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The Internet Your Rights Online

Internet Not Really Dangerous For Kids After All 445

Posted by kdawson
from the nevermind dept.
Thomas M Hughes writes "We're all familiar with the claim that it's horribly dangerous to allow our children on to the Internet. It's long been believed that the moment a child logs on to the Internet, he will experience a flood of inappropriate sexual advances. Turns out this isn't an accurate representation of reality at all. A high-profile task force representing 49 state attorneys general was organized to find a solution to the problem of online sexual solicitation. But instead the panel has issued a report (due to be released tomorrow) claiming that 'Social networks are very much like real-world communities that are comprised mostly of good people who are there for the right reasons.' The report concluded that 'the problem of child-on-child bullying, both online and offline, poses a far more serious challenge than the sexual solicitation of minors by adults.' Turns out the danger to our children was all just media hype and parental anxiety." Those who have aggressively pushed the issue of the dangerous Internet, such as Connecticut's attorney general Richard Blumenthal, are less than happy with the report.
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Internet Not Really Dangerous For Kids After All

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  • *plop* (mind blown) (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 4D6963 (933028) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @12:52AM (#26444099)
    But.. who are we going to have to think of now?
    • by conureman (748753) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @01:31AM (#26444407)

      Quick, Smithers, massage my brain. I'm trying to think.

    • by kilodelta (843627) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @02:17AM (#26444751) Homepage
      The elderly. Seriously, everything is either about the children or the elderly. Anyone between the ages of say 20 and 60 you're on your own.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by symbolset (646467)

      I would recommend we think of the children. [farkitrol.com]

      • by 4D6963 (933028) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @03:16AM (#26445103)

        Well I'm a very consistent person, so in the same way that I make sure that my children cannot see anything that may disturb them a bit (OMG what if my children saw a grown man's wee wee? It would surely traumatise them for life), I don't let my children play on the playground with anything short of an American football player's protection gear (OMG what if they scrapped their knee and in resulted in tendon infection and we had to amputate their leg or something!)

        I think that anyone who falls short of such measures of protection is a monster more than a parent and might as well push their children from the top of the helter skelter or show them a woman's breast.

        • by cayenne8 (626475) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @06:39AM (#26446125) Homepage Journal
          "I think that anyone who falls short of such measures of protection is a monster more than a parent and might as well push their children from the top of the helter skelter or show them a woman's breast."

          Your post is in jest, but, it is sad to think that in many places today, that if parents raised their kids like they did myself and my generation, and let us do the things we did, they'd possibly be arrested for child endangerment/neglect and actually risk having us taken away from them by child services!!

          Corporal punishmens (especially in public??)...letting us roam about the neighborhood playing unsupervised? Running around on bicycles and skateboards without 2 tons of armor (often with NO protective gear at all)? No cell phone to keep in touch 24/7? Going to pools to swim and jumping off diving boards ???? Not knowing where we might be at all times?

          Yep, it is truly amazing we made it to adulthood given the rough times we had growing up as kids without all the protections we have today...

        • by MrNemesis (587188) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @07:07AM (#26446305) Homepage Journal

          You let your kids outside? If I had my way I'd imprison irresponsible parents like you who put their kids' lives in great danger.

          Personally, I've solved the entire problem by encasing my children in polycarbonate resin which forms an airtight barrier between the sanctity of the child and the outside world - such as the aforementioed tendon infections, not to mention other fatal hazards such as necrotising fasciitis, piranha bees, country and western, homosexuality and religious freedom - which your pathetic padding does absolutely NOTHING to protect them from. You can't be too careful when it comes to exposing children to the world they find themselves living in.

          So far I haven't had any complaints from the kids, their behaviour has improved immensely and they've even stopped over-eating and watching TV.

        • by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @09:49AM (#26447559)

          My parents wanted me to be seen on my way to school, so I had to wear white clothes. White boots, white pants, white jacket, white scarf, white poodle hat, and then the snow plow got me.

          While I know you're being sarcastic (or at least I really, really hope you are), there are far too many who'd consider what you said serious and would actually do that. But that's not how life works. You cannot childproof the world.

          There are sensible things to do. There's such a thing as sensible childproofing. It's sensible to childproof your power sockets, because your child may well die, even with quite a bit of likelyhood, if they should cram something into them. It's sensible to childproof your stove, because hot water or, worse, oil can lead to life threatening injuries. It's sensible to lock away those bathroom chemicals because kids see some funny bottles and take a sip.

          It's sensible to do all that when your child is 3. It crosses the border to insanity if you do that when your child is 13.

          Kids are, if anything, explorers. They want to know. They want to learn. Last time I checked, parents wanted their kids to learn. So why is "you must not know/learn that" essentially what they keep repeating over and over?

          • by mysticgoat (582871) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @12:58PM (#26450799) Homepage Journal

            [sensible child proofing] It's sensible to do all that when your child is 3. It crosses the border to insanity if you do that when your child is 13.

            While I understand and agree with the general point being made, I strongly disagree with the specific example.

            One of the worst horrors from my years as a Registered Nurse in an Emergency Room was the grief of the 70 year old grandparents when their 3 year old grandchild drank from the bleach bottle kept under the sink during the first fifteen minutes of the kid's first visit to their home. It had been more than 40 years since they had children in the house and now because they had relaxed their guard, their grandchild was in incredible pain from the esophageal burns and at best faced growing up with frequent corrective surgeries because scar tissue just doesn't adapt to growth the way that normal esophageal tissue does. We got the child stable enough to transfer her to the Pediatric ICU, but this was one case where I did not want to know anything about how she did after that. I've seen a lot of misery of one kind or another, but this was so senseless...

            If there is ANY possibility of young children visiting your house, keep up with the child proofing. Think of it as very low cost insurance against having nightmare memories of the worst kind of catastrophe for the rest of your life.

            • by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @01:06PM (#26450969)

              Simple solution: Don't come to my home with small children in tow. It's for the best of everyone involved. Especially my sanity.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by shermo (1284310)

              At first I thought your post was going to argue against excessive child proofing.

              Is it possible the only reason the child decided to drink the bleach was because they'd never been able to get into cupboards before? Maybe if their home wasn't excessively sanitized they wouldn't drink everything they came across.

              Not being a parent, I don't know if that's too much to ask from a 3 year old.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by siriuskase (679431)

      ME

      It's about time we all started thinking about me! just think of the troubles I've seen....

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @12:52AM (#26444101)

    they will never know, given that this study is online.

    • Re:Unfortunately... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by symbolset (646467) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @03:17AM (#26445107) Homepage Journal

      Mine will. They get online at 2, when they get their first personal computer. It's part of how I teach them to read.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Doctor O (549663)

        Oh boy do I hope you're kidding. I guess either you don't have any children, or they are very young, otherwise you'd have a clue of the normal state of development at the age of 2. If they're not inquisitive enough already and show interest in learning to read by themselves, please do them the favour of *not* making circus attractions out of them. Each kid has its own learning speed and interests.

        You know, I've spoken complete phrases before I could walk (at 12 months) and could read at the age of 3, but it

  • by ScrewMaster (602015) * on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @12:53AM (#26444119)

    Those who have aggressively pushed the issue of the dangerous Internet, such as Connecticut's attorney general Richard Blumenthal, are less than happy with the report.

    Fuck 'em.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Only if they're underaged. Then they'll be right.
    • by Thanshin (1188877) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @03:42AM (#26445231)

      "Children are solicited every day online," Mr. Blumenthal said. "Some fall prey, and the results are tragic. That harsh reality defies the statistical academic research underlying the report."

      He could use that disgusting sentence in a nice anti-intellectualism banner.

      • by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @10:00AM (#26447711)

        "Children are run over by cars every day. That harsh reality defies any statistical research that most of them don't."

        So let's ban cars. Or let's keep kids from crossing streets.

        Seriously. When you send your kids to school, they'll have to cross a street or two (provided you're not in the fortunate position of having a school bus or similar system). So what do you do? Do you throw your little 6 year old out and tell him "this way, keep going 'til you're at the school"? Or do you take him or her by the hand and guide him, show him the traffic lights and how they work, show them the pedestrian crossing places and that they have to look out for cars? Go with him a few times, then send them alone while still following them to see whether they heed your guide?

        So you do that when teaching your child to go to school, yes? Why the hell do you not do anything similar when they start using the internet? It works the same way. Sit down with them, explain to them how the various things work, what they should be aware of, how they should never tell anyone their real name or address, no matter how "nice" they are or how much they claim they're just another child, etc.?

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by kalirion (728907)

          Given all the myriad ways that children could be hurt and abused, I think the approach that makes most sense is to ban children.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jason Levine (196982)

        A couple of weeks ago, my son was walking across my in-laws' kitchen when he slipped and fell on the back of his head. (Think Charlie Brown trying to kick the football falling.) He had a concussion and possible seizure that resulting in an ER trip. (This part is true. Luckily, he's ok now, but he did scare us for a bit.)

        By Mr. Blumenthal's reasoning, I should now lobby to ban all tile-based flooring for kitchens. All flooring surfaces should be like bean bags. If you fall on it, it just absorbs the imp

    • by Yvanhoe (564877) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @04:44AM (#26445525) Journal
      I would like to add, that being unhappy of having a safer place than thought for kids to be is a fucked up sentiment.
  • It should fine.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FunkyRider (1128099) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @12:54AM (#26444121)
    It should fine, as long as the child is not using a windows machine full of adware that pops up each minute trying to sell him viagra or one night stand services
  • by Lorienthin (1439867) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @12:54AM (#26444123)
    This just in.. It is in fact a child's parents who are most likely to abduct them! Best throw the kids out on the street for their own safety.
  • Golly gee willickers (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ZekoMal (1404259)
    Next they'll be saying that internet users who are online every day actually know something about the online community.
  • Equally Misleading (Score:4, Insightful)

    by biocute (936687) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @12:55AM (#26444135) Homepage

    Internet is still a dangerous place for kids, it's just not as dangerous as what others might have put it.

    I certainly don't want my kids to use this report to tell me it's more dangerous for them to play in the playground across the road than letting them surf net all day.

    The report says child-on-child bullying is more serious a problem to deal with, and I'm sure if they could solve this problem for kids, they would have solved the sexual solicitation problem as well.

    • by KlomDark (6370) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @12:58AM (#26444159) Homepage Journal

      Hmmm... I've yet to get the shit beat out of me on the internet, but have gotten my ass kicked at a playground a couple times.

      Which is more dangerous?

      • by Jurily (900488) <[jurily] [at] [gmail.com]> on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @01:20AM (#26444317)

        Hmmm... I've yet to get the shit beat out of me on the internet, but have gotten my ass kicked at a playground a couple times.
        Which is more dangerous?

        The playground bully who finds you on Facebook.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by xenocide2 (231786)

          Wait wait wait. Bully's are now finding nerds to beat up via the internet? The universe tends towards maximal irony after all...

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Opportunist (166417)

            No, the internet is the great equalizer. Because we know a shitload more about technology to fuck up the bully's facebook and myspace accounts for good to ridicule them.

            Only drawback is that we MUST stay in the basement from then on because, oh boy, if they EVER find out who did it and EVER get a hold of us...

      • by GFree678 (1363845)

        Hmmm... I've yet to get the shit beat out of me on the internet

        Won't stop people from trying to make it a reality.

        Oblig:

        http://www.bash.org/?4281 [bash.org]

      • I never got my ass kicked at a playground, but have you ever experienced getting your ass kicked by a particularly nasty virus or identity thief?

        Perhaps you haven't, but then again you were educated and wary... because you know the internet is just as dangerous a place.

    • by Onymous Coward (97719) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @01:51AM (#26444535) Homepage

      Obligatory bullying ref:

      Big, Bad Bully [psychologytoday.com]

      Excellent article on the phenomenon of bullying. Gave me a lot of insight into the dynamic.

      • by Klootzak (824076) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @01:57AM (#26444587)

        Good article... shows the mentality of the Psychologists/Social workers though, something like this:

        Two social workers were walking through a rough part of the city in the evening. They heard moans and muted cries for help from a back lane.

        Upon investigation, they found a semi-conscious man in a pool of blood. "Help me, I've been mugged and viciously beaten" he pleaded.

        The two social workers turned and walked away. One remarked to her colleague: "You know the person that did this really needs help."

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by grcumb (781340)

          Good article... shows the mentality of the Psychologists/Social workers though, something like this:

          Two social workers were walking through a rough part of the city in the evening. They heard moans and muted cries for help from a back lane. Upon investigation, they found a semi-conscious man in a pool of blood. "Help me, I've been mugged and viciously beaten" he pleaded. The two social workers turned and walked away. One remarked to her colleague: "You know the person that did this really needs help."

          Er, no. How about:

          Two social workers see a semi-conscious man in a pool of blood. "Help me, I've been mugged and viciously beaten" he pleads.

          "Tell you what," says one social worker to the other, "I'll take care of this guy. You go find the person who did it and make sure he never does it again."

          • by ultranova (717540) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @07:09AM (#26446325)

            "Tell you what," says one social worker to the other, "I'll take care of this guy. You go find the person who did it and make sure he never does it again."

            "I'll find out what's wrong with this person that got him beat up. You go find the person who did this and tell him that it's not his fault."

    • by conureman (748753)

      My kid's taste run towards some of that hentai dreck, and I am sure he's been goatse'd, but I don't think even that has really ruined his life.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymusing (1450747)

      The world is still a dangerous place for kids, it's just not as dangerous as what others might have put it.

      There, fixed that for you.

  • by 4D6963 (933028) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @12:56AM (#26444141)

    What's next? Next thing you know they'll find out it's actually pretty hard to come by child porn, that it's not that easy to build a bomb off Internet instructions or that a "skilled hacker" cannot just infiltrate anything and do anything by typing onto his keyboard for 20 seconds.

    Please, don't take our societal innocence away by destroying our misconceptions and delusions about the Internet.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @12:58AM (#26444163)

    A few words:

    tubgirl
    lemonparty
    meatspin
    goatse
    mr. hands
    2girls1cup

    Do you know how easy it is to stumble across these things? Of course, that does not mean that the government should step in and do the job of a good adult to protect their children... I'm just saying, the internet is not exactly the most kid-safe place.

    For instance, I was playing on a counter-strike source server a few days ago. A six year old kid rolled into my server. We regularly have pornographic sprays, adult voice chat, etc... We all tone down how we act when he's in the server. But for every group of people who try to act good around young children on the internet, there will be 100 more groups willing to link them to 4chan.

    Do your jobs, you god forsakenly poor parents!

    • by 4D6963 (933028)

      Do you know how easy it is to stumble across these things?

      Yeah, it's only too easy, mainly when you look them up on Google.

      A six year old player Counter Strike? How do you know he was six, did he type something like "Greetings my fellow players, it is I, Jimmy the 6-year old Counter Strike player"? Oh and thanks a lot for all the porny keywords, I'm only 3 and a half, you bastard!

      By the way, wouldn't you know which letter comes after G? I need that for my school homework.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Belial6 (794905)
        I see no reason that a six year old could not play Counter Strike. My four year old plays many many games that would be considered adult with no problem. While he isn't quite up to the complexity of sophisticated Counter Strike, he certainly could play it badly today. He is unlikely to type "Greetings my fellow players, it is I, Jimmy the 6-year old Counter Strike player"; He would more likely type something like "Hi, I am Conan. I am 4."

        Another two years, and I have no doubt that he could play a dec
    • by Jurily (900488) <[jurily] [at] [gmail.com]> on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @01:16AM (#26444281)

      But for every group of people who try to act good around young children on the internet, there will be 100 more groups willing to link them to 4chan.

      I think most kids figure out in about 2 minutes on the internet not to click on random links. The ones that don't, deserve what they get.

      Experience is the best teacher.

    • by Joe the Lesser (533425) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @01:27AM (#26444379) Homepage Journal

      for adults.

      But seriously sights of nudity and sex will not destroy a child. Parental abuse on the other hand...

      I saw porn at age 8 due to discovering a friend's older brother's cache, and I am not a rapist nor would I ever hurt anybody...in fact, the porn was not that interesting until I hit puberty.

      All it did was make me realize how much of the world was being hidden from me by adults, and it got me to read some childbirth books in the library to confirm the rumours.

      So my theory is beating your children will make them rapists, not porn, because violence is taught best by action and those with bitter hearts will have less mercy.

      • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @02:20AM (#26444777)
        Sex is normal. Violence is pornographic.

        More "primitive" societies (like our own not much more than 100 years ago) could not afford physical privacy to the degree many of us enjoy now: the children of the time might have been prohibited from mentioning or discussing sex, but they sure as hell knew a lot about it.
    • None of those things can cause physical harm to a child (or adult, for that matter). What you're talking about is exclusively (and very speculatively) psychological harm.

      But by that standard telephones in the house are also dangerous, because junior could ring up a sex line and learn about the mechanics of... well, whatever. The radio is dangerous, too, because junior could listen to Rush Limbaugh. (Rush is even on during playtime. Think of the children!)

      You've stumbled onto the correct answer, though. Wo

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kokuyo (549451)

      With several of them, I have actually tried to find them on the net upon hearing the phrases. Why? Because nobody would say what they were about, just that they were the sickest thing ever.

      So my curiosity peaked, I went out to look for them. I am a 27 year old IT guy, mind you, and I had trouble finding anything BUT yet more references to how sick they were.

      To this day I haven't seen ANY of them, but a plethora of videos on youtube of people's reactions to them.

      I can find porn easily. Because I know how to

  • by thomasinx (643997) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @12:59AM (#26444165)
    Wow. Who would've thought that something that we've been using for so long had such a secret?
    I mean... isn't that one of the few truths of the internet?
    That if children get anywhere near a computer,
    sexual predators spy on them through the webcams...

    I also enjoy how the attorney general publicly refuted the results when he didn't like them.
    I wish I could do that with things I don't want to be true.
    Recession? nahh... War? No way.. thats just an exaggeration by liberal media.
  • Japanese Subways (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BBCWatcher (900486) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @01:12AM (#26444255)

    I've seen 8 year olds riding Tokyo's subway system solo. The instant any of them show any signs of confusion or distress -- and that's very rare, since their parents teach them how to ride -- any number of genuinely helpful adults (plural) in the vicinity come to their rescue. This is all perfectly normal, and it's entirely within the physical world. Everyone is safe.

    The Internet is not even physical. There's always a wire (or wireless connection) separating its participants. Simply combine the Internet with a parent or responsible adult and it's safer (psychologically) than even the Tokyo Metro. (And it's always physically safer.) If government simply concentrated on promoting and supporting good parenting, that'd solve myriad problems. [How about starting by allowing all qualified parent(s), including same-sex parents, to adopt?] The Internet is not a parent any more than a subway car or glass of milk is, so it's ridiculous that any government would try to make the Internet a parent.

    • by Jurily (900488) <[jurily] [at] [gmail.com]> on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @01:41AM (#26444487)

      it's ridiculous that any government would try to make the Internet a parent.

      Actually, I like the idea. The net is full of fun things your parents will never know about. It's also an excercise in critical thinking. Of course, it's easier to point at the bad things and ban everything.

      Also, filtering information is one of the most useful skills a child can learn this millennium.

    • by Duradin (1261418) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @01:52AM (#26444559)

      Speaking as an ugly lug of a male American, I can say, and I'm probably speaking for a few others, that if there was a random kid in distress in a public, my top priority would be to put a safe distance between myself and the area the kid is in. Exceptions might be made for situations as extreme as obviously being abducted at gun or knife point. Other than that I dare not risk the cops-and-lawyer-on-conference-call-speed-dial response enough parents have.

      The poetic injustice of the whole situation is that in their mindless quest to protect their kids from everything they've actually made it more dangerous for their kids. The only random people likely to willingly interact with their kid are "the bad people" because the non-bad people don't want to get slapped with being a pedophile/molester/deviant. Sort of like the moron out west who is suing someone who tried to rescue them from a possibly life threatening situation. I help you, you sue me, my life is ruined, you live happily ever after. I don't help you, you die, I live. Great precedent to establish.

      • Mod Up! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @02:09AM (#26444685)
        I know of many men who have complained about the same thing: they dare not intervene when a child is in trouble or threatened, for fear that they will be mistaken for the cause of the trouble.

        It is very sad that our society has come to this, and there is no doubt whatever that it is the fault of the women. I don't mind saying that: I deal with stupid bitches every day.
        • Re:Mod Up! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Xiroth (917768) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @03:13AM (#26445081)

          I'm not prepared to let your half of the species take all the credit for that one - there's more than enough men fearmongering the same issue. The thing is really caused by the media and politicians beating it up far out of proportion - while it's absolutely horrible that it does happen, the instances of child molestation by a stranger are statistically extremely rare, and there are really much more likely things to be worrying about (like the general decline in altruism for fear of this sort of bullshit). Unfortunately, though, these types of stories make great news articles (because everyone's in agreement) and shortly thereafter great bandwagons for politicians to jump on (see the previous reason), so that's what people's attention is focused on. It was a wise (wo)man that said that one of humanity's greatest foes is an inability to really comprehend statistics.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by PakProtector (115173)

            There have been several times in public, generally at the local Mall, where I've witnessed a child in distress. By child I mean someone whose age is still in the single digits. Whether it's they've become lost and can't find their parents, or anything else, the first thing I always do is look around for the nearest mall cop and wave them over.

            I am by no means hideous physically. I tend to dress half the time like Doctor House (jeans and a suit jacket, button down shirt) or leather jacket, t-shirt and paj

      • by influenza (138942) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @03:04AM (#26445027)

        It's really too bad that you're that afraid. That society has somehow put so much fear in you that you're afraid of helping a child.

        In all likelihood any child who has lost her or his parents is far more scared than you.

        If you ever find yourself reconsider the "I don't help children because it puts me at risk" policy, here's some pointers that might make it a little less frightening for you:

        1. Respect the child's personal space. You don't have to touch the child, just stand back a few feet and ask if everything is all right, or if they know where their parents are. Where did they last see their parents?

        2. Get someone else involved. Ask another stranger if they've seen the child's parents. It doesn't matter whether you think the other stranger may have actually seen the parents. The point is that you're no longer a strange, single guy talking to a kid. Now you're a strange, single guy and someone else. If it makes you feel better, try asking a cute, elderly woman for help. Grandma probably won't hurt you. And she might have better ideas on comforting the child too.

        3. If nobody else is immediately around, ask the child to stay where they are while you go look for help. Assure the child that you won't go out of their sight, and that you'll keep an eye on them to make sure they're okay too.

        4. There's probably someone who works at the place you found the lost child who can help. Find someone official. A store employee, a security guard.

        5. If the child starts to yell at you to stay away or pulls a gun or dirty needle or something, just keep going. Leave the child alone but you should still let someone else know that a child is in distress.

        The point is to use some common sense. Don't threaten the child by invading their space. Don't try to be inconspicuous. Drawing attention to the situation is the exact opposite effect that anyone dangerous to children would want. Why would someone who wants to kidnap a child draw attention to them self that way?

        I've helped a few lost kids find their parents. It usually doesn't take very long as parents are generally eager to find their children once lost. And every single time the parents expressed genuine gratitude.

        • Thanks, but... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @03:26AM (#26445153)
          this is not what the REAL conversation is about, which is: the reason that adult males have REAL reasons to fear the consequences of attempting to help a strange child.

          It is not about scaring the child, and it is not about giving the child false impressions, etc. In fact, it is not about the child at all. It is about the adults.

          If you do not understand this dilemma, then you have been living a sheltered life. Wake up.
      • Re:Japanese Subways (Score:5, Informative)

        by AK Marc (707885) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @04:34AM (#26445483)
        if there was a random kid in distress in a public, my top priority would be to put a safe distance between myself and the area the kid is in.

        There was a story on the news last winter. A guy stopped and offered a ride to a girl that was walking to the bus stop on a cold morning. Yes, he stopped, asked if she needed a ride, then drove off when told "no" and didn't press or such. And when the child told someone, they decided they needed to identify this person and have the police interview them. Not because they committed a crime, but because males are not allowed to offer to help children of any kind. When there is a mention of such an incident on multiple TV chanels and the newspaper and they state the police want to "talk" to him, though no law was broken, then the system is broken. Someone broke our society. I want to call in a warranty repair.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Opportunist (166417)

      Umm... if hentai taught me anything, it's not really safe to ride the Tokyo sub wearing a school uniform...:)

  • by jackb_guppy (204733) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @01:14AM (#26444265)

    My kids have been on the internet since a age of 2 (each).

    Yes, the browser was pointed to Disney or Sesame Street, but they learned to go where they wanted to go. My oldest had the lock Netscape, but around 5yr I came one day found she had found away to URL prompt. So from that day forward I have left the browsers unlocked. My youngest first words would to the effect of "mom-dot-see-oh-em'.

    Yes, I check on kids usage via firewall logs from time to time, but find nothing wrong. I even enter their rooms to see what they are doing (but VNC is easier).

    My wife while telling about the birds and bees, also give the kids on-line lessons as well. Showing what happens when you mis-type some kids site names and showing how to get out of the mistake.

    It is up to us to raise our kids.

    It is up the Richard Blumenthals of the world to find a new job and let us raise our kids!

    • by zappepcs (820751)

      I don't have mod points, but I hope you get modded up quick.
      This is exactly what parents are supposed to do with their kids... teach them, watch for mistakes, and go from there.

      My kids are all legal adults now, and can I teach them anything.... F no. They don't want to learn anything, just want someone else to do it. Step kids BTW. If you can teach a 6 month old how to swim, you can teach a 2 year old how to use the computer.

      Awesome.

  • by unlametheweak (1102159) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @01:26AM (#26444361)

    Those who have aggressively pushed the issue of the dangerous Internet, such as Connecticut's attorney general Richard Blumenthal, are less than happy with the report.

    Of course, because without fear it is far more difficult to control people.

    • by crazybit (918023)
      without fear it will also be harder to push laws to control the internet and log all communications.

      In case you haven't seen it, that's where "democratic governments" are trying to pull their strings now
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Schemat1c (464768)

      Of course, because without fear it is far more difficult to control people.

      Of course, because without fear it is impossible to control people.

      There, fixed that for ya.

  • Something tells me the research for this study avoided any site with "chan" in its URL.
  • That man will do anything to get his name in print. He gets his job done, I have to give him that, but he's probably the biggest glory hound I've ever seen in the world of politics.

  • by Max Romantschuk (132276) <max@romantschuk.fi> on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @01:39AM (#26444483) Homepage

    The Internet isn't a baby sitter any more than videos/DVDs. Responsible parents should monitor their children's media consumption and teach them about being critical, separating fantasy from reality etc.

    My kids are too small to use a computer for now, but once they become big enough I'm not going to just let them browse at their leisure. I'm going to monitor them by first being there with them, and once it seems they are OK on their own I'm going to be in the same room. Only much later will I allow them to browse on their own, and even them I'm going to reserve the rights to monitor their logs.

    Parents should get a grip and deal with the fact that getting kids involves parenting and responsibility. Not just media. I'm responsible for seeing to it that they exercise enough, eat healthily, brush their teeth, go to bed in time... That's the way it works.

  • IT'S FOR THE FUCKING CHILDREN, REMEMBER?

    We have to ferret out ANY possibility of evildoing, even if it is just the improper thoughts of unclean minds!

    Of course, only WE are capable of judging such things... everyone else is corrupt and an evil panderer on these internets.

    You CAN'T be taking away the one terrorist tool I had to control the U.S. population: the fear of being labeled a pervert, even for doing innocent things!

    Oh, no! I am melting! Melting...
  • by tirefire (724526) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @03:12AM (#26445079)

    I was born in 1989, and I had unsupervised internet access starting around 1997 (when my parents first got dial-up). The first few times I was online, I was with my parents (just because we were in a group looking at this cool internet thing). A porn banner came up at one point during the group experience. I'm grateful this didn't launch my parents into knee-jerk lockdown mode. On the contrary, they just sat me down in the living room and talked to me for about 10 minutes. The gist of what they told me about the internet:

    - Don't reveal your name, address, share photos of yourself, or do anything that identifies you (I didn't care; I already had enough friends at school. I didn't want to talk to anyone new online).
    - If someone asks you for this info, don't tell them, and stop talking to them (Same as above).
    - Don't look at porn; it's unrealistic and gross (I looked at porn anyway. It gave me a boner but I didn't even know what to do with it. After a while I got bored and went back to playing Quake).
    - Don't do anything illegal. If you're not sure about something, ask us (I downloaded a ton of warez off of Hotline servers, but that's in a legal gray area).

    Overall, it was pretty laissez-faire. Just some warnings about what to avoid. But that was it... no monitoring software, no cyber-sitter bullshit, no "you can't use the computer if we're not in the room" rules. I was happy about the rules they set up. I'd often be at a friend's and we'd want to play an online game or something. We could hardly ever do it because all of my friends' parents were scared shitless about the internet by shows like 20/20 and Dateline. They'd insist on being in the room if we were going to be online. Sometimes I'd argue with other parents, using defenses like "We're not idiots; we know not to tell people where we live or who we are. Give us a break". This didn't do much other than result in some angry calls to my own parents. My best friend's dad was pretty computer literate and went all CIA on his son's internet use... logs checked weekly, blacklisted sites, the works. This treatment lasted all the way through senior year at high school! Worse yet, when I offered to hook my friend up with a proxy or VPN, he balked and said he didn't want to go against his parents' wishes. I feel sorry for anyone who's conditioned to think that total surveillance like this is at all reasonable.

    Parents who monitor your children's browsing: I realize you just want what's best for your child, but remember that you are not a demigod and that your children are human beings with a right to see the world for themselves. Seriously. "Shielding" them from pedophiles and naughty pictures is like never letting your kid out of the house for fear of ticks and rattlesnakes. If you're worried your kid will see goatse and be scarred for life, then open a web browser, look at it together, and talk about it. Your kid will probably see it either way (after he moves out, if it comes to that), so you might as well take the initiative and put it in perspective to minimize any danger. I'm living proof that seeing rotten.com, goatse, playing Quake, and looking at porn (all at an early age) does not fuck you up.

    Should I ever have kids, they'll get about the same treatment I got - they'll know they can do anything and everything that doesn't risk measurable physical harm. They'll know right away that screwing up this simple rule means no more internet until they've learned their lesson. Considering my own childhood 'net experience, I don't expect any problems. I'll do my best to foster in my children an unquenchable curiosity about all parts (good and bad) of life on planet Earth... doing otherwise would serve only to chisel away a little bit of their lives.

    Prior to looking at porn, I honestly had NO CLUE that anyone would partake in anal sex. It sure wouldn't have occurred to me otherwise. Seeing things like that led me to develop an academic interest in everything that I had never encountered in daily life

  • by Stanislav_J (947290) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @07:51AM (#26446613)

    Anyone who thinks such a study will change the hearts and minds of people is naive at best. Consider that:

    -- Human beings have a strong inclination to cling to the anecdotal, the intuitive, the "obvious." There is a dearth of ability to look at things in a well-rounded, complete, scientific manner or to allow facts to override innate prejudices.

    -- Never forget that many of the "think of the children" campaigns are not about "the children" at all -- the kids are just a convenient, emotional peg on which to hang the desire to ban or sanitize things for all of us.

    -- Facts are simply not viewed as "facts" when they conflict with a strongly held belief, most especially one based at least in part on religious grounds.

    These factors rear their ugly heads time and time again. Every yardstick shows that the War on Drugs is a failure, and actually counterproductive, yet the notion of legalizing/decriminalizing those substances (and shifting money and resources away from law enforcement and punishment, and towards education, prevention, and treatment) is anathema because "using drugs is wrong." Climate change is a fact that must be dealt with, but you will find countless naysayers who either have their own interests to protect (the oil companies, big business), or have such a limited and narrow understanding of the phenomenon that every colder than average event, trend, or season in isolated areas (such as what has been happening this winter in some parts of the U.S.) is instantly seen as "proof" that no such change is taking place. In the same manner, studies such as the one cited will not deter many individuals from believing that scads of ogreish perverts are stalking our children and that the "Internets" are a cesspool of danger.

    Until and unless evolution produces more humans capable of accepting fact over emotion, of embracing the scientifically proven in lieu of the simplistically observed, of seeing the big picture and not focusing on isolated exceptions to the rule, then we shall continue to have studies like this marginalized or outright ignored. Maybe someday...don't hold your breath.

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