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ChatRoom Anxiety & Paranoia (CRAP) - Page 2

post #21 of 47
I don't have the time to read through the pages of posts on this subject, so pardon me if I am repeating someone else's thoughts, but there are two things that jump out in my mind on the topic:

1) I remember being a sexually active 15 and 16 year old girl. Sure, I thought I was very intellegint, and I felt that I was just as "adult" as a 21 year old etc.
Looking back now, I see that I was very naive in those beliefs and that I was lucky I didn't get hurt by using poor judgement with men.

2) The other thing that seems odd is that Dan seems to be coming across as the voice of Teen American :LOL
I'm sorry, but I highly doubt that you qualify as that voice, Dan, or at least no more so then any of us do (which I doubt we do).

I'm not saying I'm disagreeing with you, or that I'm on one side of the fence or the other. What I am saying is that the issue is not black and white. Teen Girls make mistakes that can change their lives in a heartbeat, and even if they are well educated on the trheat of rape, stranges, pervs etc, that doesn't mean tehy will see it coming. If women knew who would be committing rape, or who were perverted men, pedophiles etc, then those people would easily be avoided. That is not the case. It is easy to gain the trust of someone over the internet. Especially over time. A patient person can learn quite a bit abot a fellow chatter over time (given that the chatter is honest).

Anyway, my point is that there are precautions that must be taken and made for young women and men who may become victims in some way or another.

I am not saying they cannot use the internet, and I don't think anyone has said that or implied it in any way, but I think it is too important of a point to overlook, and I just wanted to throw it out there.

Sorry if I don't have time to respond to everyone

edited to add: Dan, I have read that you said all of the people you've met from "online" have been honest non-pervs, nice people and good experiences. I think that is great and I am very Happy for you! I think you would be heartbroken to know how many of the women who post on this board have had experiences with sexual and verbal abuse, stalkers, etc. If you had heard even half of the stories from the women ... what they went through, how it is affected their lives forever on...I think you may understand why some people take the subject of protecting their children from outside influences very seriously...even Teen children. I appreciate your posts, and I hope you are open to considering other sides of the issue too.

(oh, and pardon my typos!! :LOL )
post #22 of 47
Thats it. Iam not posting one more time untill it is officially changed from "Senior member" to "princess-post-a-lot".
post #23 of 47
Thread Starter 
Again, Asha, thank you so much for answering my questions!!!

Hm, 100,000, white collar... unfortunately, we have now reached "Out of My League" zone, here (contrary to what some would have us believe, I know a great deal about what I've been posting up until this point). Sooo the next paragraph is 100% speculation, and not to be taken as supposed fact of any kind. I'm gonna do some thinking-as-I-type now...

I would guess that white collar, small cities (more like large towns, maybe...) would probably be one of the most frequent places you'd find the teens who get preyed on... teens who have computers in their room, most importantly. Now the question remains... how many such towns are there?
A whole helluva lot... Yet 6/year is still a pretty small number, even when multiplied sizably, when compared to the number of rapes (and thats just what gets reported), period.

And I wish i knew what the kids involved thought. While I'm not too keen on the idea of a thirty year old and a 13 year old hooking up, it makes a difference in the amount of 'predators' (if not the amount of weirdos) if the they both knew the truth about one another, wouldnt you say? One of, hell, my best, friend in the world was raped when she was fifteen, by a 20something year old (she knew his age) she met on the net... I do not pretend that no danger can come of it. I simply believe the danger is not as unique to the setting, or as common, as some would have us believe.

As an aside, how weird is it to actually FLY a long distance just to have sex?
When that's the only reason... pretty damn weird. When there's an actual relationship, and sex is just part of it... then I wouldn't call it that weird at all.

I certainly don't think I'm a representative of all teens, any more than any of you can claim to be representative of all, or even most, parents. Everyone is different. I can claim to know a great deal about chatrooms, and back up my claim with facts. I tried to keep my anecdotal evidence to a minimum.

My point is not that parents have no right to protect their kids... it is that trying to 'protect' their kids by banning chatrooms is not productive. And parents have, in fact, suggesting forbidding the internet entire as a possible solution.

Again, my gripe is not with parents wanting to keep their kids safe.. it is with the methods, and reasons, for that desire.

And thank you, Lala. I appreciate opposing views, even if I fight them tooth and nail
post #24 of 47
Thread Starter 


What the hell!? What hapened to my posts?

I am very confused...

grrr and I was so close, too... alreayd nearing 50! I only had about a thousand or so to go!!
post #25 of 47
Thread Starter 
LoL Lilyka!!!

I have wondered how laralou accomplished that....

I hadn't noticed that about my posts, thank you for pointing it out.

I find it unfortunate that you have deemed me devoid of compassion, when you truly have no idea what kind of a person I am.

I never said I dislike anecdotes... I love anecdotes. I simply don't think that anecdotes should be the basis for important decisions impacting another's life, when such a decision is directly contrary to that other person's own opinion.

As an aside, JW, if you plan on posting everywhere I do simply to inform everyone there of what a horrible, horribly person I am... well, I respectfully ask that you do not.
post #26 of 47
Dan Frank-you officially rock my world!!! Just when I thought I was going to be the only wise-a$$ around here, I stumble upon your very pithy post. Children hate asinine tenents-I shall be chuckling over that one for the rest of the day!
post #27 of 47
Perhaps the choices here are not simply ban chat rooms or open the door to internet perverts... Perhaps the third, better choice is for more wholesome folks to get online and into chat rooms to change the perceptions and expectations people have about chat room relationships!
Nawny, this sounds like a pretty constructive thing to do. As a mother I've found that there is a time to "protect" and "shelter" children from things and a time to let them be "the salt to the world." It takes a wise parent to know when is the right time for each. There is a need to prepare them to be able to stand on their beliefs in a world where they will often be swimming upstream. There is no magic age, children aren't cut from some cookie cutter. As for the internet....a wise parent will inform and educate their child about the pitfalls and dangers. They will also protect and shelter them if they aren't ready to be "salt" in a chat room or forum.

post #28 of 47
...just an additional thought.....
no matter how much we want to shelter and protect our children from dangers in the world, and from making bad choices, there are no garuntees. Help them to be wise, loving and compassionate people who will be able to recognize and learn from their mistakes. These are the people that will impact their world!

post #29 of 47
I need to ask that we keep this dicussion focused on the issues it has raised, not on personal issues. I do not want to have to close another thread due to personal attacks, but I also don't want to see posts that just border on inappropriate (due to their personal nature).

I would like to remind everyone here of what these boards are for first and foremost: support. That does not mean that sometimes we can't engage in conversation just for the sake of conversation. However, we must do everything in our power to maintain the gentle nature of these boards, even through our disagreements. If you are unable to do that in any given conversation, please refrain from posting in that conversation or becoming involved in that conversation through the private messaging system provided here. If you are unable to do that with any individual, please refrain from interacting with that individual. Sometimes that will mean swallowing pride, shaking our heads silently, and scrolling by. But what it means in the end is that the nature of these boards are preserved, and when people come here for support, they will find it.

So, for everyone's future reference: Please refrain from posting or private messaging personal attacks. Please refrain from posting about someone when it is off-topic and will border on an attack. Please be gentle with one another in all conversations, regardless of disagreements. Please don't participate in conversations or involve yourself with individuals if you can't do so without violating user guidelines or if you can't do so without threatening the nature of the boards.

With common sense and an effort on all our parts to cool off after reading stuff we disagree with, I think we can keep this thread open and respectable. To do otherwise is just to make my volunteer position extremely difficult.

Thank you.

Your loyal mod,
post #30 of 47
Thread Starter 


O Frabjous day, callooh callay!!

I discussed this thread with a friend of mine, apparently far more energetic than I, who then took it upon himself to surf the net for some large amount of hours. He found, from this site, which he calls "the key" .


From there, (and I don't know how, as I haven't even checked the site yet), he downloaded a PDF, and subsequently gave it to me.

These statistics aren't anywhere near what I want, but they're [I]something[I] nonetheless. First things first I should tell you that these aren't the "this many people met this many predators" kind of stats that I prefer.... this is a sampling of 1,501 teens who are supposed to be representative of teens everywhere... this sampling has a 95% confidence rating... meaning it should statistically extrapolate into America's teens with about 95% accuracy. I suck at math, so don't ask me to explain the statistical basis for such a claim.

Much to my dismay, the figures, if we accept this sampling, aren't as compellingly in my interests as I would like. However, I think, on the whole, they support my argument... and besides, I'm not one to pretend the truth doesn't exist just because it's disagreeable.

This report comes, much to my delight, from the Crimes Against Children Research Center, which means that in all likelihood, any bias it has will be in favor of the CRAP argument.

Rather than list every stat, I will list the highlights, those relevant to this discussion.

I will divide them into separate posts, because, quite frankly, it's too hard to decide how many spaces to put between the different degrees of Subjects.
post #31 of 47
Thread Starter 

The Basics

Ages ranged from 10 (only 4%), to 17 (13%). The highest, by a small margin, was 15 (18%)

53% male, 47% female.

The majority, 73%, were white.

The majority of the parents (79%), were married.

the majority, by a bit (38%), lived in 20,000-50,000 income houses. about 50% lived in higher income (I'm squishing several sections together)

As for the type of community... I'll just paste that wholesale.
• Small Town 28%
• Suburb of Large City 21%
• Rural Area 20%
• Large Town (25,000 to 100,000) 15%
• Large City 14%

the majority, 76%, had used the net in the past week.

And now, onto the good stuff!
post #32 of 47
Thread Starter 

Mommy, what's that man doing to that dog?!?

First I will cover what the paper deems "Exposure to Unwanted Materials"

25% of the teens had come across unwanted material while online.

6% of the total teens (not just 6% of 25%), found the unwanted material to be upsetting/distressing.

There are additional statistics, however, the majority relate to emails and mistyped entries into search engines... and I would prefer to focus on Chat Rooms.

The real significance of this section is that the percentage of kids receiving unwanted pictures via chatrooms or messaging is apparently so small as to not even make up a single percentage point. Granted, even .5% out of the millions of teens who use the net could come up to a surprising total... but certainly no larger than the percentage of teens who come into contact with unwanted material in other forums.

They in fact provide a one-sentence testiomonial from a child whow as shown, in chat, a picture of a man having sex with a dog. This further indicates that the paper is aware of Chat-Related exposure, but that the percentage is indeed negligible.

Now that I have provided statistical support toward refuting the idea that teens are constantly barraged with pornography every time they enter a chat... I shall move on.
post #33 of 47
Thread Starter 

Let's just be friends.

I will briefly mention close online friendships... specifically, friendships with adults. I will mostly enumerate statistics....

Only 3% of the teenshad close relationships with adults. I will mostly paste wholesale

Age of teen
• 15 18%
• 16 28%
• 17 46%

and gender
of teen:
• Female 59%
• Male 41%
of online friend:
• Female 41%
• Male 59%

And where they met
• Chat Room 56%
• Instant Messages 13%
• Game Room, Message Board, Newsgroup, Other 15%
• E-mail 10%
• Web Page 3%
• Don’t Know 3%

And age
• 18 to 25 Years 85%
• Older than 25 Years 15%

And offline contact
• Sent Youth Regular Mail 51%
• Called Youth on Telephone 36%
• Asked Youth to Meet 21%
• Came to Youth’s Home 10%
• Gave Youth Money or Gifts 10%
• None of Above 31%

74% of parents were aware of the relationship.

Met Online Friend in Person 31%
Parent Knew of Meeting 10%

Again, none of these friendships resulted in anything detrimental.
post #34 of 47
Thread Starter 

Hey baby, wanna cyber?

This section covers sexual solicitation, both benign and threatening.

19% (almost 1 in 5) teens received some sexual solicitation last year.

3% received aggressive solicitation
This is not threatening, but rather persistent.

5% received distressing solicitation
This is threatening.

As someone pointed out above, the argument against CRAP does not address moral reservations towards general sexual interaction, since purely moral decisions should be made by the teen without hindrance by the parent.
Therefore, I will focus entirely on the distressing percentage of teens, as the other two were only unsettling if one is against teen sexual encounters completely (and any disturbing sexual solicitations are by default listed in the Distressing section.

While the majority, 75%, of the teens being solicited were female, fully one fourth of them were male.

Again, wile the majority of soliciters were male, 73%, a surprising percentage were female (13%... the other 14% is unknown).

A very important factor... 54% of the soliciters were under the age of 18. 17% were 18 to 15, and only 8% were older (again, unmentioned percentages were Unknown factors)

96% of the distressing solicitations began as purely online relationships.

the location is important enough to paste
o Chat Room 60%
o Using Instant Messages 26%
o Specific Web Page7%
o E-mail 1%
o Game Room, Message Board, Newsgroup,
or Other 2%
o Don’t Know/Refused 1%

20% were asked to meet somewhere
9% sent snail mail
4% called ont he phone
and 1% sent money or other gifts.

81% were upset
53% were frightened

60% exhibited stress symptoms such as staying away from the net, thinking about the solicitation constantly, or becoming jumpy.

These are, of course, unfortunately large statistics.

no percentage is listed for rapes or molestation caused through these situations!

What could this mean? Is the percentage really so small it as to not even be a single person out of 1,501? Apparently.

What percentage does that come to? It means that, assuming the integrity of this survey, ]I]less than .06 percent[/I], most likely a great deal less, of teens are raped or molested due to internet relationships.

Call me crazy, but that seems a very small number.

I have more to say on this, but it is very late. I will continue tomorrow.
post #35 of 47
I hope that if someone has read this crap this far they see the # of children the report is talking about, I've included that below. While a % is expressed as a 1 or 2 digit #, the extrapolation is quite a different number.

The tone of these two threads seems to be anything but understanding and compassionate for the very real families that are victims of this.

I found this site with less than 10 min of search...........

I did not read all of the pdf file - I felt the #'s on the front page were very telling. I couple them with the repeated warnings that are everywhere; the schools, the websites, the radio - tv, the police, etc. Why would all these warnings and suggestions be there if this was not a potential danger for everyone? I suppose the police have nothing better to do in Chicago than assign officers to surf..........

Keep in mind - these stats are nearly 2 years old. Do you suppose the numbers have gone up or down now that so many more are online?

June 21, 2000
The survey, "Online Victimization: A Report on the Nation's Youth", a survey of 1,501 youths who were regular Internet users, was commissioned by Congress.

Among the findings:

19% reported getting an unwanted sexual solicitation in the past year 1, which the study estimates, equals 4-5 million children. These are 4-5 million REAL PEOPLE. Real, live people. Let's not trivialize this, it is certainly not trivial to the victims.

65% of the sexual solicitations occurred while in a chat room; 24% came by instant message.

Of those youth sexually solicited, 20% were "very or extremely upset," which the study estimates equals .9-1.4 million children.

25% reported receiving "unwanted exposure to pictorial images of naked people or people having sex," which the study estimates equals 5.4-6.4 million children. By the time I was 12yo, and very sexually aware, I had seen many pictures. Nude pictures, playboy type. Hard core, fetish porn was very underground then........ I hope my children aren't exposed to a man having sex with a dog until they are adult. Somehow I don't think that my children need to be greatly aware of that form of sex.

71% of "unwanted exposures" occurred while the youth was searching or surfing the Internet, and 28% happened when opening e-mail or clicking on links in e-mail.
I would hope that "net nanny" software would lessen this number.

67% of the unwanted exposures happened at home, but 15% happened in schools, and 3% happened in libraries. Based on the estimates supplied by the authors, this would translate into between 814,000 and 970,000 children exposed in schools, and between 162,9000 and 194,100 exposed in public libraries. [Ed. Note: These numbers are drastically different from the findings of the 1997 On-Line Summit in Washington, D.C. which found that 70% of children's exposure to on-line porn had occurred in schools and libraries.]

For the youths who encountered the material while surfing, it came up as a result of searches 47% of the time, misspelled addresses 17%, and links in websites 17%.

Prior to ending I will say (in response to a question asked me) that I do not condem chat. I have repeatedly said I don't find it necessary to my life and I don't feel my children will wither without it. I liken it to not being allowed to talk on the phone for hours, at my whim, when I was a child. It is a time waster, and coupled with the real danger, no-chat is a no-brainer for me.
post #36 of 47
Thank you El for showing that their is another side.

As for statistics in general, I've read the book, How to Lie with Statistics, too many times to buy into the numbers with utter faith.

Sorry kids...I'm a skeptic. Read that book and you will be too.
post #37 of 47
Slightly OT but related to the first post:

Princess Post-a-Lot is taken, but you can be Prince Post-a-Lot.
To get a name instead of Senior Member, you just email or pm Cynthia and tell her what to change it to. After it is set up, you can change it at will.

Not having a teen, I don't have a strong opinion on the topic. I don't begrudge any parent restricting internet usage or anything else that they deem potentially harmful, but think that teaching a teen to make reasonable decisions for his/herself would probably work better, if that is possible.
post #38 of 47
Amen Nursing mother!!!
Just like every baby crawls, walks, cuts teeth and talks at a different age....so teens are different as to what ages they are able to deal with different things. Too often young people think they can handle more than they can. I think NM's daughter was a good example of that....she was grateful when her parents took control of a situation she had gotten herself into over her head. My kids have used me as the bad guy more than once to get themselves out of something they knew they weren't ready to handle. Parents need to be a safty net when our fledegings aren't ready to fly solo.
Chat rooms being dangerous or not is really a moot point when we consider the issue of maturity. Stairs aren't dangerous if you know how to walk down them or avoid falling....but for a crawling baby they are dangerous! Only the parent can judge if a baby can handle the stairs. Some parents will lean toward letting them try it a little before they are ready, and some will be overportective and keep them from the stairs long after they may be able to navigate them. But each parent will make the decision about readiness that they feel is in their child's best interest, and in the long run they really do know that child and their readiness better than the casual onlooker.
post #39 of 47

safe boundaries

Umm, against my better judgement, here I go, wading in to the morass--

Els' 3 Ones writes:
And as for NM's action. If you read the original post again she says that dd seemed relieved to be discovered. And probably relieved to have parent's
irrational act to fall back on as an excuse to not chat. It may have got beyond where she was comfortable and she (at 15yo) needed help getting out.

Dan writes:
And ime, kids rarely 'want to be caught'

I've spent a large portion of my adult life working with teenagers--as a big sister, as a house adult at a boarding school and as a Unitarian Universalist youth advisor. My experience, the experiences of my colleagues and a fairly extensive body of literature all support the idea that children and youth need boundaries to feel safe and will act out, push the limits and try to get caught in order to establish that an adult cares enough to protect them from things that they are not ready for or find unsafe. When a teenager leaves a letter about her sex life open where a parent can see it, or a box of condoms on his dresser, they are asking for a parent to set some boundaries...

It's a constant challenge for parents and adults working with youth to set appropriate boundaries and to know when to allow their children to make their own mistakes. Both are crucial for a child or teenager to develop independence and self reliance. A solution that works for one youth will not work for another.

My experience working with Unitarian Universalist youth was both extremely rewarding and extremely heartwrenching--I served some wonderful, responsible youth but also some very troubled youth. In my opinion, many of the troubled youth that I served (as chaplain of a 300 plus national youth gathering and as youth coordinator for 32 congregations in five states) were struggling because their parents were unwilling to set firm boundaries for them with respect to morality, sex and other activities. They were longing for an adult to step in and help them create some safety in their lives.

post #40 of 47
All right, I'm jumping in late, but I have 2 pre teens,(almost 9 & almost 10) so this subject interests me. I'm surprised that such a lengthy debate is occurring here. Like El said, it's a no-brainer. (IMO) No chat at our house.

I'm wondering if some of you have any idea what it is like to be a child and have an adult hit on you. This happened to me and so I'll tell you what it feels like: horrifying, distressing, terrifying. And nothing terrible happened to me: I was NOT fondled or molested or raped. No. I was in a shoe store when I was 10 and a man approached me and talked in a suggestive manner. Since I was raised to avoid strangers, I walked away and the man didn't follow. But here's the thing: *I was with my father at the time!* My dad was at the counter paying for a pair of shoes and the man who hit on me was one of the shoe salesmen. I was too ashamed to tell my father what happened. I blamed myself: my shorts were too short, I was wearing a tank top, I felt there must have been something wrong with *me* to attract that adult to me. It was years and years later that I realized he was a pedophile. I avoided that shoe store for the rest of the time I lived in that town. It was a deeply distressing experience.

What I'm trying to say is: parents can teach their children to be responsible, but that's only half the equation. You also need to do what you can to keep the pervs away from your kids. You can't do this 100% of the time, but eliminating chat is one way. Also, as I think my experience illustrates, a virtual sexual come on can be traumatic even if the agressor never touches or is even in the same city with the child.

Also, I don't see why a parent forbidding chat *in their own home* seems so threatening to some. I can guide my children away from books I think are too mature for them, but that's not the same as demanding that those books be removed from libraries. (And before anyone jumps on me, I don't censor my children's reading. But if ds wants to read a book I feel might be distressing for him, I'll just say, "I think you should wait until you're older to read that.") Years ago (again when I was 10) my class read exerpts from "Julie of the Wolves" I enjoyed them and checked the book out of the library so I could read the whole thing. There's a rape scene in that book! (Maybe attempted rape, I can't remember.) What I DO remember is feeling shocked and distressed and a bit betrayed that no adult had warned me about what was in that book.
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