“The Internet provides an unprecedented number and variety of meeting places, from message boards to instant messaging to so-called social networking sites,” says Science News magazine.
Young people have quickly adjusted to life online. Indeed, in 2004 nearly 9 of every 10 people in the United States between the ages of 12 and 17 used the Internet, which is accessible in virtually every corner of the globe.
Few people would deny the usefulness of the Internet. But no one should be oblivious to the dangers it poses. For instance, many youths are wandering alone in the online neighborhood, and some are creating social networks with people whom you—and even your child—would never invite into the home.
Some naive young ones even post inappropriately personal details, thoughts, and images on the Internet. According to Professor Zheng Yan of the State University of New York, youths “often don’t realize how many people have access to that information, including sexual predators.”
Let us take a closer look at what many young people are doing online. This will enable us to see potential problems, to determine just what our children are looking for, and to see how we can help them satisfy their legitimate needs.