Parents Beware of Cyber Sexing of Children | Community Spirit

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Parents Beware of Cyber Sexing of Children

 Parents should be concerned with their children’s online activities this summer while school is out; especially when they are alone or with friends surfing the web on Social Media sites. I’m concerned as a teacher when I hear boys and girlsin elementary school talking about their Facebookfriends and the discussions they have online while chatting,sharing information, pictures and videos. Their chats range from events at school to communityhappenings, family situations and interacting with theironline and offline friends. The disturbing part is hearing10,11, 12, 13 year old boys and girls not even old enoughto drive talk about adult content, using profanity andsexual situations. 

The “hookups,” “booty calls,” Sexting and “ sexualquickies” that are being asked and sexual content beingshared is being exposed to youth. Sexting is growingonline and many parents are not aware of their childor children’s online activities.  Laws are being passed thatmake Sexting a minor federal offence and those that areconvicted must register as a Sexual Predator. When I ask students what do their parents think, somestudents say their parents don’t know or tell them to cussback or just play along for fun. Kids will be kids andwill follow their parent’s advice, it is a unfortunatesituation that places too many youth in danger. Youthwill post their address, cell phone number and otherinformation online thinking they are safe“cause no one will find them.”  

Really????????? Google and other online Search Engines arepowerful tools. Google Earth is being usedby adults seeking sex with minors, finding youthby their addresses, zip codes and other small piecesof information. Facebook is contemplating loweringthe age of their members, to what end? In my opinion as a professional educator and parent,parents are treating online Social Networking siteslike Facebook as 21st century televisions. Too many parents have no clue or do not worry aboutwhat their child is exposed to until it is too late.The child leaves to meet some stranger they metonline, or the child is seduced (literally) bysomeone pretending to be their age and goingthrough struggles that only a teenagerwould “understand”. Thus trust is built and aplan developed to meet in person.   

The Internet is a reflection of our society; there are goodparts and dangerous parts. Vint Cerf, considered oneof the “Fathers of the Internet” stated, “The internetis a reflection of our society and that mirror isgoing to be reflecting what we see. If we do notlike what we see in that mirror the problem isnot to fix the mirror, we have to fix society."

The problem as I see it does society want to fixthe Internet or know how? Parents are missing the warning signs and allowingtheir child or children to be exposed to content thathas long term psychological and emotionalaffects. Kids are being kidnapped, raped, forced to workas prostitutes, both male and female. Their interaction onFacebook and other social media sites has growndangerous in some cases. The tragic events of an Austin, Texas girl is a primeexample. “Texas 12-year-old lured into sex tradethrough Facebook invite,” this happens more andmore. Parents do not enforce or reinforce safety onthe Internet for their minor children. Preventionand education are the keys. The Austin, Texas girl,"they brought her to an undisclosed locationand basically forced her into prostitution."From the young girl's Aunt'sexplanation of how these events happen,"I had no clue this was even going on inCentral Texas. I thought it was a third world country situation."http://www.kens5.com/news/Houston-12-year-old-lured-into-sex-trade-through-Facebook-invite-155698385.html

Online content is not specific to any race, financialstatus or gender by the weekly reports of lawenforcement and cyber porn, cyber bullying andcyber stalking. Austin, Texas Police Departmentsays child predator crimes are on the rise. Recently a cyber-sting operation netted 17 mentraveling to have sex with minors in Florida,some traveled from Georgia and Alabama. The troubling statistics are that these men areprofessionals such as teachers, lawyers, doctors,and even one a clergy member. They find youth inchat rooms and arrange for “friendly” meetingsor out right sexual encounters. When or if FB decides to lower the age of it membersthe question is are parents going to be more or lesscautious? Schools are out for the summer break andparents will not be monitoring their children’sonline content, even if the child goes to the locallibrary their content is not monitored.There is the Constitutional Rights of freedoms,but this may come at a high cost in a young person’slife and personal safety. Parents are not educatedenough to understand the invasiveness of theInternet and growth in access using wireless devices. 

 

Parents, as an educator, consultant, social media presenterand importantly parent take the time to talk to your childor children about their online content and activities.If they become argumentative, act suspicious, or denyactivities that is an indication there is a problem.Check the computers browser history and cell phonesbecause they can access the Internet through wirelessdevices. Contact the cell phone provider and get a copy of data access by text, web, pictures, and video.

If you arethe parent and paying the bill you have a right do findthis out the type of information your minor child or teenis accessing and take appropriate actions. Don’t waituntil law enforcement is involved. Don’t make the excuse of ignorance like in Austin, Texas that assumednothing dangerous goes on in Internet chat rooms. The United States is not a Third World country. Parentsmust not have a Third World mentality while theirchildren and families lives may be in danger.   Be Educated, Be Empowered, Be Engaged …. 

Resources: Net Safe Kids:http://www.nap.edu/netsafekids/internet.html What the Net Did Next:http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/3292043.stm

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