Abortion

Task Force on Internet Predators Reports: People Need to Stop Freaking Out About Internet Predators

|

About a year ago, absolutely everybody who was anybody in the Internet world, plus 50 attorneys general joined the very respected and respectable Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School's brand spanking new Internet Safety Technical Task Force

The goal was to figure out what to do about the Internet predators that seemed to be lurking in every corner, threatening children and generally ruining Web 2.0 for the rest of us. They promised to dig in and get back to us in a year with a really comprehensive report.

Today The New York Times reports on the report, which concludes:

Sites like MySpace and Facebook "do not appear to have increased the overall risk of solicitation" and that "posting personally identifying information does not appear to increase risk in and of itself."

Moreover, the task force found, technological fixes like age verification and scans for sexual predators aren't effective at catching the relatively small number of predators online.

In other words, everybody needs to chill out. Your kid is no more likely to get hit on by a guy with a skeezy mustache online than they are at the 7-11. So let the kid cruise MySpace in peace.

For more on how the Internet, like the rest of the world, is full of people who have no desire to have sex with 12-year-olds, check out our Reason.tv interview with Craigslist founder Craig Newmark.

NEXT: Man Versus the State

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Looks like we’ll have to redefine “Internet predator”, then. Might want to include spammers and phishers, this time. Forget the children … think of the seniors!

    1. i totally agree but it could be any age group dont forget that

  2. You mean we don’t need to worry about an over-blown, media-generated boogeyman?

    Impossible. This is irresposible journalism! Think of the the children!!!11!!1!

  3. Can we now turn a portion of this time, energy, and money to the sacred task of DoS-ing trolls, eliminating chain letters, and finding out if my man is gay?

  4. Man (sniff), why you gotta be so harsh?

  5. I’m beginning to suspect that KMW is an internet predator. Playing down the crime cuz she can’t do the time.

  6. But don’t the kids these days use Myspace to organize their rainbow parties? We still haven’t debunked that, have we?

  7. It may not be skeevy pornstached predators that are a threat to the Twilight crowd, but fellow peers that harass and say lewd things to each other. There is no good systematic way to prevent cyber bullying and inappropriate sexual conduct between minors (they always find ways around it), so it again goes back to careful parenting and setting limits and guidelines at home.

  8. “For more on how the Internet, like the rest of the world, is full of people who have no desire to have sex with 12-year-olds…”

    That explains why Canada raised the age of consent from 14 back up to 16. A lack of interest.

  9. “But don’t the kids these days use Myspace to organize their rainbow parties? We still haven’t debunked that, have we?”

    Here’s why I think the whole idea of fifth graders having rainbow parties is bunk — just one color and the kid is done.

  10. Does Chris Hansen know about this? ‘Cause, like, NBC would never deliberately attempt to alarm the mom ‘n’ pop public in order to increase ad revenues. Would they?

  11. The creepy thing is that picture of the Craig guy looks like my annoying brother-in-law, who I would not put above being some intertubes creep.

  12. Caviat: Looks do not equal guilt.

  13. If I want to see 6 – 12 year olds acting seductively, I’ll watch Sabado Gigante…

  14. Chris Hansen & that guy from Cheaters in a Smug Superiority cage match. Hmmmmmmmm.

  15. ed,

    [sarcasm]
    Chris Hansen is on that Chris Mattews network. They are completly unbiased and fair.
    [/sarcasm]

  16. Say, what’s this about a new The Prisoner TV series? Did I know about this? Jesus is playing Number 6, and Ian McKellen is Number 2. To begin with, anyway.

  17. They are completly unbiased and fair.

    Indeed, I see guys with turbans, six-packs and condoms roaming my streets nightly. I’ve always wondered what they were up to. Now I know. They want our tweens!

  18. That explains why Canada raised the age of consent from 14 back up to 16. A lack of interest.

    We’re talking about real countries here.

  19. Jordan,

    I second and nobody better mention ireland or france either.

  20. Did not intend to shutdown the thread. Other places or topics are fine.

  21. I am so pissed they didn’t have rainbow parties when I was a kid.

  22. “I am so pissed they didn’t have rainbow parties when I was a kid.”

    Come on in!

  23. Ummmmmmm . . . what is a Rainbow party? Should I be glad my “kid” is 25 now?

  24. what is a Rainbow party?

    [Insert preferred search engine here] is your friend.

  25. Dateline NBC…To Catch a Predator
    RAINBOW PARTIES…Are your kids safe?
    What you should know about lipstick, and the predators who abuse it.
    But first, a message from our sponsor.

  26. That explains why Canada raised the age of consent from 14 back up to 16. A lack of interest.

    We’re talking about real countries here.

    Don’t you get it? When you have sex in Canada, you have sex in real life!

  27. That explains why Canada raised the age of consent from 14 back up to 16. A lack of interest.

    Because you know laws are always passed for good reason; after all, we have a democracy.

    Seriously, Doug?

  28. NW,

    I am pretty sure that you do not have a democracy in KKKanada and I am positive that we have a Republic in the USA.

  29. Don,

    It has something to do with the Reverand Jackson?

  30. Internet predators are only half the problem.

    The Internet scavengers are still out there and they are legion.

  31. The whole notion of an internet predator always struck me as kind of absurd.

    If, based on parental warnings, kids aren’t going to take candy from strangers or jump into creepy guy’s van that they met in person, why would they chat up same strange man over the internet and then run off to a clandestine meeting with them? It’s far more plausible that a child molester is just going to snatch kids from an arcade than that they are going to be sufficiently manipulative and clever enough to get a child they meet online to come running to them.

  32. Hazel Meade,

    Probably cuz of this film.

  33. Internet predators are the new D&D satanists.

    My favorite part of the article is where the Conn. attorney general, for whom this has been a pet project and who apparently helped create the commission that created this report, disagreed with its findings. How dare they!

  34. I am pretty sure that you do not have a democracy in KKKanada and I am positive that we have a Republic in the USA.

    True enough, but I miss the days when we had a Constitutional Republic.

  35. Actually, the only real internet predators are people like Lori Drew. (Not that she should be prosecuted).

    Who, it turns out, is not a creepy male pedophile who wants sex with children, but an overweight middle-aged woman who’s thrill was in emotionally abusing a teenage girl that dumped her daughter.

    If your goal is anonymous verbal abuse, the internet is fabulous. If it’s actual physical contact, not so much.

  36. You can say that again, Bitch!

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.