Feature: Soapbox Musings

Facebook Children

Author: Robert Weller
Published: June 05, 2012 at 3:41 pm

It is being widely reported that Facebook wants to open its doors to children under the age of 13.

The elephant in the room isn’t getting much attention, except in alternative Web sites like WorldNetDaily.

Pedophiles already reach children through Internet sites. That appears to be one of the arguments that it should be allowed to proceed. It is already happening.

If that was national policy marijuana laws would not be enforced, and no one would argue that weed is as evil as abusing children.

Another argument for allowing children under 13 on Facebook is that their parents could control their viewing. How many have the time to do that?
How many teens know more about the Internet and how to get around on it than their parents?

Although it apparently has been decided against creating a special Facebook for youngsters, even the safety of such a proposal is iffy. Some pedophiles would find a way on.

Hollywood’s failure to shut down the Pirate Bay has shown how difficult it is to control the Web.

Some major Internet providers have balked, saying they have too much traffic to be policing such an issue.

Judges have raised the issue of not knowing who exactly was at the computer when that movie was illegally downloaded. Short of having mandatory surveillance cams on all Internet-able computers, smart phones or any of the many other devices, policing the Web might not be possible even at a cost of billions of dollars.

Some Congressional resistance was reported Monday, when the idea was prominently floated. It has been something Facebook has been considering for at least a year.

One problem is that no one knows how often Internet sites are already being used by pedophiles. Information in such cases is closely guarded.
Some Web sites like WND have already reported on individual cases:
Pure Sight, a Website which focuses on online child safety, says a survey found that 20 percent of U.S. teens whose use the Internet frequently had received an unwanted sexual solicitation.

Mainstream publications have been reporting on the use of the Internet by pedophiles since the late 1990s.

Another issue is the question of data collected by Facebook. A Web site that collects data on children, for example, could provider it to advertisers and manufacturers. The next thing you know a box appears at your door with a new toy, or perhaps a credit card bill for some music.

Websites are desperate for ways to attract advertisers, and prove that money on such ads is not being wasted.


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Article Author: Robert Weller

Journalist for 40 years, working in 30 countries and 11 states. Mostly for AP. Coverage has included Columbine, South Africa, Alaska Pipeline, India Gandhi assassination, wars, disasters, art, PTSD, skiing, Liberia, Uganda et al. …

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