When I was child, at the time I was old enough to wait at a bus stop or walk to a friend’s house, my parents taught my brother and me about “stranger danger,” about the creepy and ill-fitting figure who lingers or leers. There are wicked people, said my parents, and they will try to hurt you. If an unrecognized adult stops his car near you, remain alert. If he asks questions, don’t engage. If he comes after you, yell. And run.[Hat tip to J.M.]
The evil to be avoided was kidnapping, a word which, even as a child, carried terrifying associations, much the way hearing “9/11” chills me now. Of course, kidnapping of the kind my parents warned about remains a worry, but that is not the sole version of this nightmare. As we know from television shows like Dateline NBC’s “To catch a predator,” it is now possible to speak of virtual kidnappings, Internet-based abductions that can result in severe harm.
But there is one kind of virtual kidnapping that hasn’t gained much attention. It doesn’t involve any direct human contact; it doesn’t involve any dramatic arrest captured on camera. It’s not physical theft; it is soul theft. It is the trauma to a child’s psychology, self-image and worldview that comes from browsing the Internet. It is the result of roaming online unsupervised, without warnings about whom to run from or avoid. Read more >>
Friday, April 19, 2013
Matt Emerson writes, in a post by this title (The Ignatian Educator, April 14, 2013):