Where's the Fire? The fire is on the Internet.
  • One in 5 youth received a sexual approach or solicitation over the Internet in the past year.
  • One in 33 youth received an aggressive sexual solicitation in the past year. This means a predator asked a young person to meet somewhere, called a young person on the phone, and/or sent the young person correspondence, money, or gifts through the U.S. Postal Service.
  • One in 17 youth was threatened or harassed in the past year.
  • Most young people who reported these incidents were not very disturbed about them, but a few found them distressing.
  • Only a fraction of all episodes was reported to authorities such as the police, an Internet service provider, or a hotline.
  • Approximately 25 percent of the youth who encountered a sexual approach or solicitation told a parent although the number increased to 40 percent if the incident involved unwanted exposure to sexual material.
  • Only 17 percent of youth and 11 percent of parents could name a specific authority, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), CyberTipline, or an Internet service provider, to which they could report an Internet crime, although more indicated they were vaguely aware of such authorities.
Source: Youth Internet Safety Survey - Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire

The Internet is a wonderful tool for students when it comes to learning and communicating. The resources at their fingertips are amazingly abundant and growing every single day. As educators it is our job to teach students how to filter through massive amounts of information to find the knowledge they need to apply to their classroom instruction and activities.

The Internet is also the newest community in our ever-changing world. As with all communities there is the good and the bad. It is of utmost importance that educators also teach students how to interact appropriately in the on-line community of the 21st century. Trusting in filters and children's innocence is not enough in this new community. We must teach students how to be cautious and recognize danger in every type of interaction that they encounter.

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