National Institute on Media and the Family

National Institute on Media and the Family is an independent, nonpartisan, non-sectarian, non-profit organization that provides reliable information so families can make prudent media choices. .

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Friday, June 10, 2005

Internet Safety

The recent article in the New York Times about a public service announcement campaign for young Internet users (see last post) is encouraging. The Justice Department, Advertising Council, children’s advocacy groups, and leading researchers are bringing attention to the dangers of the online sexual predators. Making kids aware of the dangers on the Internet is essential to protecting to them.

But, the overall situation is less rosy when you consider that some irresponsible buzz marketers are still maintaining chat rooms that could be happy hunting grounds for online predators. According to the article, 20 percent of kids receive a sexual solicitation online in the course of a year. And that figure comes from studying kids in 1998 and 1999. The recent explosion of buzz marketing sites probably increases the odds.

Making kids aware of the Internet’s hidden dangers is a good first step. All parents should sit down with their kids and discuss what to do when a sexual predator approaches. We must stress that they should never agree to meet these people in person.

That said, the people who create kid-friendly sites in cyberspace bear some of the responsibility, too. Kids should have the savvy to avoid predators’ clutches. But I can see no reason to make it easier for the fiends to test our kids’ skills.

Posted by NIMF Staff @ 1:51 PM

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