Sunday, January 25, 2009

A useful suggestion for fighting online predators

At the very end of Mike Musgrove's piece on a recent study on online predators:
One online safety advocate, named as a member of the report's task force, said she is embarrassed by the report because it highlights the fact that there isn't enough good data on the subject and it doesn't give lawmakers a clear to-do list. Parents' concerns about Internet predators are sometimes overblown, said Parry Aftab of, but it's nearly impossible to tell how overblown they are; when quizzed about online activity, kids don't usually tell the truth if their parents are around, she said.

Aftab has a low-tech suggestion: a checkbox. Aftab would like to see law enforcement agencies have a standardized entry on their crime reporting paperwork, indicating whether social networking sites, texting or online games were used in the commission of a crime in which a child has been victimized. With that sort of tracking in place, perhaps law enforcement groups or organizations such as hers could begin to offer more useful information to lawmakers.

That is such a good idea, and easy to implement, let us hope that law enforcement takes it up.

I can easily believe that bullying from peers is a bigger problem than adult predators.

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