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Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Today's Cyberanxiety....

This one hits close to home for me, and for multiple reasons. Here in suburban Connecticut, a thirteen-year-old girl was befriended online, and murdered by a Brazilian man. Subsequently, her body was dumped in a nearby town. The man has since been taken into custody.

Everyday, we read about horrific stories such as these. Many think that we live in worse times than the past, and perhaps we do. The advent if the Internet has been both a good and a bad thing. As with any ubiquitous item, it can be used for many things, and by many types of people. In this case, its utilization was dark and dubious.

Personally, it would be nice to see this man not be deported, but hung by his genitalia from a tree. In many ways, Hammurabi had good ideas when he devised his ancient code of justice. In America, we tend to feel sorry for the perpetrator, without remembering what the victim endured. This is one such case, I imagine.

However, the greater lesson is this: parental responsibility. An unsophisticated teenager cannot be expected to discern between friendly banter and seductive guile. No one should blame parents for such atrocities. Americans tend to confuse cause-and-effect issues frequently, and this is no exception. However, parents should, especially in this day and age of technology, accessibility, and anonymity, take measures to ensure that their kids are protected.

Common sense items such as anonymous Internet nicknames, refusal to divulge personal information, knowledge of whom your kids are chatting with online, and web filtering are examples that every parent can follow. Most importantly though: love your kids, and spend time with them. If you do, they won't vegetate in the family room giggling online with 20 strangers, one of which could be lurking, literally, just outside the door.


.: posted by Dave 10:11 AM

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