The internet is known for many miraculous advances in today’s technology. We have an unlimited quantity of knowledge on this so-called information super highway. Plus we can purchase merchandise, and talk to friends and family from around the world without leaving the comfort of our own homes. Seems great right? Sure, but if it’s placed in the wrong hands all of this can be spoiled. Particularly when a child is sitting behind the computer screen. This is why I believe children should be monitored while being on the World Wide Web. There are numerous dangers out there that both parents and children should be aware of.
This leads me to my most important issue. Pedophiles and pornographers on-line. This is an utmost danger for kids on the internet. Kids can find themselves on a pornographic website unintentionally while just surfing the web. For instance if they type the wrong characters into the address bar (Examples: typing .com instead of .org) you may be asking yourself “Why is this allowed to happen, shouldn’t there be guidelines?” Well in 1996 congress passed a provision known as the Communications Decency Act, (CDA) which was designed to protect children from indecent material on-line. In 1997 the Supreme Court ruled the CDA unconstitutional. It was said to be against the first amendment, freedom of speech.
Lastly, we are on the most critical of things. On-line pedophiles or “Internet Predators” These are people who prey on children and persuade them to do things that the predator desires. Usually without the child knowing or realizing what is happening is wrong. Predators try and find children on-line such as websites, chat rooms and even e-mail. Usually the predator will try and make friends with the unsuspecting child often pretending to like the same things or even to be the same age as the child. After corresponding with the child for a while the predator will usually want to talk on the phone or meet in person. This could lead to unspeakable situations where the child may be sexually assaulted or even killed. In a study done in 2000, it was discovered that nearly one in five youths had received an unwanted sexual solicitation or approach. It is extremely saddening to hear about these dreadful crimes.
Although it is chilling to hear about these crimes, there are ways to protect yourself and your young-ones from the dark places on the internet. First, parents must educate themselves about cyberspace. Most parents don’t even know what a chat room or a screen name is. Another way to keep internet safe is to have your computer in a public place in your home such as the living room or kitchen area. You may be saying to your self that you can’t watch your child all day, but in cases like this you can always get some kind of software that allows you to block certain web pages and even sites with key words (example: drugs, sex, violence) Never forget though not to be too over protective, because if something does happen your kids might be afraid to mention it, in fear that you will be angry with them. In case of an emergency or you just have a question about online safety call the CyberTipline (1-800-843-5678)