What are the possible consequences?
There are numerous risks involved with children and young people being on line. One of the main risks is that they may come across inappropriate material. This may range from age un-appropriate material to pornography and material that encourages dangerous and illegal activities. There is also the threat of ‘Grooming’. This is where a person or persons use chat rooms to make contact with young people with the intention of developing relationships that they can progress to sexual activity. Paedophiles will often target a child, posing as a young person with similar interests and hobbies in order to establish an online 'friendship'. These relationships may develop to a point where the paedophile has gained the trust in order to meet in person.
The Internet also provides bullies with an anonymous method by which they can torment their victims at any time of day or night. While a young person may or may not be in physical danger, they may receive email; chat or text messages that make them feel embarrassed, upset, depressed or afraid. This can damage their self-esteem and pose a threat to their psychological wellbeing.
Most parents do not allow their children to give out personal information online and around 50% of children acknowledge this. 46% of 9-19 year old children who go online once a week say that they have given out personal information such as their full name, age, address, email address, phone number, hobbies, name of their school etc to someone they met on the internet. Most children and young people use the Internet positively. However, sometimes they behave in ways that may place them at risk. Some risks do not necessarily arise from the technology itself but result from offline behaviors that are extended into the online world, and vice versa.
Potential risks can include, but are not limited to:
Bullying by peers and...