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Dangers Of The Online Playground Essay

4361 words - 17 pages

AbstractInternet online chat has become a part of our social environment and can offer many wonderful opportunities for new friendships and for keeping in touch with those who are already friends. There are a huge number of chat providers such as MSN, Yahoo, IM and TxtChat. Chat has become one of the big three net applications, along with web surfing and e-mail. Chatrooms are booming in popularity particularly among children and teenagers. It has become one huge playground just like any swing-park. But chat also has very real risks especially for children. Therefore children, teenagers, parents and other institutions need to be made more aware of the dangers that exist. The paper highlights the dangers internet chatrooms pose to children and investigates what can be done to ensure that people are made more aware of the risks online. This would help ensure that children could take more advantage of chatrooms and continue to enjoy their time online.1 IntroductionDue to the growth of web services such as Yahoo, MSN and many others there has been a sudden pep up to get every adult, teenager and child online. Web sites gives us the chance to listen to and download music, read newspapers, visit other countries, follow up on hobbies, tour museums and much, much more. Although in general the web is an exciting and tremendous resource, there are many areas that may harm the children users online or may damage the values and standards that parents may want to apply to their children's maturation. Therefore in this paper we have decided to focus on the dangers of chatrooms to children.In the next section, we highlighted the possible dangers that exist in the online chatrooms followed by some statistics in Section 3. Then in Section 4, we described the outcome of our observation of a Yahoo teenage chatroom. Section 5 focuses on the methods of combating the perils of the online chatrooms for children followed by our recommendations in Section 6.2 Identify The Perils Of Online ChatroomsAs the basis of our investigation concentrates on the perils of chatrooms here we are going to highlight the possible dangers that exist.A particular danger that has been identified by the Internet Crime Forum (Internet Crime Forum, 2001) consists in the possibility of children being approached online by adults or adolescents with the aim of developing a sexual relationship with them in the 'real world'. In some cases this activity may involve the assumption of a false identity, in particular the pretence of being a child. Research by Rachel O'Connell of the University of Central Lancashire (O'Connell, 2003) suggested that one child in five visiting the chatrooms has been approached online by a paedophile and one in ten nine to sixteen-year-olds had met up with someone they had met over the Internet. Shockingly, three-quarters of them did not attend the meeting with an adult. And the frightening fact is that paedophiles are apparently willing to travel the country to meet up...

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