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The Dangers of the Internet and Negative Impact of Technology

Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.

Ethical behavior is acting in a positive way towards events that happens in our life, even when nobody is there to witness it. This means no lying, stealing, and hurting others in any way, shape or form. Respecting others is also a form of ethical behavior. Some people would only do this type of behavior when people are around to witness it in order to look good in front of the community, but people with ethical behavior would do these even when nobody is around. This type of behavior can be beneficial in workplace, school, around family, or any other communities that we are a part of, since people will see us as a good person and means no harm. But, what if there’s a platform where there’s not a lot of people to witness your behavior, making you think that you can do anything without anyone knowing? Well, the Internet is a platform where anyone from anywhere can connect together. It allows the user to get information, facts and connect with other people who have the same interest as us. Everything in the internet is basically public to the world and anyone who is using or looking over the internet. Even if the internet is a pretty good place that can help us in our everyday life, there’s certain things that makes it dangerous. As the quality of the internet grows and become better, the number of people who are in it are growing too, and when the number of people who use it grows, the number of dangerous people who use it increases as well. Ever since the internet grew, cases about online predators grew as well. With the internet making communication easier and making things public, It’s became really easy for predators to find their targets, both minors and adults, especially minors as they don’t understand the rules and/or the community guidelines of the application. There’s a lot of events that makes minors very easy to target as a victim by an online predator due to various things that will be explained later. In this essay, I will be talking about online predators by using real life cases that happened, why minors shouldn’t be allowed to be in the internet before they know the signs of online predators, understand when they’re being targeted by an online predator, and much more.

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When a minor wants to go on the internet to surf the web or have a social media account, adults or anyone older that understands the need to be wary over yourself should explain and let the minor know about the dangers of being in the internet to make them more wary and careful when making friends over in the internet or just surfing on the internet. But, most minors would feel like the adult is restricting them from having fun and “living their life to the fullest” and lie. They would lie about their age just so they’re able to have a social media, ignoring the need of having an adult giving them permission on using social media and more other things (“3 Big Rules Your Kids May Be Breaking Online”). What makes this dangerous is that minors are more likely to share their personal information, such as their name, address, what they did on that day and more personal information to a stranger they met on the internet. This situation is extremely dangerous to the minor as the person they talk to could be a predator that lied about their age. Now that this predator have information about their target, they could easily go to their address, kidnap them and do all sort of things to them as they already have their target with them (“The Internet and Children: The Risks”). This case happened to a 12-year-old girl (now 17 years old) who will be referred as Jane in order to protect her identity.

Gallagher stated that back in November 10th, 2014, Jane went out of her house to start her walk to her middle school at 7:30 AM, but strangely enough, she never returned home. Her mom decided to call the school, but turns out she never arrived at school to begin with. The Baltimore County called the FBI once they knew about the issue to assist in their search for the missing person, Jane. Police reports states that “there was an unfamiliar blue pick-up truck with a North Carolina license plate” were spotted by the neighbors earlier that morning near Jane’s house. Due to all the evidence that has been found, an investigation for Jane’s disappearance was opened for the next four days, leading them into a ranch house 548KM away in North Carolina, where they found the kidnapped 12-year-old girl, along with the 32-year-old man Victor Yanez Arroyo, a probationer who was under supervision. Arrests Documents states that that Jane told the authorities that “At the residence, Arroyo had non-consensual sex with her two times.” Arroyo was arrested and faced a hefty amount of states and federal charges. (“12-year-old’s Online Life Brings an Abductor to her Doorsteps”)

This issue was cause by what was stated earlier about what minors are capable on doing in the internet without an adult supervision. Jane had an online conversation with Arroyo through Xbox live chat and other social media platforms that she had access through her IPod. According to Gallagher, statements by Baltimore County Police Department Officials states that Arroyo wasn’t the only adult that is in contact and had a conversation with Jane. It’s reported that she had online conversations with numerous amount of adult males in Xbox live chat and her other social media platforms. Apparently, her mother is allegedly aware of her having online conversations with other people, but she doesn’t appear to know about the conversations to this certain extent. (“12-year-old’s Online Life Brings an Abductor to her Doorsteps”). Gallagher also stated that out of all the social media platforms that she used, Kik was one of them. Kik is an instant messaging application that was popular among children and teenagers (“Kik Has Become ‘The Defacto App’ For Child Predators, According to an Investigative Report”). The application asks for your birthday when you’re making an account to make sure that you’re 17 and above, sending out a warning that is written as “You must be 17 years old to download this app” before you download it, but what made minors still exist in the app even after the warning is lack of security and not verifying the email that is used to download the application and also the dates of the fake birthday that they used (“12-year-old’s Online Life Brings an Abductor to her Doorsteps”). This shows how Jane violated the Terms of Service Agreement that users will have to agree on before making an account on any type of social media platforms. Most social media platform requires the user to be at least 13 years old in order to be able to make an account, but a lot of them (including Jane) lied about their age and pretend as if they’re 17-year-old. By making a public account in the social media platform, all of the things that was shared by Jane is very much public to the world and everyone who uses the internet. This makes her privacy be at stake, making her become a really easy and vulnerable target for online predators (“3 Big Rules Your Kids May Be Breaking Online”).

This case took place back in November 10th, 2014 when on of the most popular instant messaging application in 2014 is Kik. It was also the time when the quality of verification of age, security, and rules and/or community guidelines is not as good as today. This case took place back in the Baltimore suburbs in Nottingham, New Hampshire, United states (“12-year-old’s Online Life Brings an Abductor to her Doorsteps”).

This case on online predator happens due to a lot of things, coming from violating the Terms of Service Agreement into targeting minors online and taking advantages of them. As a child, Jane didn’t know that she shouldn’t have made some personal information public, with her full name, address, and more personal information public to the whole world. Her spreading this information to these adult males that she was having an online conversation with, especially Arroyo, is making her privacy on stake since she’s putting out private information to the public, making everyone who comes across her page, become friends with her, have her in their contacts or are having an online conversation with her knows a lot of information about her. This makes her an easy target for the online predators that are lurking around in the internet, because they obtained some information about their target that is important on finding them and is able to help them on their messed up plans on kidnapping their target (“3 Big Rules Your Kids May Be Breaking Online”). Another thing that made this issue happen is the misuse of the internet, or internet abuse. Online predators take advantages over vulnerable and gullible kids on the internet who will comply to what they say and give out private information out to the public. They would manipulate their victim and either persuade them or force their victim into a non-consensual sexual intercourse (“Online Predator, Internet Child Predators & IPredator”). Grooming is one of the things that online predators or sexual predators in general usually do. They would form a bond with a child or anyone young and easy to manipulate, then they will proceed to manipulate, exploit or abuse them into getting what they want from the victim, which could make the victim become sexually abused, exploited or even trafficked (“Grooming”). One more cause for this problem is that there is little to no supervision from an adult. One of the example for little to no supervision from adult is also in this Jane case. Gallagher stated that Jane’s mom is allegedly aware about Jane having various social media platforms and are talking to some people she met online, but she didn’t know that she was talking to numerous amount of adult males and all of the things that she did in the internet (“12-year-old’s Online Life Brings an Abductor to her Doorsteps”). This shows how she did very little supervision towards her own daughter. Yes, Jane may need more privacy as she grows up and get older, but she is still a minor. Same with other children, they need an adult to supervise what they are doing in the internet in order to have less chances of being targeted and be a victim of an online predator. The fact that most children are oblivious towards the fact that online predators exists and are unable to differentiate between a nice online friend and an online predator is making it more dangerous for them.

In order to avoid being involved in one of these cases, there are a few things that will be able to be done by anyone. First of all, you should learn about the dangers of the internet from other people who has been in the internet for much longer than you or the younger person and/or minor who wants to surf in the web. By asking them about it, they can tell the minor things that they need to be wary and concerned about. Making the child and/or minor at least understand the signs of an online predator starting to target them or make them as a victim as seen by the signs that is told to them, they could stop the online conversation with the stranger and distance themselves away from the person. This way, they can avoid themselves from being the next victim of an online predator. Second of all, adults should supervise their children’s activity on the internet more. Since one of the causes of an online predator case is lack of parental supervision, parental supervision should be increased in order to help the minor safer and more distant from being approached by an online predator. The adult is much more knowledgeable about this subject than the minor, so they are able to help protect them from online predator such as changing their child’s account into a private one to protect their identity, checking their accounts and past activities on the internet for the past one week with them knowing, and other things that can help protect the minor from dangerous things in the internet.

In conclusion, online predators are taking advantages over the benefit of the internet and are using it for a negative purpose, such as targeting over a minor and manipulating them for their own benefit, such as sexual needs or other causes such as human trafficking or exploiting them for various reasons. Knowing that such cases exists and can happen to anyone, adults needs to increase their security over their children as a way to lessen the chances of them becoming a victim of an online predator. Making sure that the minor you’re taking care of understands the danger of being on the internet and can understand the signs of an online predator is also important because even if you’re not supervising them, they are able to know who they should talk to and who they should avoid in the internet. They would also know how to defend and distant themselves from an online predator by themselves without an adult when there’s none there. Social media platforms should also increase the quality of their technology that verifies the user’s age, along with their security inside of the platform in general. Security in a social media should be increased to make sure that online predator doesn’t get their hands on an oblivious minor or have a minor under the age of 13 being able to have a social media platform.

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  1. Ben-Joseph, Elena Pearl. “Internet Safety”. Kids Health for Nemours. https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/net-safety.html. August 26, 2019.
  2. Gallagher, Sean. “12-year-old’s Online Life Brings an Abductor to her Doorstep”. Arstechnica. September 21, 2014. https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/11/12-year-olds-online-life-brings-an-abductor-to-her-doorstep/ August 26, 2019.
  3. Khan, Saliqa. WBal TV. November 19, 2014. https://www.wbaltv.com/article/man-charged-in-disappearance-of-missing-nottingham-girl/7090360. August 26, 2019.
  4. Liptak, Andrew. “Kik had Become “The Defecto App’ For Child Predators, According to an Investigative Report”. The Verge. August 6, 2017.
  5. https://www.theverge.com/2017/8/6/16104280/kik-messenger-app-child-predators-report. August 27, 2019.
  6. Rowlinson, John. “The Internet and Children: The Risks”. SafeKids. May 1, 2019. http://www.safekids.co.uk/childreninternetrisks.html. August 27, 2019.
  7. Woda, Tim. “3 Big Rules Your Kids May Be Breaking Online”. Uknow kids. March 2, 2014. https://resources.uknowkids.com/blog/3-big-rules-your-kids-may-be-breaking-online. August 26, 2019.
  8. “Ethical Behavior”. Business Dictionary. http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/ethical-behavior.html. August 26, 2019.
  9. “Grooming”. NSPCC. https://www.nspcc.org.uk/what-is-child-abuse/types-of-abuse/grooming/. August 27, 2019.
  10. “Online Predators, Internet Child Predators & IPredator”. IPredator. https://www.ipredator.co/online-predators. August 26, 2019.
  11. “What Are The Example of Ethical Behavior”. Quora. May 22, 2017. https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-examples-of-ethical-behavior. August 26, 2019.

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