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Do you know what your children are doing on the Internet?

Armen Hareyan's picture

Parents should watch and think twice about the gifts they give their children during this Christmas time. Children may use those gifts inappropriately online.

It's almost Christmas time, so you buy a beautiful digital cam for your daughter, the latest thing in technology, 9 megapixels, cyber-shot, real state of the art; she´s so happy that she starts taking pictures of everything and everyone. You find it just precious and smile while seeing her happy.

So your daughter has a boyfriend off course, girls her age change boyfriends every couple of weeks, after all what do you expect from a 15 year old? Ok, here's the rub. This boyfriend asks your daughter to take some "spicy" pics of her, it could be wearing a bikini, or just underwear, or with his name written on her body, your girl obviously takes them because she "loves" her boyfriend, and ta-dah!…. her nightmare begins.

Right now, on the Internet there are thousands of sites with these kinds of pictures from underage girls, mistakenly trusting they would only be seen by their boyfriend… WRONG!, a couple months later the boyfriend breaks up with your daughter and he starts sending those pics to a friend, and this friend to another…. Like a snowball, and no, it is impossible to stop it.

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There are "collectors" for these kind of pictures, and they´re even websites dedicated exclusively for "trading" pictures of this kind; amateur pictures of underage girls! It´s been on TV and in the news, these "collectors" usually go a little bit further and once they find the girl´s contact information they start threatening her in order to get more pictures or cam shows or videos from her… do you understand why I used the word "nightmare" before?

So it could be easy, you can just call the cops on these guys, but the problem is that maybe your daughter will never tell you what´s going on, because she´s afraid and threatened that if she goes to the cops they will send the pictures home, or put them on more sites. There have been cases where the girls were forced to have sexual encounters with these predators.

Yes, it sounds insane, but it´s happening in front of our eyes and we refuse to see it. Most rating sites, or dating, or cam sites like stickam and such don´t bother about this, and if they do, usually they do it when it´s already too late. This kind of care should come from home, not from the websites your children frequent. Parents MUST be aware and be involved; setting and atmosphere of strong family values, attention and a good sexual responsibility.. NO, don´t leave that job to the school alone, BE INVOLVED!

So this Christmas, if you decide to give away a digital camera, or a webcam… think twice about how maturely your child will use his/her present.

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Safety, especially of minors, is the highest priority for Stickam. Stickam.com provides an onsite team of moderators who are not only dedicated in surveilling all live video streams (24 hours a day, seven days a week) and all uploaded media (including pictures and videos) for any violations of their Terms of Service, but work closely with local, state and federal law enforcement in any situations where a person may be in danger of harm.
Really? Because a NY Times article published not too long ago says otherwise. Besides, there are millions of users on Stickam. You can't expect an administration to be able to monitor everyone's safety constantly. That sounds like rationalization someone uses to let the computer or television be your kid's babysitter.
Why do we consider young adults who happen to be under the age of 18 the same as we consider small children and early adolescents? Don't young adults have a right of privacy? Don't they have right to freedom of speech and of self-expression or of their own sexuality? Where is the empirical science based, peer reviewed research which proves beyond doubt that is harmful (and unreasonably harmful at that) that certain normal, healthy and natural behaviors are dangerous just because they filmed and/or photographed? It is about time that our society had a rational calm discussion on all aspects of human sexuality including expression as well as the rationale behind considering "18" to be the established age for freedom of expression. Perhaps the age should be 15 or 16 or 17. Regardless, it should be discussed and discussed rationally. All laws and policies should be based upon science, fact, empirical evidence, etc. and not on tradition, religious beliefs and ignorance. The media feeds this ignorance by anecdotal worst case scenarios that sell well in this age of tabloid trash journalism.