Dangers of the Internet
The Internet was first developed in the 1960's by the United States government as a communications tool that could withstand the effects of biological and nuclear war. By the 1980's, the Internet began being utilized more and more by the private sector; however, universities and governmental agencies continued to utilize it for informational purposes. By the 1990's, the Internet began to grow uncontrollably, particularly with regard to the private sector. It became so uncontrollable that the United States government officially removed itself as being the "managers" or the Internet.
The development of the Internet has had an extremely positive effect in many spheres. People can now communicate with one another from all across the globe. An unlimited supply of information can be obtained 24 hours a day and with very little effort. Businesses of all types have found a new an ever-growing market on the Internet, and E-Commerce continues to expand each year.
The development of the Internet, however, has also had an extremely negative effect in many spheres. Pedophiles have groomed children online, enough so that they have been able to actually have face-to-face encounters with children they have met. Rapists have an unlimited victim pool, and can stalk their victims, find out any information about the victim, and then strike. Illegal prescriptions can be obtained, tobacco can be bought by minors, and illegal guns can be bought and sold. The information the Internet can yield can be destructive. For instance, one can learn how to construct bombs, make poisons, and make illegal drugs.
Below is an excerpt from an Internet transcript between a fictional screen name (with the profile of a 13 year old female, hobbies, eye/hair color, city/state) and people who have Instant Messaged the character while in chat rooms. The fictional character simply went into a chat room, and did not type anything. Within 5 minutes Instant Messages began to flood the screen. The names in the following transcripts have been altered, and the transcripts appear exactly how the Instant Messages were delivered. Also note: every member in the chat rooms has the ability to view each others profiles prior to actually Instant Messaging one another.
ALSO NOTE: PLEASE USE CAUTION PRIOR TO VIEWING THIS MATERIAL, AS IT IS GRAPHIC AND SEXUALLY INAPPROPRIATE. THE ONLY REASON THESE TRANSCRIPTS ARE BEING LISTED UNEDITED IS TO DEMONSTRATE HOW DANGEROUS THE INTERNET CAN BE, PARTICULARLY FOR CHILDREN.
Sexybrad613: do u have nude pics
CassidyLuv01: nope...no scanner yet...U/
CassidyLuv01: cool....so whats up tongith
Sexybrad613: nothing much
CassidyLuv01: bored to dath
Sexybrad613: me too
Sexybrad613: what do u look like
CassidyLuv01: i am 4'9 and about 92 pounds..blond hair
Sexybrad613: im 5'8 175 brown hair blond highlights green eyes
Sexybrad613: where u from
CassidyLuv01: i see silly
Sexybrad61321: whats your favorite sexual position
CassidyLuv01: silly...i am only 13...still waiting for the right guy
CassidyLuv01: thats okay silly
Sexybrad61321: do u play with yourself
CassidyLuv01: only when it rains
Sexybrad61321: are u serious
CassidyLuv01: it is a game my friends play
Sexybrad61321: how many fingers do u use
CassidyLuv01: i do not use any
CassidyLuv01: can i send this transcript to the police or your parents
CassidyLuv01: hey..kidding....you told me to talk about anything..i thought you like
Sexybrad61321: what game were u talking about
AzNRiC3g: can i ask you anything?
CassidyLuv01: anythikng at all
AzNRiC3g: is YOur pUssY hairy?
CassidyLuv01: 13 F U?
AzNRiC3g: you ever have sex?
CassidyLuv01: nope...not yet
AzNRiC3g: where u live?
CassidyLuv01: dont got one yet
AzNRiC3g: hair color?
AzNRiC3g: u cool at ur school?
AzNRiC3g: do u masterbate?
AzNRiC3g: when u wanna lose ur virginity?
CassidyLuv01: dont kjnow...looking for the right man
AzNRiC3g: u homealone now?
CassidyLuv01: dad went out again
AzNRiC3g: wanna cyber?
AzNRiC3g: u first
AzNRiC3g: no one is at my house
CassidyLuv01: what do you like
CassidyLuv01: RU married
AzNRiC3g: wanna play a game
CassidyLuv01: what kinda game
AzNRiC3g: i tell u what to do
AzNRiC3g: and u do it at home
AzNRiC3g: u have tits?
CassidyLuv01: little ones
AzNRiC3g: oh ok
AzNRiC3g: take off your t shirt
CassidyLuv01: what woud u do if your mom caught u?
AzNRiC3g: shes not home
AzNRiC3g: take off your t shirt
AzNRiC3g: u take it off
AzNRiC3g: stick ur fingers in yer panties
CassidyLuv01: no way
AzNRiC3g: now find a pencil
AzNRiC3g: and stick it up ur puss
CassidyLuv01: only sharp ones sir
AzNRiC: ues the eraser
CassidyLuv: can i send this transcript to the police or your parents?
AzNRiC3y: i am sorry
AzNRiC3y: i am very tired
AzNRiC3g: what is your adress
AzNRiC3g: put me on ur buddy list
CassidyLuv01: will do...go on
CassidyLuv01: what will you do
CassidyLuv01: real address
AzNRiC3g: we could be pen pals
CassidyLuv01: its 19506 Yorkshire Lane, Whitdilio, Michigan 48322..whats yours?
CassidyLuv01: will you call me silly
AzNRiC3g: if i write to you will you write back?
CassidyLuv01: I thought you were going to call me silly
AzNRiC3g: what is your number
As you can very plainly see, these transcripts are highly disturbing and alarming. For if a fictional character of a child could go into "regular" chat rooms, and be approached in this manner, how many of our children are being criminally solicited in this manner? I can inform you that in the two hours my assistant and I were in the various chat rooms under this fictional character name, there were approximately 119 different contacts from men over 20 years of age.
What can we do to help prevent people like this from accessing our children? There are many things we can do to prevent this unwanted solicitation, and to take action in case it does occur.
-Place parental controls on all computers in which children have access, and monitor the controls frequently
-Keep your computer in an open area, where children can be easily monitored
-Talk to your children. Inform them of the hazards, and why certain things can be dangerous on the Internet. Communication between children and their adult supervisors/parents/guardians is vital. Inform the children where they can report such incidents
-Check your childrens profiles they may have created under their email address name. Make sure no identifying information is present in these profiles. Continually check the profiles, in case your child has altered it without your knowledge
-Be very cautious about any "friends" your child has made on the Internet
-Take any and all threats or harassment very serious, and report them to your local authorities
Below are some website of particular interest.
Office for Victims of Crime
Internet Crime Complaint Center