Online Sexual Predator Essay

1321 words - 5 pages

One out of every five youths online is approached by an online sexual predator, with the integration of social networking; these numbers are alarmingly on the rise (Guo). In present day, it is nearly impossible to find someone who doesn’t at the very least know of social networks, so it is crucial that the general public know about the many negative effects these networks bring. It’s even more imperative that the public know that any existing or rising social networks are not to be trusted. Social networking could be considered negative for society as it provides sexual predators with opportunities, is a source for unhealthy addiction, and disconnects users from the real world.
Generally, social networking provides online sexual predators with an easy gateway to youths. Users of online social media services tend to share copious amounts of personal information on online profiles, these same users control who can or cannot see their information by utilizing privacy settings. The problem with these “privacy settings” is that they are often hard to manipulate, leaving a multitude of online profiles vulnerable to often explicit offers from online sexual predators. Lacking the ability to protect their information properly, users are in jeopardy of being contacted by sexual predators. In fact, “[d]uring the years prior to the explosive expansion of social networks, most online sexual predators attempted to contact youths through chat rooms and message boards. In recent years, however, predators are increasingly targeting minors over social networking services”, showing that social networking directly puts youths in peril (Guo, 626). This sheds light on the fact that social networking is basically a way to herd youths and display them for sexual predators to take their pick. Repeatedly, this problem has been addressed by social networking companies by raising the security on online profiles. This, however, proves to be often ineffective as the only predators that now have access to “protected” online profiles are the ones sophisticated enough to bypass the security settings of their targets. If an online profile lacks security, it is open to attacks from any sexual predator; with excessive security, online profiles are still open to attacks from more sophisticated (thus more dangerous) ‘apex’ predators. Either way, no online profile is actually safe from hazardous offers. The constant explicit offers from sexual predators also blur the line between what types of information is acceptable to share online and what information is not. Social networks even encourage this type of self-endangerment, going as far as prompting users to share their addresses, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, amongst other personal characteristics on a profile that can be easily accessed by absolutely anyone. Offers from predators are so common online that frequently youths may become desensitized to them, making explicit sexual offers appear far more acceptable and...

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