Informing Adults on Secured Online Environments for Children Term Paper

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¶ … Adults on Secured Online Environments for Children

Conceptual Framework


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Historical Overview of Individual Technology Usage

Changing Roles of the Instructor, Parent, and Student

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Throughout history, children have always been at risk of exploitation by adults, varying only in degrees. An unfortunate but natural concomitant of the increase in use of online resources by children has been a corresponding increase in the targeting of these young people by commercial enterprises that exploit their innocence and lack of guile by soliciting personal information that is then used for target marketing purposes. More alarming, though, has been the use of online forums such as to lure young people into online and offline encounters that may endanger their safety and lives. The federal and state governments have been trying to achieve a careful balance of laws to protect underage consumers from exploitation by online businesses while recognizing the fundamental constitutional rights of commercial enterprises and consumers involved, but this has proven especially problematic. Moreover, the increasing popularity and sophistication of Internet-accessible devices such as laptops and especially cellular phones, has provided entirely new avenues for young people to both access online resources and be accessed themselves by adults seeking to attract underage victims for criminal purposes. In fact, the availability of ring tones that adults are unable to hear but which teenage users can is reflective of the "we-them" mentality emerging in technological applications today. The purpose of the instant study is to identify what can be done to help policymakers and educators alike address these concerns in the classroom and in the home.

Executive Summary

Term Paper on Informing Adults on Secured Online Environments for Children Assignment

This study proposes to use a five-chapter format to answer general research issues such as to what extent are educational leaders, teachers, and parents aware of potential risks to children during unprotected and unsupervised access to the Internet? A heightened awareness of potential predator risks to children while accessing the Internet unsupervised and unprotected is a vulnerability that will become a reality through further investigation of the issue. The study proposes to employ a phenomenal approach to identify the potential risks and their consequences of the issues that exist in the minds of all concerned, providing substantial significance and heightened sensitivity to the issues addressed. These goals will be accomplished through emphasizing a focus on the subjective experiences and enlightened understanding of the issues in the minds of administrators, educators, librarians and parents using a modified Delphi technique that allows respondents to participate in an iterative questionnaire completion process online.

Informing Adults on Secured online Environments for Children

Chapter 1: Introduction

Background of the Problem

As more and more young people become expert with computers and online interfaces, their vulnerability to exploitation by adult predators also increases. In this regard, Campbell, Calvert and Boswell (2003) stated "as personal and business-critical applications become more prevalent on the Internet, network-based applications and services can pose security risks to all attention resources." According to Festinger (1997), one danger of the internet is that people can be disguised. Festinger asserted "people avoid information that is likely to increase dissonance. Not only do we tend to select reading material and television programs that are consistent with our existing beliefs we usually choose to be with people who are like us." Unfortunately, the internet can disguise people with a different set of opinions or moral values. As Festinger asserted, there is no assurance about the identity of individuals that family members are talking to while online. Therefore, it is imperative that responsible adults implement security features such as the installation of available hardware and software properly installed into every home computer environment ensuring the safest computing environment possible. According to Elder and Paul "skilled critical thinking is to be able to take one's thinking apart systematically, to analyze each part, assess it for quality and than improve it" (2002). Developing a strategy for internet use will require "skilled critical thinking" in order to conduct the kind of analysis that will lead to necessary safety measures (Campbell et al., 2003).

During the 1980s and 1990s, in the beginning of internet use, only the government officials and scientist had to worry about securing data from intrusion, modification, or destruction. Now with desktops or laptops or both in every home, and the increased reliance on the internet for information and as a form of communication, not only is our personal information at risk, but the safety of our family has come into play due to online predators. Because of this dangerous trend, the average administrator, teacher, and parent trying to have the latest technology at their families' disposal but in a secure mode needs a guide on how to manage internet access.

Problem Statement

Children fall prey to online predators at an increasing rate, in a 1998 survey Parry surveyed 10,800 teenage girls of which 12% admitted to meeting stranger's offline. Additionally, in 2000, Family PC reported that 24% of girls surveyed and 14% of the boys polled met strangers on the Internet, moreover, they met these individual offline as well. During a recent visit to a small Midwest community, three children admitted involvement with Internet predators, leading to the torture and rape of one of the children (Wire Safety, n.d.). According to Shields (2003), "In this porous and mixed material/virtual world of the home, parents worry that children and teens will be targets for online predators, paedophiles and online marketing scams at home. Columnists and how-to authors warn parents to limit their children's online time, double-check their email for pornography and debate whether or not face-to-face meetings with others met online should be allowed" (pp. 98-9). Furthermore, the initiatives to date have failed to measure up to the need. For example, the well-meaning but misguided "Deleting Online Predators Act of 2006," or "DOPA," introduced by Rep. Michael G. Fitzpatrick, would require any school or library that received government funding to block access to any website that "allows users to create web pages or profiles that provide information about themselves and are available to other users, and offers a mechanism for communication with other users, such as a forum, chat room, e-mail, or instant messenger" (quoted in Fletcher, 2006 at p. 24). The bill would also make these sites available only to people that were aged 18 years and older (Fletcher, 2006). Although this legislation's intent -- to keep online predators from contacting children through social networking sites such as MySpace -- is admirable, attempting to prohibit the use of these phenomenally popular sites is like using a $200,000 smart bomb to destroy a $10 tent (Fletcher, 2006).

In reality, the problem is that no widely accepted safety recommendations and guidelines as developed by experts in the field that are applicable in many environments including home, school, and offices to insure the safety of children and adolescents are available. Subsequently, the safety of children continues to be at risk in increasing numbers as more people gain daily access to the internet. There is a need to develop a qualitative study that will explore the perceptions of experts in how to protect children and adolescents from online predators. This qualitative study will use a modified Delphi study to explore the perceptions of Louisiana area school districts educators, administrators, librarians, and sample parents through interviews and surveys, seeking to develop a set of unified and consistent recommendations for online safety for children and adolescents.

Problem Statement No. 1

With desktops, laptops or both in every home, and the increased reliance on the internet for information and as a form of communication, not only is the public's personal information at risk, but the safety of American families has come into play due to the increasing presence of online predators (pers. obs.). The Internet's lack of security has created a need for the education of administrators, teachers, and parent to ensure a safer computer environment for families. This qualitative research study will first query computer awareness of education administrators, teachers, parents, and students in the New Orleans school district, next this researcher will explore the required elements by researching documented data to be considered in order to develop a framework that can be used as a guide by educational leaders and parents for the protection of children at school and at home. Research areas will include various Information Systems Security sites that provide security solutions that can be implemented in schools and in the home, other avenues of research will include discussions with a multitude of technical personnel proficient in the security of hardware, software and network technology.

Problem Statement No. 2

The above-described dearth of online security procedures has created a need for the education of administrators, teachers, and parent to ensure a safer computer environment for families. During this quantitative research study, the author will investigate the trend of online predators as recorded by local law enforcement agencies this step will include information on various types of techniques used by these… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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