Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Dangers of the Internet

My last post, more than a week ago, concerned the dangers posed to students by virtual communities. Following a recent New York Times Article, Through His Webcam, A Boy Joins a Sordid Online World, more attention has been given to the dangerous virtual world in which teenagers are increasingly involved. The in-depth story tracks the history of Justin Berry, a young man who was seduced into the world of online child pornography at the age of thirteen by adult men who viewed him from his bedroom through a webcam. Justin is now a federal witness in a child pornography investigation, but for five years he was an online entrepreneur dealing in pornographic video and pictures of himself. His online life was profitable to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars over the five year span, but his secret life led to drug use, sexual abuse, and even exploitation by his estranged father.

This article in the Times is a must read for parents of teenagers. Through the internet and a webcam, pedophiles made their way right into Justin Berry's bedroom. Parents must be ever aware of the activities of their children on the internet, not to invade the privacy of their students, but to protect their children from the harm of this evil world.

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