The average week's news often features at least one story of a child who landed on the wrong side of some kind of internet communication -- often simultaneously tragic and lurid tales of encounters with sexual predators. Although nearly two decades online have rendered me mostly amused by such popcult internet paranoia, I'm also an aunt to three young children; two of them are old enough to know their Gmail from their Youtube. So these stories can disturb me just as much as they might worry any "soccer mom" or "NASCAR dad."
But according to a survey released last week by a European commission, kids are more aware of the need to protect their own safety when they use the internet and mobile phones than adults realize:
The survey results, released Friday, found that most kids use the Internet several times a day and, while Internet use is to some extent limited by parents, most own their own mobile phones, the use of which is largely unsupervised.
The survey also found that children are much more attuned to such potential online risks as security, viruses, identity theft and potential dangerous contact with strangers than parents imagine, and that they tend to know about the necessary precautions.
The survey also apparently found that children ably justify illegal downloads. Oh well -- can't have everything. At least they seem to be able to tell Uncle Ernies from Auntie Ems.
Kids have been hearing the "protect yourself on the internet" routine for years, even before parents knew what the hell they were talking about.
Most kids are too busy laughing at sexual predators on Dateline than actually being enticed by them.
Most heavy internet users will keep some basic precaution. Anyone who's had even one virus in their lifetime will know the importance of this.
As for downloading, every step that conglomerates make is useless. Any time they start tracking and suing kids to make a point, somebody is just going to create a safer, more efficient file sharing program. Until there is some major piece of legislation regarding digital copyrights, it'll just continue like this.
It's interesting to think about precedents (if there are any) for the situation that Dee Lightly describes: despite the horror stories, in many ways, security on the internet is better understood by the young than by the old. Yet, it is the old who are responsible for whatever legislating actually happens.
Series of tubes, sigh.