Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Assistant district attorney Louis Conradt shot himself in November 2006 after police officers came to his home in Terrell, Texas, accompanied by an NBC news crew planning to film his arrest for the television show. Conradt was allegedly expecting to meet up with a 13-year-old boy he believed he was communicating with online.
The tension is over the issue of entrapment. Critics of To Catch a Predator say the show does not report news, but rather makes news by luring people into illegal activities they normally would not do. Supporters say this show has done a great service keeping potential child molestors away from our children. The results of the hearing seemed to side with the critics "a reasonable jury could find that NBC crossed the line from responsible journalism to irresponsible and reckless intrusion into law enforcement."
Monday, February 25, 2008
Researchers from Crimes Against Children Center at the University of New Hampshire recently published a study showing “most online sex offenders are adults who target teens and seduce victims into sexual relationships.” By taking their time, the targeted youth (mainly female), see the relationship as a “romance” or a “sexual adventure.” Many girls also see this as a healthy relationship with an adult which they may be lacking at home.
According to the study’s authors, educational efforts directed specifically at teens might help them understand the negative aspects and incompatibility of a romantic relationship with an adult online. With frank, open and honest discussions of the behaviors that put one at risk of “internet-initiated sex crimes,” parents and educators may be able to reduce teens risk.
The study also showed that a use of social network sites (such as MySpace or Facebook) do not increase teens risk of becoming a victim of an online sex offender, but it may be the other risky behaviors that lead to trouble. Keeping a buddy list on an online chat program (YIM, AIM, Google chat, etc) that includes strangers, talking to those strangers about sex and “being rude” or “nasty” online (which honestly is quite a subjective idea) were all mentioned as risks. Unfortunately for me, simply writing this blog for you, I have put myself at risk; I’m talking to strangers about sex!
What do you think about the full article? Are you surprised to learn that the media isn’t always painting the “correct” picture?
For more opinions, check out
NetFamilyNews’ ‘Predator’ myths exposed: Study
Infocult: Information, Culture, Policy, Education’s post New study hits internet pedophile fears
Boston Public Schools Myths about online predators post
Perpetual Parenting’s post Most Internet Sex Offenders Target Teens, Not Kids
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Now that the weather is getting nicer where I live, students are starting to plead "can we have class outside?" I wish. I really do. But there is no way I could compete with the distractions of the sun, birds, and passers-by. Can you imagine having class in Second Life? Distractions could include:
1. Students changing outfits (or disrobing) in the middle of class.
2. Forget paper airplanes -- students themselves would fly around
3. All avatars would look hot and sexy, distracting the teacher.
4. Sex everywhere. Boring lecture? No problem. Just hump the avatar next to you...
So, the idea needs work. The Brandon Hall group even admitted that someone jumped into a nearby hottub at the end of their meeting.
Friday, February 15, 2008
Without hesitation, someone in my class yells out "Talk to them about it on MySpace." Another said "IM them." It was the first time that my own students (who are "older youth," given that they are college students) were offering online solutions to relationship problems. It made me realize that my "target population" is no longer only in secondary education. They are right in front of me.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
On a day that is supposedly (thanks, Hallmark and other commercial venues) supposed to be about love and togetherness, we are reminded brutally that those who try to mend broken hearts place themselves at risk.
Friday, February 08, 2008
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
As with all these stories, the solution seems to be to talk with your kids about the ramifications of doing this. More superficial advice comes from the expert on teen internet use, Dr. Russ Sabella: "Consider giving them a cell phone with limited capabilities. Why do they need video recording capabilities on their cell phones anyway?" He also states that motivations for sending these pictures include wanting to mimic celebrity sex tapes.