Dangerous Things Children Can Find on the Internet
The Internet has changed our lives forever – there is hardly any other invention (except electricity and printing press, perhaps) that has influenced the development of the society, its culture, commerce, communication and all other spheres so much. However, there are also hidden dangers that are especially hazardous when the World Wide Web is explored by children. This article explains to parents why it is essential to be near when your kid is browsing through the sites and why it is vital to discuss everything that happens on the Internet with children.
The obvious choice for the point #1. 13% of all web searches are for porn content, and the lion’s share of these searches are made by teens. Frequent porn movies run-throughs in young age and exposure to sexual media has negative results. For example, adolescent forms sexual attitude and beliefs that are far from real life and close to the picture that porn movies create: normality of having multiple sexual partners, casual relationship, neglect of the necessity of affection between sexual partners and even trying to repeat actions and behaviors seen in the porn movies. Approximately 80% of all unwanted web searches are made from home, and before legal adulthood, almost all boys and more than a half of girls see group sex online.
Sexting is sending messages with sexually explicit, nude or partially nude photos or videos. For the most part, that activity can be considered as child porn peddling, and there were cases when teens were charged for it. There are several dangers linked to it, for example, a possibility of disclosure, as 20% teens who receive such messages share it with someone else. In general, 1 in 5 teens is said to send nude images of themselves. And for the most part, teens send such messages and photos in order to hit fancy of others.
Bullying is developing and breaking the tether of toilets and changing rooms moving to the Internet and social media. Until recent times, bullies were physically strong. Today they don’t have to be like that as all they need is access to the Internet. Hacking emails, sending hurtful messages, posting mean anonymous comments – all these are weapons of a cyberbully.
Some researchers say that literally any teen with access to the Internet and profile on the social media has witnessed or participated in the cyberbullying accidents. Also, almost a quarter of teens admit that they’ve seen fake information about them online. And one-fifth of all adolescent users state that their peers, for the most part, are mean to each other.
4. Internet predators
One of the main dangers on the Internet is meeting new people who appear to be not as friendly and innocent as they picture themselves. Manipulating teen’s feelings and desires to be liked, such Internet predators groom teens giving them presents and dedicating time. Then they try to turn the relationship from online to offline. The consequences may be dreadful, from abduction to kidnapping and murder.
For the most part, offenders are much older than their victims. They pose themselves in such a way that their victims willingly go with them somewhere, even run away from home if parents forbid them to meet their ‘online friends.'
Not many parents know about hidden dangers of online and console games. Often such games include crude language and adult content; moreover, online games often connect kids with strangers. Over 80% of children often play games, 30% of them play and interact with people whom they do not know. Also, 13% of teens had a possibility to purchase age-rated games.
6. Lack of privacy on the social media
Although the age limit on the most popular social media platforms like Facebook is 13, many underage children have an account there long before they reach this age. More than that, often parents of such kids help them do it! But with time, parents pay much less attention to what their little ones do online. As a result, teens can see pictures of the offensive behavior of their peers as well as spend too much time on the social media.
There is no possibility to predict what video will your children see there. No one is physically able to check all content uploaded to YouTube every day (8 years of content!), so there can be literally anything – from porn to violence.