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Ask Parry!

Ask Parry!

Questions and answers

Ask Parry! Ask Parry! is a service where Parry Aftab, noted online safety and privacy expert, and Executive Director of WiredSafety.org can answer your questions about online safety, privacy and security, and help you with problems you encounter online. Anything from help finding a safe chat room for your teens, to knowing what to do if the item you bought at auction doesn't arrive as promised.

Dear Parry

What is all this danger?

ok, im gonna be truthful....i hate your site. I'm a 13/f and i dunno what all this "danger" is. I'm not monitered online b/c my parents trust me and they can trust me. i chat w/ ppl in chatrooms....tell them my asl and I haven't gotten killed yet.

You ppl totally exagerate how dangerous the internet is. its a 1 in 10000000000 chances practically that yer gonna meet someone online and they are gonna hunt you down.Im also a web surfer and i have never ran into any "dangerous" websites. please e-mail me back and tell me your definition of this "danger" you think there is online other than chatting.some kids are more mature than others yet adults think of all kids as helpless, vulnerable babies and thats not always the case. all these parental controls they are comming out with are ridiculous.geeez, what do you ppl want to limit us to?? nickjr.com and your website??? give me a break.overprotective parents should not shelter there kids from the real world....they are going to grow up someday. i see myself as grown-up and you may think im a confused child but ....WHATEVER!! thanks to the internet i have become more intelligent and know much more about this world. dont be mad....isint it ok to exspress my opinions???

~~A~~

Dear ~A~:

It s great that you can express yourself. And I am happy you feel you can be trusted and understand how to surf safely. If you read our site carefully, you will see that we do not tell parents to filter access for their children, except for the really young ones. Filtering software limits kids to certain sites, mainly by limiting access to porn sites. But there are other ways of helping kids and teens find great and appropriate sites. There are many wonderful and safe and appropriate sites for kids and teens. We have a new search engine we just designed for our approved sites, and I hope that you will share some of your favorite sites so we can share them with other teens and kids.

There are several kinds of dangers everyone faces online. They range from strangers stealing your identity or passwords, or posing as you online, to hard core disgusting content, to sites that violate your privacy or send you malicious code, to sexual predators who produce child pornography and try to lure kids and teens into offline sexual meetings or blackmailing them into providing sexual pictures of themselves. There are also sites that teach hate and bigotry and provide misinformation and hype. What about sites that encourage committing suicide? Or taking drugs?

Kids and teens who are well-balanced and responsible, especially if they have a trusting relationship with their parents, can navigate these risks safely. Most others can t. We want to teach the kids and teens how to use the filter between their ears.

And while you are alive and well and another 13 year old from Connecticut is lying in a cold grave right now. She was murdered last year when she met a man offline. She knew she was meeting an adult male, but went anyway. She thought she was safe and smart enough to be okay too. She was wrong. I stood at her grave with her best friend and aunt and thought about what a waste her death was.

If we don t try to teach people about the dangers online and ways to avoid them, I am afraid that parents will keep their kids offline entirely. That is a real shame. The Internet is a wonderful tool for everyone, but knowing how to look both ways before crossing the super highway helps. Unfortunately, we see so many of the real problems that we feel we should share the information with everyone. We also have programs that teach teens how to teach others about online safety. Perhaps you would enjoy helping there.

What do you think?
Parry

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Parts of this Web site were taken from Parry Aftab's book The Parent's Guide to Protecting Your Children in Cyberspace. Marvel and all character names and the distinctive likenesses thereof are trademarks of Marvel Characters, Inc., and are used with permission. TM & © 2004 Marvel Characters, Inc. All rights reserved. www.marvel.com. Super Heroes is a Co-owned registered Trademark.
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