Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Not So Dangerous, After All

Remember the panic over sexual predators on the Internet? Dire warnings about how our kids were at risk by just undertaking the very act of logging on? Yeah, well, turns out it was completely overblown:

A task force created by 49 state attorneys general to look into the problem of sexual solicitation of children online has concluded that there really is not a significant problem.

* * *

The panel, the Internet Safety Technical Task Force, was charged with examining the extent of the threats children face on social networks like MySpace and Facebook, amid widespread fears that adults were using these popular Web sites to deceive and prey on children.

But the report concluded that the problem of bullying among children, both online and offline, poses a far more serious challenge than the sexual solicitation of minors by adults.
One of the AGs involved doesn't agree with the findings:
Not everyone was happy with the conclusions. Richard Blumenthal, the Connecticut attorney general, who has forcefully pursued the issue and helped to create the task force, said he disagreed with the report. Mr. Blumenthal said it 'downplayed the predator threat,' relied on outdated research and failed to provide a specific plan for improving the safety of social networking.
Looks like "forcefully pursued" means "was using it as a political issue," which of course means that he's not going to let actual data interfere with his political strategy.

No comments: