Sunday, March 27, 2011

Online Predators

When choosing a topic for this assignment, I was immediately drawn toward the topic of online predators. Working with middle school students and having family members that are young and naive to the World Wide Web, it is important to become proactive in the fight against online predators. After researching through countless amounts of journals, newspapers, websites, and online videos, I came across this website provided by the Crimes Against Children's Research Center that gave some very startling statistics.

  • 1 in 5 teenagers in the United States who regularly log on to the Internet say that they have received an unwanted sexual solicitation via the web

  • 25% of children have been exposed to unwanted pornographic material online

  • 75% of children are willing to share personal information online about themselves and their family in exchange for goods and services

  • Only approximately 25% of children who encountered a sexual approach or solicitation told a parent or adult

  • 77% of the targets for online predators were age 14 or older

  • Another 22% were users ages 10 to 13

If you thought the statistics were startling, wait until you watch this video in which Dateline NBC's host Chris Hanson catches an online predator in the act.

After reading the facts, and watching this video first hand, now its time to become proactive and informed on how to protect your children and families from online predators. According to a website published by the Microsoft Corporation, the number one prevention technique on protecting your children from online predators is to simply talk to your children about the dangers lurking inside the world wide web. The Microsoft Corporation also suggest that parents use parental control software, keep the Internet connected computer in a common location in the household such as a dining room or den area, never download images from an unknown source, use email filters, choose a gender-neutral screen name that does not use sexually suggestive word or reveal personal information, and lastly to tell an adult immediately if anything happens online that makes anyone feel uncomfortable or frightened.

Annotate Bibliography Online Predators - Child Safety - Microsoft Protect." Online Predators - Child Safety - Microsoft Protect. Web. 27 Mar. 2011.

Online Child Predator Statistics." SentryPC - Parental Control Software. Web. 27 Mar. 2011.

YouTube - Dateline NBC: To Catch a Predator." YouTube - Broadcast Yourself. Web. 27 Mar. 2011.

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