Police And Newspaper Say The Internet Turned 10,000 Australian Kids On To Crime

from the sensationalism-at-every-corner dept

madlep writes in to point us to a story out of Australia, where police in Victoria are blaming the internet for a recent rise in youth crimes. Of course, this seems to go against almost all other evidence, but why let that stop a little fear mongering:

The head of the police youth affairs office, Inspector Steve Soden, said too many children were viewing inappropriate content on the internet and this, coupled with boredom due to a lack of community services on Melbourne’s fringes, was behind the alarming rise in youth crime.

Does he have any evidence of this? Nope. But it doesn’t stop the newspaper from going with the headline: “Net blamed as 10,000 kids turn to crime.” In fact, buried way down towards the end of the article, is the news of an actual research paper that looked into what was causing the growth in youth crime:

The paper says social factors, including unemployment, drug and alcohol abuse, sexual abuse and homelessness, contribute to youth crime. But the two key factors influencing young offenders are poor parenting and schooling.

Notice that the internet is totally absent. Yet, why is this fact buried in the 13th paragraph, when the headline and the first few paragraphs blame the internet?

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Comments on “Police And Newspaper Say The Internet Turned 10,000 Australian Kids On To Crime”

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20 Comments
BlowURmindBowel says:

Re: Re:

I still prefer the correlation between the number of pirates world wide and the global avg increase in temp.

So perhaps since there has been a recent up-shot in piracy around the horn of Africa, we can expect a slight drop in global avg temps!?!

Personally I think that the youth doing anything parents don’t like (en masse) causes stupidity, because they don’t want to face the fact that they are being shitty parents…

wasnt me! says:

intro to logic 101....

“boredom due to a lack of community services on Melbourne’s.”

“The paper says social factors, including unemployment, drug and alcohol abuse, sexual abuse and homelessness, contribute to youth crime. But the two key factors influencing young offenders are poor parenting and schooling.”

yes of course the above mentioned issues are quite insignificant so the main reason must be the Internet.

that makes me wonder is the Internet only available in Australia?

because that seems to be the only place were Internet is causing rise in youth crimes.

snowburn14 says:

Who knows?

It’s entirely possible studies have been done that actually show a correlation between children viewing “objectionable content” online and the likelihood of them committing crimes. Of course, that wouldn’t make it a causal relationship. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the same parents who don’t keep a close eye on what their children do online also don’t keep too close an eye on what they do in the real world. Not to mention any of a number of other factors that could be an underlying cause for both “hobbies”.
But then, as others have mentioned before, the same goes for children/teens/whoever listening to angry music and committing violent crime, or depressing music and killing themselves. The trouble is people want to blame someone or something they have the power to control (or at least think they do), and avoid looking any further once they’ve got their hands on one.
In my own desire to do just that, I’ll blame schools for not teaching statistics properly. If people were aware of the difference between correlation and causation, this sort of thing wouldn’t happen. Yeah. That’s the ticket 😛

Anonymous Coward says:

This concept is so ridiculous it hardly bares mentioning. Think about the claim for a second.. What if the kids only visited christian sites on the internet? Hmmmm… would the PD and the newpaper make this gigantic guess at the cause of the problem.

Its assumed that the PD and paper are just implying there is bad/harmful content on the internet. The result of having content categorized as bad/harmful results in some sort of shift in the behavioral development of the youth. We see this claim applied to Tv, movies, video games, etc.. (Usually its directed at a company instead of general area like the internet. This way someone can sue Rockstar because they feel the video game made their kid steal a car)

Lets forget that there is no scientific at all proving this erroneous claim. Lets look at the other side of the coin for a second. If bad content results in bad behavior then it would stand to reason that good content would also equate to good behavoir. To make the assumption that there is no content on the internet that is beneficial is just not accurate.

Abdul says:

What Evidence Again Do U want??

I’m appaled that the writer is even questioning this and asking for some evidence!! I think you must be living in another world if u are asking for evidence to show that questionable contents on the internet is affecting our kids. Just look around all these Youtube stuff, then u will get a glimpse of the negative influence of the internet on young: Top 10 Ways YouTube Has Ruined Life for Good(http://www.internetevolution.com/document.asp?doc_id=155235&F_src=flftwo)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: What Evidence Again Do U want??

If what you deem as questionable content equates to bad behavior then the opposite effect would be true. Good content would equate to good behavoir.

Its amazing! You have discovered how to accomplish what almost every correctional institution in the U.S. has struggle with.

I will tell you what. Lets put your theory to the test.We will find serial killer Richard Ramirez and have him watch whatever good content you like. Then after about 5 years of watching the good content we release him into your custody and he can stay at your house with your family. Of course your steadfast positive that your theory is true so there is no need to worry. Richard Ramirez will be fully rehabilitated because he has been watching nothing but good content.

Of course I hardly believe you are that convinced of your own argument. You are just taking a huge guess at the topic.

K_Man says:

Check yourself...

The paper is only saying what the officer said, it’s not the editor of the newspaper’s opinion. Maybe they gave it that title to draw attention to the crazy thoughts of the police.

The headline is to catch the eye, sell a paper. They did put the truth in there, and to say it’s “buried” is to say you don’t think the last half of a story is important. Sometimes the last sentance is the most important.

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