The Cyber Playground: Is It Safe for Our Children?

Essay by icelimit August 2003

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The Cyber Playground:

Is It Safe for Our Children?

Christina Long, a sixth grader from Danbury, used the internet frequently without appropriate parental supervision. One day she met a 25-year-old Brazilian male named Saul Dos Reis who lived in Greenwich on the internet. They met in person and she was killed during sex. Police said that the result of the autopsy revealed that she was strangled ("Greenwich").

A 15-year-old Massachusetts girl was kidnapped and sexually harassed by James Warren, 41, and Beth Loschin, 46, from Nassau County. The girl told the couple that she wanted to run away from her home. The couple convinced her that they could help her. When they met, the girl was soon handcuffed and bounded with rope. The girl was trapped in the couple's house in Farmingdale, NY, for a week ("Slave").

According to a parental control software developer, one out of four children was sent pornographic pictures of people who were naked or having sex and one out of five kids were solicited for sex on the internet.

Also, an estimated 725,000 children have been aggressively pursued for sex (Software for Parents). Although softwares are developed to prevent and protect our children during their journey in the cyber playground, child related internet crimes are hardly reducing.

These are some provocative examples that prove how vulnerable our children are in the cyber space. Most of these unfortunate tragedies are mainly caused by negligence of victims' parents and the absence of enforceable law or censorship that protects our children. It is almost impossible these days for parents to monitor every internet activity of their kids since many families have both parents working full-time. If the parents cannot fully protect their children, what can protect those children? Here the internet censorship comes to play an important role.