Internet is a network that virtually connects computers around the world. It has an address network which makes communication possible between the computers. It is an open phone line and an open television channel to millions of people around the world who can communicate anonymously (Palmer, 2006). People use it to exchange files and e-mails, to surf the World Wide Web, to download songs or other types of files, to take part of discussion boards, and to send instant messages. It can be beneficial when it comes to freedom of press, and less disintermediation between people (Palmer, 2006). It can also be of assistance when it comes to doing some kind of research, finding some specific information about any topic, or even getting an undergraduate or a postgraduate degree when it comes to busy people who want to expand their horizons. However, internet has many risks in contrast to its benefits and it should not be used by children without adult supervision and parental control.
The Risks of the Internet:
To begin with, while using the internet, children are exposed to different kinds of materials. In most cases, they are exposed to inappropriate ones such as sexually explicit materials and/or violent ones (Magid, 2003). Some children, especially adolescents, are curious about sexuality and sexually explicit material; they can move away from their family and seek fulfillments for their curiosities online. Hence, dangerous situations commonly occur due to the child molesters on the other side of the net waiting to find those children, seduce them, and manipulate them (Freeh, 2008). It is also worth mentioning that other children can be exposed to such resources by accident; they can receive them through e-mail spam or when a popup that contains violent or sexual materials opens in front of them (Magid, 2003). Also, there are some people who attempt to sexually exploit children online. Some of them progressively seduce their targets through the use of attention, affection, kindness, and gifts. They are often willing to devote considerable amounts of time, money, and energy during this course of action. They listen to and empathize with the problems of children. They are aware of the latest music, hobbies, and interests of the youngster. They also attempt to gradually lower children's inhibitions by slowly introducing sexual context and content into their conversations (Freeh, 2008) which can get them to gain the trust of those targeted children and can lead to meet them face-to-face.
To continue with, another risk that children are exposed to is the physical molestation by the child offenders. This can happen when children entrust strange people on their private phone number, their home address, and/or their school address. As Magid (2003) puts it, "when a child provides such information to people he/she does not know, he/she puts him/herself in danger of physical molestation." They can do this by meeting people who may turn out to be child molesters, who in their turn, use areas such as chat areas, e-mails, and instant messages to hit on their victims. In addition, as already stated, adolescents tend to seek attention outside their family circles, which therefore endangers them as well as their family members. So, when a child, out of naivety, gives out his/her personal information to whoever comes in his/her way, or out of grabbing attention to one's self, he/she is at risk of being physically molested. That is, this child might, after entrusting someone on those pieces of information, may arrange a get-together with that person and therefore, risk his/her safety (Magid, 2003).
In addition, bullying does not only occur on the school campus. With the presence of the internet, bullying can also occur through e-mails and instant messaging (Magid, 2003). A perfect example about this issue is a website called GossipReport.com; on this website,...