Ms. Jan Rozich
English 111 1BA
16 November, 2008
Is the Internet Safe for Children?
A lot of parents think that their children are safe surfing the internet. When in reality children can be exposed to all kinds of different types of things that are not safe for them on the internet. From pornography, child pornography, child abduction, child abuse, video games, videos, cyber-bullying, online chat rooms and social sites such as; MySpace, tagged, hi5, facebook and many other social sites. Parents ask is it really possible for my child to get hurt from surfing the internet? In actual reality it is possible if the children aren’t educated about all the dangers of being on the internet.
The chat rooms are full of kids and adults of all ages that can be downright mean and cruel. Children tend to be easier to get them to trust a person, than an adult. Any sick pervert or internet predator can get online and talk to a child for awhile and be very nice to them, get the child to trust them. Then they could talk the child into either giving them their real name, address or what town they live in, or even their telephone number so that the internet predator can find the child and possibly hurt, kill or abduct the child from their own home or anywhere the child might go to alone. On tagged.com there was a sixteen year old girl that became missing. Her family posted that she was missing on her tagged site. They said that she had been talking to this older guy on there. They found out that she was supposed to go meet him on the day she became missing. Of course he denies ever meeting with her. But her family believes that this man had something to do with her being missing. The family still doesn’t have a clue as to where she is or what even happened to this beautiful young lady. Another example is two teenage boys were arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting two teenage girls they met on the social networking web site MySpace in East Haven. The sixteen and seventeen year old girls meet with the eighteen and nineteen year old boys in a pre arranged location. The boys took the girls to a friend of theirs house, where they were both allegedly sexually assaulted, one at knifepoint. Afterword’s the two boys left the house and the two girls called their friends. The girl’s friends called the police. The officers picked up the girls and the girls showed the police where the house was at. During the investigation the two boys showed back up at the house and were arrested. The girls had only been talking to the two boys for about two weeks before this happened (Powers). These are just s few incidents’ that has happened from the social networking sites. These sites try to make it a safe place for everyone but if these children choose to meet outside of the social networking there is nothing that they can do about it. It’s not always like this, some people won’t hurt your children but a person never knows. A research conducted in Great Britain in two thousand five: Charted the surfing habits of children and teenagers ranging in age from nine to nineteen years of age. Approximately thirty two percent of the boys and twenty eight percent of the girls have met in person with someone they had contact with on the internet, at least once. Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing if an internet friend is actually the person that they seem to be online (Israel Government Portal Relationships with Strangers). Many relationships go from virtual space to the real world. Instruct the child that when meeting online friends in person should only take place in public places, in the parent’s presence or in the presence of another adult they should never be alone (Israel Government Portal Relationships with Strangers). While surfing the internet, children make new friends. Sometimes they are tempted to meet them in person outside of the virtual space. This could endanger a child’s safety. Sexual offenders are liable to use chat rooms, instance messaging software to gain the child’s trust and arrange an in person meeting for sexual exploitation purposes (Israel Government Portal Internet Dangers for Teenagers).
Next, cyber bullying takes various forms, Cyber bullying includes hateful messages or even death threats to children, spreading lies about them online, making nasty comments on their social networking profiles, or creating a website to bash the child’s reputation or looks. Cyber bullying is different from school bullying because there is no one to intervene on the internet like there is in school. Cyber bullies can’t see their victims reactions, the way they can face to face. They can’t see the victim crying, which makes it easier for them to continue to bully the child. Some cyber bullies pose as their victims and send threatening and harassing messages to other children. Cyber bullies post humiliating videos of other children they don’t like. Often children don’t tell their parents that they are being cyber bullied. They are afraid that their parents will over react or make things worse or take their internet privileges away from them (Kam 1). Tell your children not to respond to rude or harassing emails, messages and postings. If the cyber bulling continues contact the local police. Keep the emails as proof of the harassment (Kam 2). This can cause a child to have low self esteem. It has also been known that cyber bullying has caused children to try to commit suicide. It just makes them feel that they just can’t go on with all the threats and harassment.
Another way for children to be hurt on the internet is by pornography. People don’t realize that a simple innocent picture of their child being on the internet can be turned into child pornography. With today’s technology a simple photograph can be digitally transformed into child pornography material. It is so easy for anyone to get to sites that show pornography on the internet. Just type in something in the search engine and sometimes inappropriate content shows up. Type in some cartoon show and then a person ends up with naked photographs of the cartoon characters or even worse videos of them having sexual relations. People are sick and they don’t care who sees this kind of stuff. Parental controls do not always catch this kind of stuff. Eleven year old children are exposed to images of sodomy, bestiality or sex with children younger than they are. Our children are not safe when one in five of them receive a sexual solicitation a year. National polls show that very few parents are aware of how real online dangers are. People that sexually exploit children can be anyone from a neighbor, family member, a teacher or even a member of the congress (Hughes).
The next thing that I’m going to talk about is the videos that children has access to on the internet. There are videos that show them about using drugs; how to use the different kinds of drugs, all the different kinds of drugs. The internet also has sites that show children how to make homemade bombs and explosives. There are actually videos that show them step by step process of making a homemade bomb. All the different ingredients that they need to use to make the homemade bomb or explosives. There are so many different types of harmful videos online for children such as: Sex videos, drug videos, suicide videos, videos on bombs and many more.
People really believe that their children are safe on the internet, when in actual reality children are not safe on the internet. There are so many different types of dangers on the internet for children. From pornography, child pornography, child abduction, child abuse, video games, videos, cyber-bullying, online chat rooms and social sites such as; MySpace, tagged, hi5, facebook and many other social sites. Parents really need to be aware of all of these dangers on the internet and take as many precocious as possible. Please don’t let the sexual predators make another child become their victims. Children are not safe at all on the internet and the internet is so important to today’s society children have to have the internet now days to just complete their homework and do research for papers for reports. So we cannot take the internet away from children, but we can take preciousness to protect the children on the internet. There are just so many different types software’s that can be purchased and downloaded to help protect children on the internet. Parents could even over see their children’s internet usage.
Hughes, Donna Rice. Enough is Enough: Protecting our Chilren Online. 16 November 2008 <http://enough.org/inside.php=oped%20foley>. Israel Government Portal Internet Dangers for Teenagers. 16 November 2008 <http://www.gov.il/FirstGov.TopNavEng/EngSubjects/SafeSurfingEng/>. Israel Government Portal Relationships with Strangers. 16 November 2008 <http://www.gov.il/FirstGov/TopNavEng/EngSubjects/SfeSurfingEng/>. Kam, Kathering. WebMD 4 Dangers of the Internet. 01 June 2007. 16 November 2008 <http://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/4-dangers-internet>. Powers, Martin. Yale Daily News-Locals charged with MySpace sex crime. 28 November 2007. 16 November 2008 <http://www.yaledailynews.com/articles/view/22577>.
The audience I am trying to reach would be people with children. Some parents don’t seem to think that their children can be exploited or in danger just from being on the internet. I hope that the parents that read this paper will realize how dangerous the internet can be for children. And do some research to learn how to protect their children from the dangers of the internet. I would hope that the parents that read my paper would be supportive of my research and take time to do something about it for the safety of their own children. I will need to tell all the dangers that I can find out about on the internet using for children and all the dangers that can lead to pornography, abductions, and abuse from the internet. Just because they think that their children are safe from harm doesn’t mean that they are. There are so many different dangers on the internet that people need to be aware of from pornographic, abduction to physical or emotional abuse. I hope that after parents read this paper they will agree with what I have to say and do something to try and protect their children from any dangers of the internet.