Protecting children is a fundamental part of a prosperous, functioning society. Despite its societal advantages, the internet is a conduit for victimizing the vulnerable, especially children. It’s only logical that societal laws protect them.
If children are a product of their environment, what does it say about a developed nation that its next generation is being raised alongside unlimited access to porn, violence and mindless cat videos?
Children aren’t allowed to go swimming by themselves for fear they could drown. But with little hesitation, at home, in the car and at school, children are given a two-way connection to people who want to harm them and information they aren’t capable of processing.
As more kids gain access to the internet, the number of those at risk of online sexual abuse and exploitation is increasing.
ChildFund PH Advocacy Specialist Allan Nuñez joins @Mai_Rodrigz on #TheFinalWord to tell us how they are protecting children online. pic.twitter.com/m5aQgczRwP
— CNN Philippines (@cnnphilippines) September 28, 2022
For example, in September, Minnesota parents were notified by Rochester Public Schools that some students received sexually inappropriate emails after their school email addresses were publicly available on the school system’s new messaging software, Speak UP.
Although the school said the software was purchased to “provide a way for students to reach out with concerns about the well-being of fellow students or school safety,” its connection to the world turned it into a vehicle for creeps on the internet to sexualize kids. After the breach in security, the school district announced it would be cutting student access to Speak Up to protect them from a barrage of “inappropriate images” that were “sexual in nature” being sent by users outside the school’s network.
Before every classroom had a computer or a tablet, a child took a trip to the school library or used the in-class encyclopedias to expand their knowledge. With the internet, they have access to infinitely more, which is not good. (RELATED: Corporate Media Wonders Why Conservatives Are So Worried About ‘Groomers’)
While some excellent educational websites and apps provide a great service, kids in large part aren’t using them, and have likely never heard of them. Instead, they spend their days wading through endless streams of deadly TikTok challenges before landing on a video aimed at grooming them into a pedo’s new sex object.
Everyone has some level of acknowledgment that giving children access to the internet is a bad thing. Still, they are online because society’s relationship with the internet is complicated. It’s filled with every kind of evil one can imagine, and no one denies that, but for millions, it is also their one-stop shop for Bible verses, historical facts and how-to videos.
Parents need to recognize that their children don’t surf the web the same way they do. While they use the internet to post boomer memes and share their great-grandma’s banana nut cake recipe, their children are talking to adults on discord about sex.
Simply put: if children are on the internet, predators will find them. We need to end this dysfunctional partnership. A woman is not expected to live with her abuser, and yet we allow our children to be with theirs.
The only proper protection is denying minors the ability to get online. The naysayers will call the plan naive because our lives revolve around the global connectivity the internet provides.
But the alternative is allowing children to be robbed of their innocence and wonder. When that’s gone, you get a society that looks like Philadelphia.