Kids Vs. Creeps: Concerns Mount Over Online Child Predators - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Feature
News
4/28/2006
11:35 AM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Kids Vs. Creeps: Concerns Mount Over Online Child Predators

Teens hang out on social Web sites--and so do sexual predators. Our kids need our help staying safe.

Meet Rich. He's 37, loves photography--and has a penchant for the under-21 set. As for his favorite films, Rich writes, "Give me a movie with boys in it, I love it." He brags of his sexual prowess with boys.

Given his lurid obsessions, you'd think Rich would want to hide, but his profile at social networking site MySpace.com includes not only information about himself but also an E-mail address for future correspondence.

Tech-savvy teens dont always play it safe online.

Tech-savvy teens don't always play it safe online.

Photo by Sacha Lecca
Most of the 305 contacts listed on Rich's MySpace page claim to be kids--"claim" because the identities of strangers in cyberspace are hard to verify. In their own MySpace profiles, several of the kids responding to Rich are posing in their underwear; one says he's an 11-year-old who sneaked by MySpace's age controls by claiming to be 18.

MySpace and social networking sites like it offer thriving communities where young people engage in countless hours of banal chatter and photo sharing. Not coincidentally, social sites also have become hangouts for child predators, child pornographers, and other lowlifes.

It's a high-risk dynamic with potentially terrible consequences. In February, the naked, strangled body of 14-year-old Judy Cajuste was found in a New Jersey trash bin, and the body of 15-year-old Kayla Reed was discovered in a California canal. In both cases, investigators are probing possible connections to MySpace: Cajuste had told friends of meeting a 20-something man there, and Reed logged into her MySpace account the day before she disappeared. There are dozens of other examples of young people lured into "friendships" that put them in danger.

InformationWeekDownload.com

Several teens we talked to acknowledged their peers could be susceptible to come-ons from strangers. "It happens," says a 16-year-old girl. "You're a young girl, and people compliment you. You're more willing to meet them."

MySpace, in an effort to better protect its millions of young members, just hired its first chief security officer. Hemanshu Nigam, who starts this week, played a central role in online safety at Microsoft until being hired by MySpace. Before that, he chased down child predators as a U.S. prosecutor.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Previous
1 of 5
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
State of the Cloud
State of the Cloud
Cloud has drastically changed how IT organizations consume and deploy services in the digital age. This research report will delve into public, private and hybrid cloud adoption trends, with a special focus on infrastructure as a service and its role in the enterprise. Find out the challenges organizations are experiencing, and the technologies and strategies they are using to manage and mitigate those challenges today.
Commentary
What Becomes of CFOs During Digital Transformation?
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  2/4/2020
News
Fighting the Coronavirus with Analytics and GIS
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  2/3/2020
Slideshows
IT Careers: 10 Job Skills in High Demand This Year
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  2/3/2020
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
IT 2020: A Look Ahead
Are you ready for the critical changes that will occur in 2020? We've compiled editor insights from the best of our network (Dark Reading, Data Center Knowledge, InformationWeek, ITPro Today and Network Computing) to deliver to you a look at the trends, technologies, and threats that are emerging in the coming year. Download it today!
White Papers
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll