American flag
The Pro-Youth Pages
© 2001, Pro-Youth Pages

Update 12/09:

When this boycott began, AOL Time Warner was a huge company. As the boycott has progressed, the company has lost money and now Time Warner has dumped AOL, along with a few other money-losers such as Netscape (a great company before AOL bought them out). So now, boycott-supporters may resume reading DC Comics and Time magazine as we concentrate our energies on the shrinking list of brands still associated with AOL.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this boycott work. Let's keep winning.

AOL Time Warner has many faces including:
  • America Online
  • MapQuest
  • Netscape
  • Compuserve
  • Time magazine
  • People magazine
  • Sports Illustrated
  • Entertainment Weekly
  • Money
  • Fortune
  • Sunset
  • DC comics
  • Mad magazine
  • HBO
  • CNN
  • TBS
  • The WB Network
  • Warner Brothers movies
  • Warner Books
  • Little, Brown Publishers

AOL's Crimes:



AOL's ads boast about "parental controls" to limit youth access to the internet and help parents "protect" children. They make it sound as if they are merely keeping children from stumbling across harmful pornography, but in reality, they engage in a scary and harmful type of control. AOL "protects" youth from looking at political websites — if those sites are liberal. Conservative websites, they've decided, are okay for children.

In 2000, AOL was widely exposed for filtering out such sites as the Democratic Party website and the Green Party website, while allowing children to visit the Republican Party website.

In face of public outrage, AOL promised to clean up their act. They finally allowed children to visit the Democratic Party website. But other restrictions remain.

AOL blocks access to many feminist websites and sites that promote tolerance of gays and lesbians, but AOL allows children to visit websites of religious right groups opposing civil rights for gays and opposing equality for women.

AOL blocks sites that promote gun-control, but allows access to the sites of gun-manufacturers and the National Rifle Association — a group that opposes all gun-control, except gun-control is age-based.

For more details, check out these articles:

Pushing parents to insult their children

Not only does AOL mislead parents about what will be blocked if the filters are used, AOL pushes parents to use the filters.

When an account is opened at AOL, the user is instructed to set up an account for each person in the household, so each can have separate e-mail. The customer is then asked to fill out certain information about each user, including the user's age. If the person is a minor, AOL automatically sets up the youth's account with filters. To change this, parents must go to great trouble removing these filters.

This sends parents the message that controlling your child's web access is not only permissible, it's expected. Parents who treat their children with dignity and respect are made to feel abnormal.

Unfortunately, the media help AOL in shaming good parents. The media constantly portray a world in which all normal parents want to control their children, even though this is out of step with reality. Not long ago, law-makers (following the media's lead) passed a law forcing TV manufacturers to install V-chips. But a recent study showed that, of all the parents who now have V-chips in their TV's, more than 80% choose not to use them.

As usual, the supposedly "liberal" media are more conservative than most Americans.

Many, many parents are good people who love their children and would never allow their children to be insulted if they could stop it. AOL tells those parents they are wrong.

The Boycott

It can be hard to boycott some of AOL's companies. Netscape, for example, makes a browser rivaled only by Microsoft. And Microsoft not long ago ran commercials boasting of how they are developing technology to help parents control their children's web-surfing. Predictably, Microsoft designed their ad to emphasize the supposed normalcy of parents turning against their children. So which browser do you use?

Time magazine cover

We can't do everything, but we can do some things. First and foremost, don't subscribe to AOL. There are plenty of other internet service providers, and many of them will give you better service than "AO-hell" (as I've heard customers call the company of a thousand disconnects). As subscribers fall away from America Online, the corporation will be forced to re-evaluate their treatment of parents and youth.

If you read any of their magazines (listed above), read them free at your local public library. Don't give AOL Time Warner your money. And if you read Time, switch to Newsweek. (Their content is less hostile toward youth anyway.)


On April 24, 2002, AOL Time Warner posted first-quarter losses of 54.2 billion dollars, "the largest quarterly loss in U.S. corporate history," according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The part of this conglomerate suffering the most is, of course, the part wearing our boycott's bull's eye. According to the Chronicle, "the Internet division's [i.e. AOL's] revenue dropped a staggering 31 percent."

If we keep up the pressure, one of America's biggest corporations will soon change their ways or go belly-up. The choice is theirs. The work is ours. Let's keep this boycott going.

Update, January 2003:

AOL-founder Steve Case announced that, effective in May, he will resign as AOL's Chairman of the Board. His resignation was demanded by stockholders angry at how much money the company has lost since 2001 (when the Pro-Youth Pages began this boycott). The bursting of the internet bubble combined with the pro-youth boycott have forced AOL to look for a new Chair. We can only hope their new leader will learn from the mistakes of their old one.

AOL needs, not only a new leader, but new policies. Once AOL removes its anti-youth "parental controls," they will have a chance to earn our money. Until then, they will continue to feel the pressure of our boycott.

Update, February 2003:

AOL has now posted "the largest loss ever for an American corporation" according to the PBS Newshour. They still haven't changed their anti-youth policies, but they are sure losing executives.

Stephen Case, Chair of the Board
Ted Turner, Vice Chair
Richard Bressler, Executive VP
Gerald Levin, CEO

Update, September 2003:

Still squirming, AOL Time Warner has decided to drop the "AOL" from its name. The company will still own AOL, but they will now downplay that fact, hoping consumers and investors forget the conglomerate's shameful attachment to this anti-youth internet company.

We won't forget. We will continue to boycott the entire conglomerate until they drop, not just the name "AOL," but drop AOL itself. Or until AOL finally cleans up its act. Whichever happens first.

Update, November 2004:

In the year since I last updated this page, AOL has lost another 668,000 customers. Now they're announcing major layoffs. I'm starting to feel sorry for them. But the boycott will not end until they change their ways.

Update, February 2006:

AOL, struggling to stop the bleeding while refusing to clean up, has devised a sleazy new way to get money: getting bribes. AOL has begun what they call an "email tax." If spam-artists pay them money, they will let those spam-artists get around the AOL email spam filter and spam AOL's customers.

More info.

Update, June 2009: Time Warner is Abandoning AOL!!

When we launched our boycott on AOL, they had just used a portion of their wealth to purchase Time Warner. In the years since then, AOL has lost so much money that Time Warner has announced plans to dump AOL so that Time Warner will no longer be tied to this sinking ship.

When this announced divorce is finalized, we will of course end our boycott on Time Warner's remaining brands.

More details.