Sorry Chris Hansen, but a new study reveals that much of what people "know" or report about social networks and sexual predators is, well, just wrong.
"The study, published in the February/March issue of the Journal American Psychologist and titled, “Online ‘Predators’ and Their Victims: Myths, Realities and Implications for Prevention,” was based on three surveys: two of teen Internet users, and one involving hundreds of interviews with law enforcement officials. The results reveal that “the stereotype of the Internet ‘predator’ who uses trickery and violence to assault children is largely inaccurate.”
Much of the public’s concern comes from fear-mongering journalism. While TV shows like NBC’s “To Catch a Predator” and the “Today Show” gain high ratings scaring parents into thinking that threats to children lurk around every corner and abound on the Web, the reality is quite the opposite."
I don’t have all the answers on web safety, but I do know that all of us--parents, teachers, and educators--need to take a rational, measured approach on the issue.
the same time, we need work on educating students to be more aware of
the potential hazards and implications of disclosing too much personal
information on social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook.