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Children Should Not Use The Internet Without Their Parents' Supervision

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Children should not use the Internet without their Parents' Supervision

Internet is a network that virtually connects computers around the world. It has an address network which makes communication possible between the computers. It is an open phone line and an open television channel to millions of people around the world who can communicate anonymously (Palmer, 2006). People use it to exchange files and e-mails, to surf the World Wide Web, to download songs or other types of files, to take part of discussion boards, and to send instant messages. It can be beneficial when it comes to freedom of press, and less disintermediation between people (Palmer, 2006). It can also be of assistance when it comes to doing some kind of research, finding some specific information about any topic, or even getting an undergraduate or a postgraduate degree when it comes to busy people who want to expand their horizons. However, internet has many risks in contrast to its benefits and it should not be used by children without adult supervision and parental control.

The Risks of the Internet:

To begin with, while using the internet, children are exposed to different kinds of materials. In most cases, they are exposed to inappropriate ones such as sexually explicit materials and/or violent ones (Magid, 2003). Some children, especially adolescents, are curious about sexuality and sexually explicit material; they can move away from their family and seek fulfillments for their curiosities online. Hence, dangerous situations commonly occur due to the child molesters on the other side of the net waiting to find those children, seduce them, and manipulate them (Freeh, 2008). It is also worth mentioning that other children can be exposed to such resources by accident; they can receive them through e-mail spam or when a popup that contains violent or sexual materials opens in front of them (Magid, 2003). Also, there are some people who attempt to sexually exploit children online. Some of them progressively seduce their targets through the use of attention, affection, kindness, and gifts. They are often willing to devote considerable amounts of time, money, and energy during this course of action. They listen to and empathize with the problems of children. They are aware of the latest music, hobbies, and interests of the youngster. They also attempt to gradually lower children's inhibitions by slowly introducing sexual context and content into their conversations (Freeh, 2008) which can get them to gain the trust of those targeted children and can lead to meet them face-to-face.

To continue with, another risk that children are exposed to is the physical molestation by the child offenders. This can happen when children entrust strange people on their private phone number, their home address, and/or their school address. As Magid (2003) puts it, "when a child provides such information to people he/she does not know, he/she puts him/herself in danger of physical molestation." They can do this by meeting people who may turn out to be child molesters, who in their turn, use areas such as chat areas, e-mails, and instant messages to hit on their victims. In addition, as already stated, adolescents tend to seek attention outside their family circles, which therefore endangers them as well as their family members. So, when a child, out of naivety, gives out his/her personal information to whoever comes in his/her way, or out of grabbing attention to one's self, he/she is at risk of being physically molested. That is, this child might, after entrusting someone on those pieces of information, may arrange a get-together with that person and therefore, risk his/her safety (Magid, 2003).

In addition, bullying does not only occur on the school campus. With the presence of the internet, bullying can also occur through e-mails and instant messaging (Magid, 2003). A perfect example about this issue is a website called; on this website, people login in order to spread rumors about one another. Many people get hurt and heartbroken by the rumors and gossips that take place on this forum. Not to forget, that other people, those who read the rumors and gossips, can reply to those posts which demeaning and hurtful expression. Children who use it do so in order to bully others and make fun of them in public. Bullies are typically young people who use the internet as a means to hurt their victims (Magid, 2003) in an anonymous fashion.

Additionally, children are at risk of bringing in viruses to the computer. Such viruses can get to the computer when children download files such as songs, videos, or even presentations. They can be very harmful to the workstation and can delete important files and software programs from the computer’s hard-disk. Sometimes the problem is irreversible, and in order to be able to use the computer once again, it should be formatted and sometimes even the hard-disk must be changed. The problem does not fall in the act of downloading programs; yet, it falls in the act of downloading them from untrusting websites that are full of Trojans and worms, or even from websites that, on purpose, download some kind of Trojan that can go into the computer and help the website’s owner hack that specific computer. Thus, increase the hacker’s remote control over the computer (Maggie, 2003) which can jeopardize the privacy and the safety of the family members in the household, whether they use the computer or not.

Other risks that are worthy of mention are the legal and financial risks in which children can, without knowing it, break federal laws such as piracy (Maggie, 2003). Piracy occurs when children download songs for example from websites that do not have the artist’s permission, or when they copy songs from each others’ computers. Children might not know that this is a sort of theft that has consequences which may lead to jail in some cases. The role of the parent in these cases is to enlighten their children and teach them that this is not acceptable and that the youngsters should respect the works of others.

Also, children can login to websites where they can shop for stuff. If the child knows his/her parents’ credit card number, he/she can start shopping non-stop from those websites and can sometimes be stolen. This is because not all websites can be trusted with the credit card’s number due to online thefts in which one can never know with who he/she is dealing. Add to it the fact that children can sometimes trust strangers, and if they are asked for their parents’ credit-card number, they might give it out without even thinking twice about it. This can lead to a huge financial risk for



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