The amazing freedom and availability of the Internet lends itself to a few major dangers: Pr0n, malware and how to perform illegal and/or dangerous activities.
Whether it is a curious person seeking these things out or the child accidentally clinking the wrong link and getting bombard with explicit pop-ups, the items lists can be harmful to an impressionable mind. Policies must be enforced.
There are a few groups that should have limited exposure to certain types of information on the Internet. Children, mentally handicapped or psychologically damaged people in settings such as schools, homes, rehabilitation or correctional facilities and group homes should be blocked, tracked and monitored while accessing the Internet. Certain information could destroy them if they don’t yet have the capacity to understand or put certain information in the proper context.
Protection from Pornography & Malware
In a professional setting there should be a written policy against accessing and/or downloading unacceptable material such as pornography. These items should be actively blocked whether in a working environment or at home among minors accessing the same system. Allowing impressionable or fragile minds unlimited access to certain graphic material is irresponsible. The law is also a good reason why Internet safety is important. If you are the owner or charged with immediate control of the system being used for illegal activity, you could be partially or wholly liable for the activity. An example is substitute teacher Julie Amero
On October 19, 2004, Julie Amero was substituting for a seventh-grade language class at Kelly Middle School in Norwich, Connecticut. The teacher’s computer was accessed by pupils while the regular teacher, Matthew Napp, was out of the room. When Julie took charge, the computer started showing pornographic images.
On January 5, 2007, Amero was convicted in Norwich Superior Court on four counts of risk of injury to a minor, or impairing the morals of a child. Her sentencing was delayed four times after her conviction, with both the prosecution and judge not satisfied that all aspects of the case had been assessed. The felony charges for which she was originally convicted carry a maximum prison sentence of 40 years
The Kelly Middle School systems were actually infected with malware that allowed the explicit pictures to pop up.
Access to Dangerous information
From the Columbine shooters to the Virginia Tech massacre, most of the killers had a recorded history of mental illness and/or psychologically instability. In many cases, they used public and/or home computers belonging to their parents to research bomb making or even purchase guns.
Controlling access is the best way to get on the Internet safely. Maintaining privacy of users is another important step in Internet safety, however that is a matter of educating users particularly if the frequent Social networks such as facebook or myspace. They need to be instructed about the dangers of stalkers, perverts and predators looking specifically for impressionable minds.
We are the keepers of these impressionable and fragile minds. That is the reason Internet safety is important and why we must be mindful of these subjects.