Paedophile warning over sites like MySpace

By Derek Sooman on July 5, 2006, 10:07 AM
The Internet is the perfect hunting ground for sickos. Its shield of anonymity allows paedophile and other weirdoes to not only hide who they are, but what they are, pretending to children that they are other children and so forth.

IRC, IM and other forms of chat quickly became the subject of worry among anti-paedophile groups, who believed that these environments held great potential for paedophiles to find children to groom. But today, popular teenage networking Web sites like MySpace, Facebook and bebo are the new thing that such groups are worrying about.

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) centre is currently examining the potential of this problem. Chatting with strangers and giving out personal details without pretty much thought is common in such environments, making them a perfect place for grooming.

Yet despite the alert from Tunbridge Wells Girls Grammar School in Kent, pupils from the school were still last night showing inappropriate pictures of themselves online.

In moments our reporter found pictures of one 16-year-old girl at the school posing in a swimsuit and on her bed, and she had given enough details for her address and phone number to be discovered minutes later.

User Comments: 1

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Tekime said:
I understand and can fully appreciate the concern parents have over online predators. It's important to make sure your children get to enjoy the freedom and power of the Internet while having a safe experience.I feel a little disheartened when seeing comments like this though:" was a site where predators strive toward volunerable teens"This is the same thing as saying "New York is a city where predators strive toward vulnerable teens".When you take a slice of the population in the *millions*, there are guaranteed to be pedophiles, murderers, rapists, criminals, and other completely messed up individuals. It's sad, but it's reality.The fact that MySpace is so popular means there are tons of creeps on there. Just like you don't let your fourteen year old kid walk around the dark streets at night without a guardian, parents shouldn't let their fourteen year old kids stroll unchecked through the vast network that is MySpace.I will just say this. MySpace is a great opportunity for kids to keep in touch with friends, learn and build friendships and networking skills, and keep up to pace with the rest of the Internet-enabled planet. But MySpace is not a breeding ground for creeps unless we let it be. Monitor your child's Internet activity, teach them to know the signs and be smart about who they talk to and what information they give out. Enabling your child to make the right decision in the first place is the only right thing to do, because as long as the Internet exists, we know kids and if they can't go on MySpace they will find somewhere else to go. Whether it's [url=]Facebook[/url] or [url=]Xirby[/url], social networking online is not just a fad, it is fast becoming a way of life and is a really, really great tool that thousands of individuals have helped to create. Let's not let the creeps ruin it for us or for our children, and let's teach our children how to take care of themselves in this messed up world and take the time to hold their hand until they get there.
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