‘Sexting’ and online porn – A deadly cocktail for teens
For all its wonders, technology certainly packs a rather nasty punch. With more and more people using smartphones, the phenomena of cyber bullying has taken on increasingly sexual overtones, especially among teens. The preliminary findings of the 2010 MetroWest Adolescent Health Survey that was based on responses received from more than 23,000 high school students located in the western suburbs of Boston prove this. Around 10 per cent of the students admitted that they know what ‘sext’ message is and they had sent such messages to someone in the past one year. One of the questions in the survey asked if they had received any ‘sext’ message in the past year. Five per cent of the students responded to this question in affirmative.
The most shocking part of this survey was its conclusion, which states that ‘sexting’ is a pernicious form of cyberbullying. Teens, who send or receive sexually explicit content, are more susceptible to experience symptoms of depression. According to the survey findings, 13 per cent of the teens who practiced ‘sexting’ said that they had tried to commit suicide during that time.
There is a close yet paradoxically indirect relation between the use of routers and ‘sexting’. Renowned router makers like Cisco and ZyXEL have joined hands with parental-control services Netopia and Cerberian, respectively, to ensure that children stay protected while surfing the Internet. With the help of the routers that are an outcome of the above-mentioned joint-ventures, the administrator can not only lock the user to any particular computer system by enabling the content filter, but can also allow the users to log on to any computer system on the network with or without the permission of the user of that particular system.
It is very easy to set up a wireless network (WLAN) that allows you to share documents or peripheral devices. You can easily tack your PC on to the network; this will give you access to the web and allow you to play online games. When the routers are configured, each user is assigned a unique profile on the basis of his age group. The parent user or administrator can restrict the Internet content that can be accessed by each profile. In certain cases, the routers can even send a request to the online service centre of the manufacturer. On the basis of the rating received, the router allows or restricts the user from viewing the content of that particular website.
So, it’s the duty of the parents to keep tabs on their children’s cell phone usage and Internet browsing habits to have an idea about what’s going on in their child’s life.
Marian Merritt, Internet safety advocate for Norton, suggests that parents should set the controls at home wither by setting online time limits on the home wireless router or by limiting the time children spend on the cell phone.