Friday, July 07, 2006

Online Pedophiles NECC2006

Attended a good session this morning hosted by Chuck Favata who is a Computer Integration Teacher for Holland Middle School in Pennsylvania. He has been making presentations and providing workshops about Internet safety snce 1999.

Chuck is a supporter of DOPA which I think is crazy,(see Will's post and his DOPA wiki) but he really didn't talk about that very much. He down played the "shut 'em down" aspects of DOPA and talked about the main goal as being a one-stop-shop on the web for parents to get information about dealing with online pedophiles. If that was all it was about then it would be harmless enough, but we don't need legislation to create a rich web resource of information. I think most people in the room were supportive of 95% of what Chuck had to say, but I bet that almost that same percentage would not support DOPA as it is written.

Some of Chuck's questions and quotes:

  1. Would you, as a parent, allow a 40 year old man to go into your daughter’s bedroom at night and talk to her?
  2. Teen….Perfect combination of OVERCONFIDENCE And INEXPERIENCE
  3. Teens may be "TECH" SAVVY but they are not “RELATIONSHIP” SAVVY (these are learned behaviors that must become equivalent for Adults and Teens)
  4. The number of pedophiles online at any given time is 50,000
  5. 1 in 5 students have been “APPROACHED” while in a chatroom
  6. Females targeted 66% of time, 14-16 years old are the prime targets
  7. Kids must remember what WWW means! The Whole World is Watching!
  8. Kids don't generally lie about sex/gender and location, but they tend to lie about age by an average of 3 years. A 14-year old will say she's 17. Boys do it too.
  9. There's lots of good information available on the web (such as, but there's also a tremendous amount of icky stuff out there from organizations such as the Natonal Man-Boy Love Association, Pedophile Education Website Mirror, Child-Love Freedom Society, IPCE (a forum for people who are engaged in scholarly discussion about the understanding and emancipation of mutual relationships between children or adolescents and adults), and several hundred more (sorry, I don't want to provide links to these).
Chuck provided some good demonstrations of just how easy it is to track down information about a kid that you meet online, especially if you can get them to do something that captures their I.P. address such as audio chat with a microphone in IM, or send them a file (fake photo perhaps) in IM.

Overall it was a good session, with just a few concerns for me regarding DOPA. Audience members especially jumped on the theme that without parents getting involved in this mess there will be very little progress made. That's exactly why I will be working with PTA groups in the region during the next year to inform parents of what they can do and must do to protect their children.

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