Monday, May 16, 2011

Our overblown paranoia about the Internet and teens

PopRx, May 16, 2011

"In David Schwimmer's recent film 'Trust,' a teen girl falls for a boy she meets on the Internet. But when they agree to meet face to face, she discovers he's an adult man approaching middle age. By now, we can all see the horror that is coming: The young girl is raped by a pedophile, and her world collapses into a million little pieces.
'Trust' is the latest film to stir our deep desire to protect children from the evil that lurks on the Web. Practically speaking, that may mean taking away teens' cell phones, sitting beside them as they use the computer, or buying filtering software. It's understandable that -- like television, movies and rock 'n' roll before it -- the Internet has become a lightning rod for parental anxiety. And as a pediatrician, I can assure you doctors have been pulled into this debate about 'e-risks,' as I call them: Internet pedophilia, sexting, cyberbullying and, most recently, "Facebook depression" (more on that later). Parents worry about how their teen's use of the Web is affecting their health. Do they need a prescription sleep aid, or is all that late-night gaming making it hard to sleep? Do they have ADHD, or do most kids IM 50 people while they're doing their homework? The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a report in March on the risks posed to youth on the Internet and how doctors like me should address the issue." Read More

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