17 August 2007

fears of the internet

Today I was listening to an ABC podcast. They were talking about the phobia of pedophiles infecting the community at the moment and the extreme measures being taken to prevent them. They pointed out that the level of activity is very low and that children, as they have always been, are mostly at risk from their immediate family: fathers, brothers and uncles. It seems that there is much selective blindness is going on. It led me to have the following thoughts:
  1. Many parents actually know next to nothing of the internet. This allows them to easily be led down the path of fear. For instance it is much harder to make the same claims about being afraid of pedophiles driving down the local street as the parents have lived through this themselves as children. What is happening on the internet is new and people are bewildered and afraid.
  2. If you go around saying you are family friendly and thing that families are the best thing in the known universe it is hard to admit that they oft go wrong and sometimes are the worst placed in the universe. When I was a kid, had friends who I reckoned were safer living in the gutter or a garbage bin than at home. So lets blame the internet and ignore the most significant part of the problem. If they were serious they would attack the main problem.
This is not to say I think that the internet needs regulation, there needs to be social structures as anywhere in society. What I think is that it does not need fear mongering.