The internet is a seedy and safe place

It isn’t that hard to understand why, from the start, people feared the internet, and particularly its corrupting influence on children. The internet is a seedy place. I remember going onto AOL chat in 1994 or 1995, and being really surprised at the kind of lewd, explicit IMs I’d get from strangers. It doesn’t take a huge leap for a parent to realize this is going on and then fear that these strangers are just waiting for a child to pass on their personal information.

The problem is that these people weren’t seeking to prey on kids; they just wanted to engage in some explicit chat with willing teens and adults. And, unlike in real life, the person they were making the comments to had total power: I could simply close the window and block that person. In reality, young people have far more control in the internet than in real life. A 16-year-old girl who has men she’s waiting on in her job at a restaurant hitting on her can’t hit a button and make those men disappear; a college freshman who is being catcalled walking to class can’t just block those voices from her life permanently. Online, though, they would have that option. Any time they are approached by a man making advances that are unwanted or uncomfortable, they can immediately stop the conversation and prevent that person from making any further contact. Far from leaving children and teens vulnerable to the advances of adults, the internet actually gives them far more power to control these interactions than they have in real life.

The dangers of the internet, then, aren’t the dangers of scary adults preying on innocent children. The danger is the internet itself. Children of all ages can access the most explicit, vile images you can imagine, sometimes accidentally. (I once, in high school, worked on a paper about women in Turkey. Let me tell you, I learned that you do not do web searches on ‘Turkish women’ very quickly.) They have access to all kinds of images and information their parents would probably rather they not see or know. And, they have the ability to put images and information out there that their parents would definitely prefer they didn’t. The danger isn’t that children are being preyed on, because, far more than in real life, the internet puts young people in a position of control, where they can immediately ignore a person’s advances and block further contact. The danger is children and teens actively, eagerly seeking information, images, and relationships that their parents don’t approve of and that, in many cases, probably aren’t appropriate for them.

The real danger of the internet wasn’t that there was a group of evil people using it to exploit children, but that it provides children access to information and images that they shouldn’t have access to. And, as we’ll see, when people have access to something, they oftentimes will access it, even if they shouldn’t. As law enforcement realized that there weren’t any of these pedophiles preying on small children out there to catch–and that, if there were, they weren’t catching them–they quickly realized that there was a lot of money and many arrests to be made by catching people doing things online that they would not do in real life. Hence the chat sting and child porn internet sting were born.


One thought on “The internet is a seedy and safe place

  1. rewdiazepam

    The impetus for the proliferation of internet crimes over the past few years can be described in two words: power and money.

    Nobody has an incentive to stop these internet crimes such as solicitation over the internet and child pornography.

    The media uses these crimes as a means of sensationalism. Sensationalistic news with the word “sex offender” or “child pornography” attracts more viewers; more viewers means higher ratings, higher ratings translates to more advertisers, which in turn means more money for the TV station or newspapers. So the media has no reason to stop these internet crimes.

    The politicians use these crimes and laws to appear “tough on crime” and as a means of getting re-elected year after year. The public is ignorant of the entire registry mess and they have been told that all sex offenders are predators by the aforementioned media. The politicians use the ignorance of the citizenry to make them think that all these tough laws are protecting Little Johnny or Sister Susie.

    People in law enforcement, local law enforcement; the FBI, Homeland Security, and an entire plethora of other agencies use these crimes to scare the hell out of people; then these agencies demand more money in the form of federal grants to fight a problem that has been overplayed to begin with. They sure do not want these crimes to stop—it would stop their money train.

    I can remember a time when policeman drove a car that was a few years old and frankly, looked like a jalopy. Now they are driving $60,000 fancy SUVs with all the latest cyber crime fighting equipment. How did things change? In one word—money, money from federal grants, money that was allotted to fight cyber crime.

    And the internet crimes has created an entire cottage industry that makes money off the backs of horny, lonely guys who commit these internet crimes.
    Psychologists are polygraphers are busier than ever counseling these guys. The FBI and Homeland Security profit from arresting these guys in the form of grant money. Even the local police departments receive grant money to fight the “ever evolving problem of cyber crime.” And let us not forget the computer forensics people who investigate these crimes.

    And since there are more and more states which have turned to private prisons (which is an industry by itself), the private prisons certainly do not want these internet crimes to stop. If you operated a motel, would you profit more if all the rooms were occupied or empty?

    And you don’t even want to get me started on guys like John Walsh, Mark Lunsford, and Ernie Allen CEO for The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Where would these hacks be without all the hysteria of internet sex crimes—they would actually have to go to work instead of just spouting their vile propaganda.

    So there are too many agencies and people who benefit from these crimes for these agencies and people to ever want these crimes to stop.

    The government has created a threat which only once minimally existed, but now only exists in the minds of our populace. They did this so they could make people thankful that the government and law enforcement has “saved” them from the scourge of nasty old men and child pornographers on the internet. Then the citizens clamor for more laws, more regulations. More money gets shoveled off to law enforcement, and the cycle starts all over again.

    Yes, pedophiles undoubtedly use the internet to attract children and the manufacture and production of child pornography is a problem, but not nearly the problem that the general public hears about. True pedophilia is rare and the child pornography problem is very much overstated.

    I could type an entire dissertation type paper about the subject of child pornography, what it really is, and what it is not, how most is produced, etc. but I will stop for now.



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