For years we’ve been hearing about how the Internet is a total cesspool of sexual predators who are out to get your children. This belief was furthered by Dateline NBC’s show, “To Catch a Predator.”
Then studies revealed the shocking statistics that somewhere between 1 in 5 or 1 in 7 minors are sexually propositioned online, and people just went nuts.
Fortunately the Internet Safety Technical Task Force is releasing it’s government ordered report to set the record straight.
To pull a quote from the report by way of Jack Schofield of the Guardian:
“…children and teenagers are very unlikely to be propositioned by adults online. In the cases that do exist, the report said, teenagers are typically willing participants and are at risk in other ways (with poor home environments, depression or substance abuse, for example). The report criticized previous findings that one in five or one in seven minors are sexually propositioned online, saying that in a strong majority of those situations, a child’s peers are responsible for the proposition, which typically amounts to an act of harassment or teasing.”
This isn’t saying that there aren’t sexual predators on the Internet, but what it does mean is that parents need to socialize their children into the Internet. Practicing safe computing is something that parents must pass onto their children, like any other health and safety issue.
Most of the current generations of web-users are self-socialized because computers and the web were new. Today’s children can and should learn how to be a responsible netizen (Internet citizen) from their parents.
In the meantime, rest easy, it’s not that bad out there.
That being said, if someone close to you doesn’t understand the dangers of the Internet, young or old, please take some time and pass on some knowledge.