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Overmedicating Our Youth

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Frank J. Granett


Biggest Online Risks for Kids

What Are the Biggest Risks Online for Kids?

Meeting a predator online ranks as the number one danger a child can face online today. There are other online dangers which can result in bad or illegal activity. Kids need to be warned that not everything they view online is true. Kids also need to be warned that there are lots of things online that are not good for them. Sites like fascist, racist and other hate sites, drug sites, pornography sites, and other sites that kids can easily view. This is why filtering software is important.


Peer-to-peer file sharing sites allow people to browse through and download files from computers of people that use the same program. As a computer consultant I see this as a big issue. This promotes the spread of viruses, adware, spyware, and Trojan horses. I have also seen where kids accidentally download pornography thinking that it was something else because it was labeled to mislead people. My recommendation is to not participate in Peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing networks. Remember that free programs and music can come with a price.

Social Networking and Blogs

Social networking sites and Blogs like MySpace are sites that kids often give out TMI (too much information). At these sites you will often see names, addresses and photos. A good idea is either to keep your kids off of these sites (this will be difficult to do) or require that you review their blogs or profiles. If they resist this idea you can use Google along with the search tools on these social networking sites, to find your kid's profile. Also be aware that there are many solicitations done on these sites.

Web Sites

Kids are often too trusting. This is both good and bad. Kids need to learn that it is important to protect their personal information. They also need to be aware that some kidsí sites ask for information from kids in the form of surveys. They are enticed with prizes in exchange for information. They also get them excited to join online fan clubs.

Chat Rooms

Chat rooms can be dangerous because kids often give their age, gender, and hangouts. This on the surface appears to be harmless. To online predators this information is gold because they can use this information to track down a child. Predators often pretend to be children so that they can collect enough information to meet their victims.

eBullying / Cyber Bullying

This is very common among middle school and early high school kids. Kids get into online fights. Kids also become the target of bullying via email, chat, and especially instant messaging. Yahoo mail, Gmail, anonymous instant messaging services make this easy for kids to go after other kids with little recourse.

Parents need to monitor their kids, teach their kids that this is wrong, and hold them accountable for their actions.

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