Online Dangers For Kids: More Hype Than Truth

May 4, 2009 at 2:06 pm Leave a comment

“The notion that predators are using the Internet as an L.L. Bean catalog, that’s not what’s happening.” — David Finkelhor, Study Author

The man who first brought us the staggering statistic that 1 in 7 children would be solicited online, David Finkelhor, is now reaching out to explain his data in context.  In his most recent study, Finkelhor explains that the online world is no more dangerous than the offline world, and that the largest threat of child abuse comes from individuals kids know in real life, not online.  

rest-stopThe entire article by Lenore Skenazy is worth a read because it is packed with useful information put into valuable context.  From Skenazy’s piece:

“Is letting your kids go online the same as dropping them off at the Vince Lombardi Rest Stop in fishnet stockings at 3 a.m.?

A lot of parents think it is. Or maybe worse. My husband and I took our time letting our oldest boy, who is 13, start his social networking, though that was because we were worried it was like dropping him off at the Vince Lombardi Rest Stop to do his homework—we figured it would never get done. But the towering fear that the second a kid goes online he or she becomes cyberjailbait turns out to be way off base. According to new research, the danger online is teeny-tiny unless your kids are running into chat rooms, typing, “Anyone here like ‘em young?” and posting photos of themselves licking lollipops. Naked.”

We don’t want to begin to belittle the value of teaching kids to be smart, digital citizens and continuously monitoring their online activities; however, some context around popularly quoted statics is useful in considering the big picture and helping parents and companies make decisions and polices that are proactive in keeping kids safe online, not rooted in fear of misunderstood threats.  Kid safety is our top priority at OneSeventeen Media, and we diligently seek out the most accurate information to share with our community while proactively working to create safe online spaces.  

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Entry filed under: Digital Citizenship, Kids, Online Safety, Parents, Research, Uncategorized, Youth. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

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