Getting instant access to information on any topic is one of the great benefits of the Internet and a powerful educational tool.
But not all the information your child uncovers will be the kind of education you had in mind. There is of course the problem of increased access and exposure to offensive content like pornography and hate. But there is also plenty of information to teach the curious how to break the law—and by far fewer filters in place to help detect and block this type of content.
Think it takes an experienced burglar to pick your front door lock? Think again. A web search on lock bumping yields all the info an amateur needs to get started. (A quick scan of the search results will probably get you to consider whether your home is adequately protected by your current locks!).
Do you assume your teen–or their friend–wouldn’t know how to make amphetamines? That assumption would be wrong: there are thousands of Web sites that teach how to cook meth. And according to http://www.drugfree.org/ (sponsored by the Partnership for Drug-Free America), the average meth cook teaches ten new people every year how to make the drug.
Want to know which houses are empty and what possessions they might have worth stealing? Scan the social networks.
Need help in carjacking? Ripping off laundromat coin collectors or vending machines? Faking ID’s? Fill in your crime preference here: _______. You know the answer: search online!
Is this yet one more reason to keep kids off the Internet? No. It is one more reason to have frequent conversations with your teens about what’s appropriate and what isn’t. No matter what filtering technology you use, it won’t replace your participation in their lives and guidance around the places they visit on the Web.
For more information about protecting your kids on the Internet, check out Protecting Kids.
May it be a great year for learning.