Reasons Why Parents Need to Worry About their Teens Online

According to the results of one survey I read, 46.9% of internet users are under the age of 25.  Taking those results, this article should be an interesting one.  While part of that percentage is probably in their twenties, that leaves a big number below the age of 18.

It is wonderful how new technology has brought us closer to all points of the world.  Technology, especially the Internet has made our once big world small; Insomuch that at any given time we can talk to China or Australia and never leave our home in rural America.  While for the business world that may be a good thing, it goes without saying that for our children, it is a little much for them to be experiencing so much of the world so soon.

I enjoy watching the TV show “To catch a predator”.  Maybe enjoy isn’t the correct word, but it is interesting to say the least.  Maybe the part I like best about is to see the would be pedophile caught, and watch him squirm.  Also knowing it is a foiled attempt to actually meet a young innocent teenager. I like watching as they are hauled off to jail to stay awhile and think about what they are doing or were about to do.  How many are actually rehabilitated is a million dollar question.

The outcry from parents has been so loud against pop-up pornography sites that the Microsoft people have played a big part in stopping most pop-ups.  As careful as I am about certain sites my PC got viruses and I had to have it commercially cleaned.  I was appalled at what they found – so thankfully it was removed with no harm done except the fee I had to pay for getting it cleaned up.

Without thinking young people fill in applications for this or that, leaving themselves open to the world with all their information; from age to sex to likes and dis-likes.  Nothing is hidden on the WWW.  Parents beware of what your children are telling about themselves.  Spammers are good at what they do.  And once Spammed is too late to keep it from happening.

A recent article about parents in China, showed that 42.6 percent of the parents surveyed “strongly oppose their children’s use of Internet” or “relatively oppose”, while as high as 78.4 percent say they worry that surfing Internet could adversely affect children’s study. Another 44.9 percent worry about their children’s exposure to pornography online.

I remember when CHAT was the thing back in the 90’s.  It was weird to get on a chat with people one did not know just to talk (chat) awhile.  It opened up an exciting venture for teens to introduce themselves and chat with people around the world.  Now the truth is – were they from down the street?  Across town?  Was their name really Jack or Mary?  There are a lot of messed up people in the world and children are not mature enough to know the difference in real versus crazy people.

Now there is the ChatRoulette which is supposed to be for viewers above18 years or older, however there is not a place to enter the birth date of the viewer.  By the name Roulette, it gives us a good picture of the content.  It is easily accessible using Skype and what the viewer sees on the screen is anyone’s guess and from what I read it can get pretty graphic even porn-a-graphic.

One thinks of the internet as a place to do research and study.  Invariably it has taken place of my set of World Book Encyclopedia’s.  However not everything on the Internet is true. Just because it is in print and somehow got on the internet, does not make it Gospel.  Everyone has an opinion.  Opinions are not History.  History is an actual accepted record of what happened at a certain point in time.

Kim Komando of CyberSpeak,  brought up an interesting subject with the following:  “We all know that music can alter your mood. Sad songs can make you cry. Upbeat songs may give you an energy boost. But can music create the same effects as illegal drugs?”

This seems like a ridiculous question. But websites are targeting your children with so-called digital drugs. These are audio files designed to induce drug-like effects.  All your child needs is a music player and headphones.”

Do you find this as scary as I do?   I wish I were knowledgeable enough to even discuss it, however it would bear great urgency for Parents to check it out.  I found the information on the USA Today site.  Very informative.

Then there is U Tube, the place where a megabyte of fame is worth everything.  Kids have excess to cameras every day; on their phone or mini video cameras.  In a moment when a young lady has let her guard down can change her life forever.  Or for that matter a young man, being teased can be shown on the WWW and he is embarrassed for life.  What may have started out as a joke, may wind up as being harassment.

We cannot keep our children locked up for short seven years of their teens.  The Internet is technology that is here to stay.  And from the youngest of ages, our children are being exposed to the World Wide Webb.

Warren Buckleitner, editor of Children’s Technology Review says, “Kids are surrounded by screens in a way like never before, at home, in their pockets, in the minivan, and they know how to use them at younger and younger ages and Parents must be a part of it.” He goes on to say:  “”If you’re going to allow your kid to go to a website or play a game, you have to first check it out yourself.  Think about it, you don’t let your child eat a meal you’ve never tasted before.”

Special guest contributor: Kate Crosten of Internet Services

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