More professionals and politicians need to speak up and do something about the risks for children on the Internet. We are stuck now going into about the third generation of Internet users. Kids today at extremely young ages are doing things online. They do not have the cognitive or social abilities to protect themselves from exploitation. Young parents seem to be lacking in the knowledge of Internet risks. I applaud people like Joanna Shields who does the work at no pay working to protect children on the Internet.
I have seen such an increase in news stories of young girls being abducted by or willingly running away with men they meet online. Recently there was a case in our area where a girl was lured by her peers and murdered. I also saw on the news a story about a calculator app that has a hidden image directory that kids are using to hide their sexting and other pornographic images. In the city about 30 miles from our home a young teenager has been arrested and prosecuted for having illegal photos of girls from his school. He now has to register as a sex offender.
The Internet is designed to be an open sharing platform, and this makes it so highly exploitable by predators. For the most part, the Internet works and is reasonably safe. Companies that make websites for kids generally follow the rules. It is the fringe areas and misuse of apps and social media that scares me. I do my best to track what our kids are doing online, but there is just too much. Our teenager texts thousands of messages every month, plus he does social media and other chat platforms. There is no way to keep up with it all. We need more experts to help keep our kids safer even if they do not always make the best choices as kids often do not.