Protect Our Children

I. Can you imagine that nearly half a million US children aged 17 or younger has been exposed to some form of commercial sexual exploitation? Billions of people, both adults and children, have taken to surfing in Cyberspace. A. Sales of personal computers and online subscribers have boomed in the last five years 1. Yet with increasing sales comes increasing sleaze. B. Obscene material and images, both violent and pornographic have flourished. C. Our children and families are under threat from a vile, evil trade of exploitation and sex. 1. No one can safely say that they are immune or safe.

D. We have opened up a Pandora’s Box of nastiness that stretches its claws into the very hearts of our homes. Hardly a day goes by when we do not read about the prosecution and arrest of adults and even Teens for the downloading and distribution of illegal images and videos. 1. Many of these sickening images, some involving depraved acts on children who are nothing more than babies, are freely available on the Internet. 2. An innocent enquiry typed into a search engine can in seconds expose our children to the worst and most graphic images imaginable.

Once exposed these images will stay forever burnt into the minds of our children. II. Meanwhile our children and teens regularly go online to visit chat rooms. A. Here they are vulnerable to abuse, solicitation and sexual attention from pedophiles that lurk, disguising themselves as children. B. Some even go so far as to lie and conceal their intentions until they can lure the child into meeting with them. III. It is a fact that over 750,000 children go missing each year. A. That means 3 children are reported missing each minute. B. Many of these children are in danger of violent abuse and even death.

Some of them may have begun their fateful encounter in a chat room on line. IV. Some people see the Internet as an educational super highway, with untold be benefits. A. The fact remains that Sex is the No. 1 searched for topic on the Internet. B. An amazing 60% of all web sites are sexually related. C. What does this figure say about us as a society? D. What does this say about our priorities? E. Given the meager measures, worried parents are urged to take to protecting their children from this exposure! V. The Internet has allowed the dysfunctional and evil pedophiles the perfect method of communication and escaping detection.

A. There is it seems little we can do to stop them. B. Unfortunately the Internet has become a super highway of sex, sleaze and exploitation. C. There are estimated to be over 100,000 illegal sites offering child pornography alone. This estimate is conservative. There are probably many thousands more. D. This trade is illegal worldwide, yet it flourishes on the Internet like never before. 1. This trade is worth billions of dollars a year. 2. The amount of money spent combating it and the evil persons who supply and trade in it, is a fraction of the profits.

The statistics unfortunately speak for themselves. A. Nine out of ten children between the ages of eight and sixteen have viewed pornography on the Internet. 1. In the majority of cases that viewing was unintentional. a. Less than half of parents use any system of blocking or filtering software. B. Many are totally unaware of the sexual images and violence that are easily accessed by their children. C. Parents are told to try and supervise 1. To consult their children about what they download. 2. The reality is that these measures are feeble and half-hearted.

The consensus seems to be that the Internet is fun, fascinating and for all intents and purposes the future. A. The fact is that for many people including worried parents and vulnerable children there is A bleak and dangerous downside. 1. That downside is primarily the easy access to pornography and 2. The ease with which sexual predators have access to children. IX. Whether you like it or not, the Internet is here to stay! The fact is that until we can come up with a far better way of protecting our children we should be far more wary of what the Internet has to offer.

Safety and filtering devices should be used wherever possible. B. Parents should talk with their children and check on the sites that they have accessed. C. If you use chat rooms, never: 1. Give out your name and address to anyone you do not know. 2. Never ever arrange to get together with anyone without first checking with your parents. For millions of people the Internet is fun and fascinating, it is a powerful and dangerous tool even in the hands of a child. We should treat it as such and with the utmost caution. Nothing less will do. Our children’s lives may well depend upon it.