Online predators: Overblown threat?

Much conversation has occurred in the educational blogging community about DOPA. One of the arguments against DOPA that hasn’t popped up that much is the fact that the perceived problem may be largely overblown. While it’s obviously important to keep children safe and protect students against online predators, it’s also equally important to keep the issue in proper perspective. Consider the following:

The numbers aren’t uniformly positive, of course. For example:

The numbers are pretty clear that the proportion of online sexual solicitations that occur during school time is pretty low. This means that DOPA is a solution in search of a problem, with the concurrent effects on positive Internet tool usage and lack of opportunity to teach students about appropriate use that already have been noted.

I highly recommend you check out some of the high-quality work being done by the CCRC, CSRIU, and others. If we’re going to hype ourselves up about these issues, we should at least have a solid factual base to undergird our conversations.

5 Responses to “Online predators: Overblown threat?”

  1. This is an excellent post with great statistics. I am marking this to come back to it and share with my readers. Great job!

  2. Again, this is an excellent post. I’ve blogged about this article

    Great job!

  3. What an outstanding argument against the shrill tones of the so-called “child-protectors” who believe that DOPA is somehow a good thing for our kids! Thank you so much for posting it.

    I came via Cool Cat Teacher’s blog and I’m glad I did!

  4. Great post Scott, you’ve done an excellent work to present such an informative post. Thank you.

    The statistics and the references are great, I read them all, and honestly I haven’t imagined the scope of that problem is really that big.

  5. Fear

    The day after Halloween is probably a good day to write about fear. I just finished reading The Culture of Fear by Barry Glassner. In this highly-acclaimed book, Glassner points out that Americans spend vast amounts of time, energy, and mental space fe…

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