Parents Internet Guide - Parental Controls

A Parent's Guide to the Internet and it's Dangers to Children, and Parental Controls software information.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Don't Believe the Type!

There's a new campaign to raise awareness of online predators. The campaign suggests that most predators will seek out teens (esp. teen girls) through chat rooms and IM. The campaign fails to talk about P2P sites or blogs, which I see as two of the most vulnerable places on the Internet currently. The problem is that programmers specializing in monitoring software can't keep up with all the other Internet innovations. There just aren't enough of them out there. It's sad that so many people are just interested in trying to come out with next great thing without thinking about the potential dangers of what's already out there.

The other problem I have with this campaign is that it's doing nothing but instigating fear. While I am a firm believer in information getting to the public about online predators, I think that there are good and bad ways to do this.

We have to view the Internet as a cyber world. It has the same great advantages and the same potential dangers. We teach kids to be cautious out in the real world, so we need to teach them to be cautious in cyber space as well. This is where the campaign falls flat. Yes, attention grabbing techniques, like saying, "Before you start an online relationship with a guy, think about how it could end" while a shot of police are searching an apartment are needed, but then add, something like, "Here are things you can do, people you can talk with, monitoring programs you can install, to make the Internet a safer place."

We need to cover all of our bases, make people more aware of the problem and offer all the safety advice we have. Check out the don't believe the type online campaign, which does a better job than the TV ads do, in my opinion.

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