Is the Internet Getting More Dangerous For Kids?

Feb 04, 2014

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With all the advancements in technology occurring constantly, we tend to think that each upgrade will improve our lives. It appears, however, that with more technology, more dangers arise. 

Social networks and digital devices are becoming a common source for tragedies in the news. 

Cyberbullying is becoming more prevalent and more dangerous. With free texting and messaging apps on mobiles and iPods, kids are able to act like they own a cell phone with a data plan. It's easy to tease and torture online, where bullies can hide behind anonymity. Girls bully more than boys. Popular kids are bullied more than others. 

Cyberbullying goes past psychological abuse and pushes victims into extremely vulnerable situations. In the summer of 2013, a teenage boy from Utah committed suicide because of bullying at his school. Another victim, a 13-year-old girl from the UK, was bullied by a compromising photo that she had been pressured to take in the first place. While threatening her tormentor to jump from a window if he did not delete the picture, she tragically slipped and fell four stories to her death.

Kids using technology at such a young age also face earlier exposure to dangerous content. Eleven is now the average age of a first exposure to pornography, even though it can often occur by accidentally clicking on a link or mistyping a search. Mobile phones get a majority of malware from pornography web sites. 

Underage social network use is another challenge. Facebook requires its users to be 13 years and older. However, plenty of young children lie about their age and create profiles, despite there being multiple social networks designed for kids under 13.  Then, when the child’s fake age reaches 18 years old, they will be put into the mainstream for ads and contacts.

Under-age users aren't the only ones lying about their age. Often sexual predators will lie about their age to get close to your children. In 2013, gang members in Virginia were caught using Facebook to lure girls into a personal meeting at a local mall, and were then kidnapped for sex trafficking. 

Also consider the effect of user-generated websites like Wikipedia. It’s a reference site, so that should be ok?  No. Of the top 1000 pages visited on Wikipedia, over 90% have nudity and sexual content.

Parents need to take the time to address these dangers with their children. Kids need to be warned of the consequences of over-sharing, cyberbullying, and pornography. Children want to be connected with their friends, but also need to be protected from online danger.

To enjoy the positives of social networking and to avoid the dangers, Net Nanny Social enables parents to monitor their child’s friends, pics, and posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google+, and LinkedIn.