Sunday, October 08, 2006

The horrors of being a teen online....

I just received a report from a young teen who attends a school where I had done a cybersafety presentation last Spring. She forwarded a link to a child pornography website that had been sent to her, showing young chldren engaged in sexual activities with adults and sometimes other children. She asked me to have it taken down and find the people behind the site.

What do I tell this young teen? Things like this are not what anyone, especially a young teen, should have to see. And the molestation being portrayed is something no child should have to endure.

It's one thing for me to testify before Congress on child pornography in cyberspace. But these are more than just academic issues to be discussed before television cameras. I recently returned from a European Union cybersafety summit in Greece where I was the keyote speaker. I told the story about how I got into all of this. (I saw a picture of a 3-1/2 yr old being raped online. I responded by vomiting, crying and shutting down my law firm to fight against these kinds of things. Thousands joined me in the fight.) Many approached me telling me that it was a moving but depressing beginning to a summit.

A few hours later we learned that the first Greek bust of someone possessing and perhaps trafficking in child porn had just occurred. An infant was molested in a manner I cannot describe. I cried until I couldn't cry anymore and then stared at my computer screen for hours. Why is the problem getting worse? (It is.)

And why do our teens and preteens have to be exposed to adults asking them for their bra size or instructing them on how to engage in real or virtual sex with them?

Children are being hurt every single day. And our teens are subjected to e-mails with links to things we can't imagine in our worse nightmares.

and then I think about Congressmen who have dedicated their time in Congress purportedly to protect children from these kinds of pain. And find out that he has admitted to sending "inappropriate" communications to pages working on the Hill. And his counsel broadcasts that he was molested as a teen, has a problem with alcohol and isn't a pedophile. And that's supposed to excuse this somehow...

It's time that we say "enough!" Enough to excuses for doing things adults should't do to minors (whether or not technically legal under existing laws). Enough for people who think checking into rehab is the right response to doing things that everyone knows is wrong. Enough to people in positions of trust and authority for misusing both.

am I angry?
you bet!
and you should be too.


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