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New Military Policy Could Cause Troops To Lose Touch With Family

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Troops overseas may be losing one of their connections to the home front. A new Defense Department policy will soon block access to certain websites that many in the military rely on as a link to loved ones at home. The News On 6’s Heather Lewin reports, some families say the move will have a negative impact on the troops.

High ranking officials are taking a closer look at online blogs coming from those serving in Iraq. In what they called "the interest of protecting information," the military already had a policy that blogs must be reviewed before posted. Now those blogs may be done away with altogether in a ban of popular websites like MySpace and YouTube.

"If they have family members who are having birthday parties or babies being born, they can get those pictures and it just gives ‘em a little touch of home," said Broken Arrow Blue Star Mother Lisa Bender.

Blue Star Mother Lisa Bender frequently looks at the MySpace pages of her solider son and his friends. But, a new Defense Department policy may soon do away with the pages. The DOD plans to begin blocking access to YouTube, MySpace and 11 other popular websites on military computers.

While Bender's son isn't currently overseas, he's on alert to deploy, if he does go, she doesn't want to lose what she calls a vital link for many families.

"The MySpace, I don't think should be restricted because it's just another interaction that they have with their family and friends back home," Bender said.

Bender believes soldiers know better than to post sensitive information on their personal sites. But military officials say such recreational traffic is also a drag on the system, slowing it down and creating security challenges on the DOD network.

Troops are still allowed to access the sites from their own computers, but most overseas only have access to the military system. Bender fears the restrictions will lead to depression and even more isolation from families.

"It's gonna hurt their morale, and we need to keep their morale up," she said.

The other banned sites include music and video-sharing.

Senator Tom Coburn co-authored a letter to the DOD about the benefit of blogs for military families, and asked that a balance be struck between security and individual expression.

Several companies have instituted similar bans in the workplace, saying the recreational sites drain productivity.

Watch the video: New Policy Could Cut Off Troop's Access To Popular Websites
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