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May 07, 2007


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Ed Vielmetti

As a parent, I understand a certain fear of the Internet - not for the bogeyman of predators, but more for the worry that my kids will want to sit in front of the screen for hours on end and as a result won't be out running around (and thus the worries about general health and obesity etc).

peter naegele

I think "internet safety" is much too broad a term, as evidenced by Edward's post above.

In addition to mouse potato phenomenon and predators, there is also cyberbullying, cyberstalking, cybersex....basically any real world problem with "cyber" attached to it.

For some reason, parents see these problems as new, which they aren't. They are the same problems in a new form. However, they are blaming the medium instead of dealing directly with the cause.

This is probably due, in part, to the parents' lack of exposure to and / or knowledge of the "cyber" environment as well as the reputation of the web itself.

I don't have an answer of how to solve it....I am the parent of a toddler, so I am removed from the problems the parents of net-exposed children face.

Catch Up Lady

I agree that these problems have been prevalent for years, but that parents and schools are only now - with the proliferation of social networks (and shows like To Catch a Predator!) - waking up to it.

I don't think the presence of the "internet" on this list means that parents are ignoring the other issues, it just means they see it as a safety concern for their kids - which they should. Something like 1 in 7 kids is solicited online in a sexual way.

This Mott study just shines more light on the issue, which can only help. Hopefully parents who are not hip to the game will wise up and check out resources like MySpace safety tips or NetSmartz411 so they really understand what their kids are doing online.

Bryan Alexander

Greetings, Catch Up Lady, and welcome to Infocult. Solicitation is a major part of this, I think. I do wonder about two components of that, though:
1) How does 1:7 online compare with being hit on offline?
2) What age group is being propositioned? I've said before, as have others, that's it's a big mistake (at best!) to use terms like "children" or "minors" to cover pre-K kids, preteens, tweeners, older teens, etc.

That's a key point, Peter, about seeing the suffix rather than the prefix.

Ed, I wonder if new gaming approaches will mitigate that. There's the physically engaging Wii, of course. But also augmented reality, from geocaching on.

Catch Up Lady

Thanks for the welcome!

The 1 in 7 figure (for online solicitations) comes from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and I found this study in the NIH Library that says that 20% of women and 5 - 10% of men experienced some form of sexual abuse as children. LINK.[/ So it's (way too) high both online and offline imo.

From the NCMEC study it looks like the kids they surveyed were 10 – 17, so I’d say the tween/teen range.

Even one kid, irrespective of age, is one too many - so I'm definitely glad this issue is getting the air time it deserves. Like I said, knowledge is power (for kids and parents!).

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