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Jim Liebelt Christian Blog and Commentary

No Easy Answer for Protecting Kids Online

  • Jim Liebelt
    Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University. Jim has over 25 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, and has been on the HomeWord staff since 1998. He has served over the years as a pastor, author, youth ministry trainer, adjunct college instructor and speaker. Jim’s culture blog and parenting articles appear on HomeWord.com. Jim is a contributing author of culture and parenting articles to Crosswalk.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Olympia, WA.
  • 2009 Jan 14
  • Comments

I'm not surprised by the results of this study. While it's reasonable to advocate that Internet and social networking providers keep refining security procedures, parents need to be a proactive partner with their kids in attempting to keep them safe online. Even then, there's no iron-clad guarantee of a completely safe Internet.

There is no simple technology solution to protect children from bullying, pornography, sexual predation and other online threats, a new study says.

The highly anticipated report -- results of a year-long study ordered by 49 state attorneys general -- found that "a combination of technologies, in concert with parental oversight, education, social services, law enforcement, and sound policies by social-network sites and service providers, may assist in addressing specific problems that minors face online," according to a draft of the report reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The report also found that the risks that minors face on the Web -- notably bullying and harassment by peers -- aren't very different from those they face in the real world.

The 278-page report is a boon for the Web companies, which have long argued that technology isn't the sole solution to the dangers kids face online. It is a disappointment for those in favor of stricter technological controls, such as age-verification and filtering tools.

Attorney General Roy Cooper of North Carolina said in an interview Tuesday: "Clearly, the main responsibility is on parents." But he added that "because technology companies are providing this gathering space and encouraging children to come, they have a duty to put in place technologies that can help protect kids."

Source: Wall Street Journal
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123187498732078111-email.html

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