Internet Tech

The Internet links people together via computer terminals and telephone lines
(and in some cases wireless radio connections) in a web of networks and shared
software. This allows users to communicate with one another wherever they are in
the "net." This Internet link began as the United States military project

Agency Network Advanced Research (ARPANET) during the Vietnam War in 1969. It
was developed by the United States Department of Defense’s (DOD) research
people in conjunction with various contractors and universities to investigate
the probability of a communication network that could survive a nuclear attack.

For the first decade that the Internet was in existence, it was primarily used
to facilitate electronic mail, support on line discussion groups, allow access
to distant databases, and support the transfer of files between government
agencies, companies and universities. Today over 15 million people in the United

States and approximately 25 million people worldwide access the Internet
regularly, including children. Many parents believe that depriving their
children of the opportunity to learn computer skills and access the knowledge
available on the Internet would give them a distinct technological disadvantage
as they enter the twenty first century. Portelli and Mead state by the year

2002, the reported number of children who access the Internet from home is
projected to increase from the current 10 million to 20 million (6). In addition
to home access, Poretelli and Meads further stated that as of 1997 the
percentage of United States schools that offered Internet access as a part of
their regular curriculum was over sixty percent. There were over nine thousand
public libraries across America in 1997, sixty percent of these offered on-line
access to its users (7). In view of this information, one can concluded that the
on-line percentage for both schools and libraries has increased notably since

1997 and the number continues to grow as more of these facilities "plug in and
log on." Whether at home, at school, or at the public library, children are
accessing the Internet. The word "children" is somewhat ambiguous
considering the range of ages that it encompasses. For instance, eighteen is the
normally accepted age at which a child reaches legal adulthood; therefore,

"children" would refer to any age between birth and seventeen. Porterfield
stated that a study conducted in 1997 by Gateway 2000, a leading computer
manufacturer, concluded that most children Internet access and computer skills
typically commence with their school work. Although in some cases it may be
earlier and in some later, the typical age at which a child begins to learn
computer skills are kindergarten age, or age five. For example at the Children

Television Work Shop website, a young child can click on a query and in a few
days an E-mail arrives. For the purpose of this analysis, the broad word"children" will be condensed to contain two age groups -- elementary level,
ages\' 5-12, and secondary level, ages\' 13-18. At either level, the World Wide

Web poses clear dangers to children. These children grow up enlightened with
technology, which they take for granted and know exactly how to use it. Most
parents are not conscious of what lies behind that innocuous screen. If you give
one\'s child carte blanche use of a computer attached to a modem, it is as
serious as handing a ten-year-old the car keys and telling them to have a good
time. These "cyberchildren" are vulnerable to potential dangers as a result
of Internet use. These perils include contact with dangerous individuals,
exposure to sexually suggestive materials, exposure to explicit conversations
and obscenity in chat rooms, and access to violent interactive games. One very
dangerous downside to Internet communication is its potential for the telling of
untruths. One can never be certain at any given time to whom one is talking or
if the conversation is sincere and truthful. Clothier state that a recent issue
of Yahoo! Internet Live reported that almost half of the Internet users they had
questioned lied occasionally while on-line and ten percent were untruthful fifty
percent of the time (2). Asch state that Gateway Global Research surveyed six
hundred families in the spring of 1998. This research revealed that seventeen
percent of elementary and middle school children lied about their age, or sex
while chatting on-line (E1). This fibbing among peers is not where the danger
lies. The real peril exists in those other, older individuals who purposefully
lie with the intent to harm. Parents can no longer assume their children are
safe because they are at home and the door is locked. Instead of hanging around
the playgrounds looking for victims,