A dan­ger­ous play­ground

The Compass - - OPINION -

It wasn’t so long ago par­ents’ most com­mon worry over their teenagers was hav­ing them out “ beat­ing the paths” un­til the later hours of the night or early morn­ing hours. Wor­ry­ing per­haps if the teen may be drink­ing or hang­ing out with some­one older or a trou­ble­some type, those were — for the most part — the gen­eral scope of wor­ries less than two-decades ago.

And, these were the same days that when teenagers fi­nally came in for the night, the doors were locked and the home be­came a safe haven for all who resided un­der the roof.

But not any­more, be­cause within the home the world’s dangers can lurk right in the same room with so many kids and teens thanks to the wide­spread use of the In­ter­net, which is prob­a­bly the great­est tool and worse weapon ever known to man.

While the In­for­ma­tion High­way has al­lowed for great con­ve­niences in the work­place, great ed­u­ca­tional aid for stu­dents and teach­ers and a bless­ing for many re­searchers, it also has a dark, ugly side that has been pro­vid­ing a play­ground for those who make most of us cringe — per­verts, ter­ror­ists, bul­lies and just down­right cor­rupt and dan­ger­ous ex­cuses for hu­man be­ings.

The RNC’s Child Ex­ploita­tion Unit in St. John’s is re­port­ing a rise in In­ter­net lur­ing com­plaints of young girls be­tween ages 12 and 16 en­gaged in risky be­hav­iour. We don’t have to just take the RNC’s word for it be­cause it’s a grow­ing prob­lem and has been pub­li­cized many times. It is a global prob­lem with pretty dan­ger­ous hap­pen­ings tak­ing root on so­cial net­work­ing sites and ran­dom chat sites. As technology keeps grow­ing, so does this prob­lem and it has now gone be­yond the com­puter to mo­bile com­mu­ni­ca­tion de­vices of all shapes and sizes.

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