Sunday, January 18, 2009

Internet Predators - Stupid is as stupid does.

Those immortal words of Forrest Gump could be the watch phrase of many people who do things most of us would consider to be, well, less than smart.

In the case of Internet predators, it is dead on the money.

I have Google alerts set up to send me an email whenever certain news stories pop up on the Internet. One of them is stories about Internet predators.

What is both amazing and frightening about that is the sheer number of these alerts I get every day and the variety of the people getting arrested; doctors, lawyers, mayors, police officers, priests, ministers, school teachers, dentists.

What does an Internet predator look like? Look around you, they could be anyone. Even your best friend or your kid's soccer coach.

Now I am not trying to alarm anyone by making that statement. It is truly a statement of fact, sad to say.

But on to the point of my post: Stupid is as stupid does.

What makes any man, and these are pretty much one hundred percent men being arrested, especially an older man, think that a young girl has any interest in having a sexual conversation with them over the Internet? Or even more ridiculous, that a thirteen or fourteen year old girl has any interest in seeing some old guy's genitalia?

What pushes these people over the edge far enough to believe that these kids want to meet them for sex? Is it some kind of chemical imbalance? Have they lost all grip on reality?

What the heck are they doing in these chat rooms in the first place? Is there no oversight at all in chat rooms that should be a safe haven for kids?

Where are the parents? Oh wait, these guys are chatting with cops. Where are the cops' parents? (Ok, that was just to be silly.)

Back on a serious note, should chat rooms for kids be monitored? Personally, I think they should be. Force a pop-up that tells anyone entering a chat room for kids that they will be monitored. And then actually do it. Of course, kids being kids, they will find a way to get around these restrictions.

While law enforcement is doing a great job catching predators in these chat rooms, that is not going to help the child that gets caught up in one of these chats. While it may reduce the number of predators out there, it won't get them all.

The only real possibility for protecting kids on the Internet is parental supervision.

And that is all I have to say about that.

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