Why Should I Be Concerned About Internet Use?
Time Misuse & Wasting
There is a host of entertainment (videos on YouTube or other sites, photographic essays, etc.) available online that can be very addicting and time consuming. Can entertaining ourselves via the internet be considered a good use of our precious time?
Video games can also be a time waster. While there may be some educational games, many cause violent behavior, separation from reality, and lead to a gaming addiction.
Social media is another topic that we could discuss for at great length. In short, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat are becoming common ways to share personal information as well as photos and videos. We would mention two concerns with social media — privacy and photos. Personal information shared on your public profile is available to everyone, even thieves. Search for your name once in a while on google and you’ll be surprised what you find. Some Facebook members post explicit photographs for their public profile. Your child may stumble on those pictures.
Pornography is probably the greatest threat we have to face on the internet. One study found that 90% of 8-16 year olds have seen pornography online, mostly unintentionally (London School of Economics, Jan 2002). Another study shows that 20% of children 10-17 have been approached online by predators (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children). Another study shows that children most of the time don’t tell their parents about these incidents
We tend to think only of children when we think of internet dangers but pornographic internet obsession is causing significant marital problems. 56% of divorce cases involve one spouse with this problem(American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers., 2002). How many of our marriages are already affected?
“Sexting” is a term coined in recent years to describe sending explicit pictures (usually of minors) with a cell phone.
There are also legal dangers that you should know about. One of the scariest legal dangers relates to sexting. Some months ago there was a sexting case at Portage Hills Northern High School in Kalamazoo that was investigated by police. If your child requests an explicit picture from a friend they could be guilty of a felony with a maximum jail sentence of twenty years and a maximum fine of $100,000. Sending explicit photos could get you ten years and a $50,000 fine. Possessing an explicit photo of a minor on your computer or phone is a four year felony and a $10,000 fine. At a minimum, a minor would receive a criminal felony on their record for this crime and be recorded in the sex offenders list for ten years.
Often social sites like Facebook are used to harass and bully others using pictures or untrue information. Also, identity thieves can gather personal information from social media sites.
The first challenge with internet content and modern media is the fact that it is almost universally available regardless of where we are or what technology we are using. There is almost universal access at home, work, in the car, and at many public locations. It’s not something that we can just avoid by not going near it.
Many people are unaware of how many devices can access the internet. Obviously computers and laptops can connect to the internet. Also all smartphones (Apple, Android, Windows, Blackberry), tablets (Apple iPad, Android, Windows, Kindle), and gaming devices (Nintendo DS, Xbox, PlayStation, etc.) can view web pages. Did you know that many portable music players (iPods, Microsoft Zune, Others) also can access the internet to view web pages?