and violent content including live links to pornography websites. Further, EBSCO products sold through libraries often allow children from any age range to log into databases meant for older students. This failure to appropriately age-gate content renders much of the improvement in elementary school databases insufficient. Sexually graphic, erotic content is not an academic resource and EBSCO products that are not specifically for middle schools or elementary schools are still accessible in most schools. So please expand your content audit, publisher audit, and review process to prevent pornography and sexually explicit material from appearing across all of your products. Please pursue aggressive filtering and algorithms to prevent explicit content from entering your systems across ALL of your platforms. The value of your product is in its curated academic content, so please do not rely on schools themselves, often overworked librarians and teachers, to police the content you are providing.
Urgent: fix this problem in 2018
Please fix these issues urgently - particularly in your middle school and high school databases. KEY ISSUES EBSCO MUST ADDRESS: EBSCO still has sexually graphic content on databases specifically meant for child users. These are articles that glamorize pornography, prostitution, and risky sexual behaviors. In the middle school databases, we found articles discussing how to convince a girl to engage in anal sex (note: the common ages for middle schoolers are 12-14 years old) and others glamorizing sexual role play games exploring sexual torture, public sex, and prostitution. These put especially young readers at great risk of being victims of sexual exploitation. EBSCO is recommending these other products to schools in their promotional materials, leading school administrators to believe they are safe for students. Every school’s EBSCO system we have checked across the country subscribes to a number of these other EBSCO products which are full of sexually explicit material, and students are able to switch between databases easily. What audience does EBSCO want to provide with pornographic and sexually graphic content? Why would college students, or law students, need to access pornographic content within the EBSCO research database? After all, if EBSCO is basing its value on providing academic, substantive curated content, why is it including sexually graphic content at all, for any age? The articles we are referencing and taking issue with are not academic at all. Aren’t erotically depicted stories of rape via gun (found on EBSCO products) harmful for users despite any age? Are links to, or articles about, torture pornography suddenly an academic resource for someone over 18? Does EBSCO want its brand associated with this kind of material in any context? We want EBSCO to expand its current content audit, publisher audit, and review process to prevent pornography and sexually explicit material from appearing across all of its products because almost all of their products are finding their way into our K-12 schools.
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