I just finished reading this article and my mouth is still hanging open. Something worse than predators is a greater harm to kids? Well, I should have known. Bullying and Peer Abuse are the root of all evil in my opinion. So, why should this article surprise me? I guess because we are so focused on predators being bad and harmful to our children which they are while we minimalize the problem of peer abuse and bullying. Yeah, maybe that’s it! It sure seems to be the case from where I am standing.

According to this article, The Internet Safety Technical Task Force issued a report that stated with online bullying, all kids are not at risk equally as they are with predators. The bullying will generally start offline and filter its way onto the internet. Also, children who are cyber bullied know who their abuser is offline. The social sites are a hotbed for peer abuse as kids can add friends and send messages through bulletins, private message boxes, friend feeds and chat. Also, can set up groups and use other functions to slander each other. Predators exist and are also on these sites. However, as far as meeting one or searching for any material such as porn, this generally will not happen except in the case of teen males and many predators can be found on those sites. Predators do approach children on social sites, however, a predator does not have a relationship with a child offline and has no history of the child unlike the cyber bully. Unless the child tells a predator his offline address and phone number, they are not likely to have this material at hand. The cyber bully generally knows where his target lives and can gain access to any phone numbers and email addresses without any problems. The task force also suggested that there is not any one way to stop this problem unless adults get involved and take this seriously. Using software helps but parents need to filter and monitor where the child goes online. A history function is usually helpful in this case. Its about education and being aware not only of the predator problem but the cyber bullying as well.

I see children on MySpace and You Tube more often than facebook and others. Even though social sites are a great way to network, do business, reconnect with old friends and stay in touch all at once with everyone, they have a dark side to them. One thing that concerns me is the fact that when children turn 13, they are allowed to have an account on these sites. Why are we even giving teenagers an option to be on a site where adults are? I do not agree with this at all. Children, even by the age of 13, have nothing in common with adults so why give them the option to interact with them? If children are online and wish to have a place to interact, they need to be doing so on a site that is not designed for adults. In my opinion, this adds to the predator problem, not help it.

A great site is the Safe Wave  site that is designed for children and is set up for children to interact without predator and peer abuse problems and keeps children safe. The most important thing is keeping children safe when using the internet. This site comes recommended and after all, our children are the future so lets do what we can to keep them safe!

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