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Dangers of Internet and Social Networking

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Dangers of Internet and Social Networking

Today the use of the internet for emailing, social networking, and want ads has become an everyday activity the way phone use used to be. Instead of picking up the phone and calling a friend to meet and to go somewhere, it is more common to talk using the internet. People have set up accounts on social networking sites to keep up with their friends because it is more convenient; children think it is more private because mom and dad cannot listen in on their conversations. Instead of paying postage, a person uses email accounts. This is all great technology when used with caution. What must be considered is what one posts and who has access to it. Once a person posts on the internet, it is out there for everyone one to see and there are some who use this information for criminal activities. There are instances of Identity Theft (ID) and sexual predators using the information obtained to their benefits. Social Networking sites and Internet use makes some users vulnerable and this should be a concern to adult users and parents of children considering one does not know who gets the information and what could be done with it.

With the instant information age upon this generation, more people use internet technology daily to save time in our hurry up society. According to the International Telecommunications Union in the last ten years internet usage in the U.S. has gone up from 44.1% of the population in 2000 to 77.3% in 2010, of those, 45% read or send email daily while about 70% participate in some type social networking (Huffington Post). According to Neilson Online, social networking sites such as facebook and twitter continue to grow explosively claiming that such sites are now more used than email as a way to stay in touch (Waterbury Republican American). And naturally the children are part of the increase in usage. A study by the Department of Education shows 23% of nursery school, 32 % of kindergartners, and 80% of all children now use the internet (Valley Morning Star). With email comes phishing for identity information that leads to using people's personal information for theft in several different ways. It can ruin one's credit, drain banking accounts, and lead to loosing personal possessions through burglaries of homes and businesses. Based on internet id theft statistics from a survey of 5000 US adults it is estimated that 57 million adults have experienced a phishing attack and 1.7 million could have fallen victim to the scams (Guard Privacy and Online Security). Most of these crimes take place when one does not take the time to slow down and think about the information that is being posted on websites and sent in emails. There is no reason the general public needs to know a person's date of birth, marital status, city, and state in which one lives. A real friend or relative already knows these things and, there is no need to post it.

Social Networking sites are not secure enough to put very personal information on. The task force backed by 49 state attorney generals concludes that technologies the sites use to verify ages and prevent adults from contacting children are ineffective (New Haven Register). "The problem with social networking is the whole concept is built on trust" (Waterbury Republican American). A large percentage of children do not meet the minimum age requirement of fourteen years old to be on these sites (Bowling Green Daily News). Children have little battles with each other to see who can have the most friends on these sites and will accept everybody as a friend to win the game; one can not really know who is on the computer. Teens are willing to meet with strangers: 16 percent considered meeting with someone talked to online and 8 percent actually have (Enough Is Enough). A sexual predator is one who uses the internet to exploit a vulnerable individual (typically a child) by setting up a trust relationship and making them think they are friends, exploiting ones vulnerabilities, usually a child with low self esteem or looking for a place to fit in. Now think for just a minute how easy it can be for a sexual predator to talk to a child on one of these sites because the child begins thinking he/she has made a new friend and once a friend begins talking, things are said without really thinking about it. Then one thing leads to another, and a meeting is set up without the parent's knowledge of it. 32 percent of teens clear the browser history to hide what they do from their parents (Enough Is Enough). Currently there are 644,865 Registered Sex Offenders in the United States; an estimated 10,000 have been lost in the system (Enough Is Enough). 40,000 predators have been pulled off of sites nationally (Bowling

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