Risks For Children Who Use Online Services
Although there have been some highly publicized cases of abuse involving computers, reported cases are relatively infrequent. Of course, like most crimes against children, many cases go unreported, especially if the child is engaged in an activity that he or she does not want to discuss with a parent. The fact that crimes are being committed online, however, is not a reason to avoid using these services. To tell children to stop using these services would be like telling them to forego attending college because students are sometimes victimized on campus. A better strategy would be for children to learn how to be "street smart" in order to better safeguard themselves in any potentially dangerous situation.
Teenagers are particularly at risk because they often use the computer unsupervised, and because they are more likely than younger children to participate in online discussions regarding companionship, relationships, or sexual activity. Some risks are: