Archive for July, 2009
A few people have recently been asking me about the safety of their kids online. How long do kids usually play online – are there kids over doing it? Since it is summer, some parents are seeing the online addiction shining through their kids. I am going to post some interesting stats that I have come across over the last few months.
- Kids between 10-14 years old usually spend 6-10 hours online per week.
- The majority of teenagers’ online use occurs at home, right after school, when working parents are not at home.
- 43% of children said they do not have rules about Internet use in their homes. - please note that I think this number is WAY to high. Everyone has rules about lots of different things in their homes, Internet Safety should be one of them.
- 1/3 of youth have been asked to meet somewhere, speak on the phone or send money /gifts via the postal system by a predator.
- 75% of children are willing to share personal information online about themselves and their family in exchange for goods and services.
- 90% of Internet traffic is pornography related.
- Sex is the #1 searched for topic on the Internet.
- Pornographic web pages now top 260 million and growing at an unprecedented rate.
- 11 is the average age of a child’s first experience with pornography. 90% 8-16 year olds have viewed porn online. 79% of these teens did so from their school library. 67% of these teens did so from their own home.
- 1/5 teenagers who regularly log on to the Internet say that they have received an unwanted sexual solicitation. Solicitations are defined as a request to engage in sexual activity, talk or to provide personal sexual information.
- 25% of youth who encountered a sexual approach told a parent.
- 27% of online teens reported that they have talked about sex online with someone they have never met in person.
- 26 popular children’s characters, such as Pokemon, My Little Pony and Action Man, revealed thousands of links to porn sites. 30% were hard-core. - this stat shocked me. My Little Pony is one of my daughter’s favorite sites. I am not worried, because of PurePages Internet, but what if we didn’t?
These stats may have raised an eyebrow when you were reading them… now think, by the time you have finished reading this blog, those numbers have only increased.
Do you remember the first time you saw an X-rated magazine? Was it exciting or scary – hmm, perhaps a bit of both… well, what if you saw these imagines, online, a place where you go to hang out and play? These images can stay with a child forever… as adults we don’t look at it that way, but as a young child, its like seeing two animals kill each other -lol! Its mind boggling!
Again, as I have said so many times before, just keep an eye on your kids. If you start monitoring them when they are young it will be second nature to them and they will not know any different.
If you have tweens and you notice any of the following… start looking a bit more closely as they are signs of being “friends” with a predator.
• Spends a lot of time online
• Find porn on the computer
• Receives phone calls, mail, gifts from unknown people
• Withdraws from normal activity
• Switches screen quickly (Alt+Tab)
• Uses other accounts for e-mail or Instant Messaging
If you wish to sit down and show your kids some Internet Safety videos, please visit http://www.internet101.ca/. They have great videos that really make you think about your safety. We often show these at our presentations and many of the Police officers do as well.
If you have any specific concerns please contact me.
Cyberspace. Information Superhighway. The World Wide Web. All of these terms equal the same thing. The Internet. It is a new tool that helps with research of all sorts, with socializing, with business meetings – the list is a mile long. Even though it is such a great thing, we are still learning how to use it correctly, with etiquette. We do not let our kids or ourselves, run wild with a saw, we should also not be letting them run wild on the Internet either.
This weekend my filters were turned off my Internet. Of Course, in the 20 minutes that I had turned my filters off for, I got a pop up (something that I haven’t experienced in years – thanks to PurePages!) and this pop up ended up leading me to Play Boy. Of Course, after not viewing such material online for several years, I was a bit intrigued, but it was just a matter of minutes until I was wasting my time. I did learn that Play Boy makes you sign in before you can see anything that is crazy bad… however, their “good” pictures are also considered bad in our house. I forgot what the REAL Internet is like. PurePages has sheltered and protected us from the negative aspects of it…
A few weeks ago, I wrote about the Chinese government wanting to censor the Internet. Well, recently I came across an article that says the the German government is following suit… and believe it or not… Canada is trying to join the force too. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but I think this can be a good thing. Here is a bit of what i have come across, “VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) - On Thursday Canada’s Public Safety Minister, Peter Van Loan, will put forward a bill that could force Internet service providers to allow police access to digital conversations without a warrant.” If this is approved, it will help solve so many problems we are facing today. It can help in computer crime, bank fraud, child pornography and depending on the way things are handled other aspects like criminal fraud, terrorism. It seems though that MANY people look at this, like an invasion of privacy. I think, and let this be clear, If it is PRIVATE, do not put it on the Internet. Do not post it, do not tag it, do not blog it, do not email it. After all it is PRIVATE – why share private matters with a stranger in Turkey?
A friend of mine was recently telling me about her girlfriend, Stella*. Stella got some great family pictures at the beach one day. Pictures that would envision a cozy and happy family enjoying good times. Stella posted them on Facebook and MySpace to share with friends and family. A few weeks ago my friend, that was telling me the story, was vacationing in Italy and she saw Stella’s family picture on a billboard… advertising for a getaway! This is just one example of the invasion of privacy on the Internet. When we put information online, we are letting EVERYONE invade our privacy, but when the government wants to help censor out the child porn aspects, there is a bunch of hoopla from the Human Rights supporters… The Government is trying to make sense of this new fantastic tool, called the Internet, just as we are. It will take time, but if they are trying to help, take it. If you are wanting to promote child pornography and computer fraud, then keep fighting, but if not, then hear them out first… it might just be for the good. After all, Canada is not the only country that is doing this. Australia has been doing this for years, so has the United Arab Emirates, now China, Germany and Canada are considering it…
To every good there is a bad. I know this. Will the Government try to access other information, maybe. BUT, call me selfish, I do not want to see my life savings in the pocket of a fraudulent Nigerian, nor do I want my daughter to be watching online porn before she is 6 years old.
Perhaps, the best solution is to have the Government make PurePages mandatory in every household – LOL – that would be the best situation, safe Internet that the Government can not access! Until this happens, there maybe an upside to the Government wanting to access digital information from our ISP’s. As it is, kids are already not allowed to hug each other at school,as their is a No Touching Rule in effect – they are not allowed to bring nut products in because of nut allergies and they have no vending machines that have junk food in them. Let’s face it, times have changed since we have been in school. Now they have routine fire drills and lock down drills. After all the years that D.A.R.E. has been teaching kids that smoking is bad, did you know that teen smoking is at an all-time low? All these rules were formed in the government, at first we think they are silly- but after time has passed are they really?…Do we not want these things for our children anyways?
The Bill is proposing to: ” allow police access to digital conversations without a warrant.” it will also “provide the police an essential tool in their fight against child porn on the Internet.” This Bill was only entered in for legislation last week, but it will be very interesting to see what will come of it and the resistance that will be met along the way.