The Danger Lurking Behind the Mouse
Gaming, socializing, news, and research all harmless activities in an online setting. Yet everyday encounters happen that are not appropriate for the viewers in front of the screen. These types of websites feature advertisements that are innocent and also some that are tailored to a more mature audience. While the internet houses enumerable sources of information it is also a trap for the youth of today. Snaring them in a complex and cruel world with no forgiveness. Solicitations and pornography abound and are easily obtained by those of all ages. This is a war that has been fought, is being fought, and will continue to plague the world we live in without fail.
The safety of today’s youth in the online environment is becoming an increasingly popular topic. With subject matter ranging from bullying, identity theft, all the way to sexual exploitation it is no wonder the issue of youth safety online has become a mainstream problem. Over the years these issues have moved from a virtual realm where words and actions were once thought to die in the midst into real consequences physical violence, and suicide.
Figures suggest that as much as 57% of youth have encountered pornography in an online setting. 46% have been given personal information when solicited (Livingston, Magdalena, Regulating Internet at Home). While these numbers are high they do not compare to how little parents/guardians know of what is really happening. As little as 5% believe that these things have happened with there child (Livingston, Magdalena, Regulating Internet at Home). Pornography is an addictive evil. Many of the 57% that had encounters with pornography will search it out later because of curiosity and its addictive nature. This creates a major problem for parents and others responsible for the content that is viewed while in their care.
Today's youth spend countless hours online at home or with others. Teenagers on average spend as much as 5.1 hours a day online (Olsen, Parents Shaky about Kids' Safety Online). With this amount of time spent online there are countless opportunities daily for encounters to happen. From a sample of 917,410 images collected over the course of 18 months researchers at Carnegie Mellon University discovered that over 83% of image downloads were of pornographic content (Armagh, A Safety Net for the Internet). The content that we are exposed to has slowly been making its way to more disgusting and graphic. These statistics are alarming but show no sign of stopping or even slowing down.
If the safety of our youth is not addressed these statistics will grow at an exponential rate that will encompass us before we know it. As the content becomes more graphic our tolerances will increase. This can only mean one thing. In order to be effective the attempts made at our youth must become more daring, and risky. It is human nature to push the limits of whats possible and whats acceptable. Thus keeping the...