Parents Think The Internet Is More Dangerous Than Drugs Or Drunk Driving?

from the that's-what-the-press-taught-them dept

We’ve discussed repeatedly how the press has freaked people out over the greatly overhyped threats of online risks to children. And, not surprisingly, those stories have had an impact. Adam Thierer points us to a Larry Magid column where he’s discussing a recent survey that shows many parents are more worried about online threats to their kids than they are about the threat of drunk driving or drugs. Magid points out how silly this is, and how low the real risk is to kids surfing the internet. He’s the latest mainstream press columnist to realize how much the mainstream press has overplayed this threat for years. It’s just too bad that it’s taken this long for everyone to realize the threat online isn’t nearly as big as it has been made out to be.

Filed Under: , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Parents Think The Internet Is More Dangerous Than Drugs Or Drunk Driving?”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
JoeTheDeveloper says:

The Scared Mommies strike again

Luckily with the Republicans plunging us into “the Bush Depression”, soon the Scared Mommies may have “real” things to worry about and can stop trying to get the rest of the world to conform to some Fisher Price ideal of child-safe they have. Protect your own kids people, they mean next to nothing to me.

jonnyq says:

Re: Re: Re: The Scared Mommies strike again

I hate threadjacking as much as the next guy…

But those tax cuts helped the economy and /boosted/ federal revenue.

It’s the spending that’s the problem. I’m not going to argue about the price of war, but that’s not even the main place where spending is out of control. The reasons for the economic downturn lie elsewhere. (Though it’s easy to see how you could be confused into thinking the tax cuts are related to the downturn, it’s just not true)

Anonymous Coward says:

Mob Think

” It’s just too bad that it’s taken this long for everyone to realize the threat online isn’t nearly as big as it has been made out to be.”

It hasnt taken anyone “this long”, its just ceased to be as profitable to write these stories I would guess. If a journalist did a story on how scary the internet is, he would jsut be trying to sell one of a million similar stories to outlets that have already run trillions of them. Now he decides to do a story about how the internet isnt really that bad . . . well thats a new take, easier to sell.

Anonymous of Course says:


If you really cared for the earth you’d
eat more babies.

But seriously, am I really to believe that parents
think the internet is more dangerous to their children
than drunk driving? It’s view so remarkably stupid in
light of the statistics as to be mind numbing.

It’s the sort of news article that threatens to suffocate
that little ember of hope for a better future.

Anonymous Coward says:

While the proliferation of Social Networking Sites allow people to connect with friends, and family members, some people are using the candid remarks to an extreme. This includes drinking and driving.

But equally amazing is that their works seem to preclude any need to re-fill the current Social Security Trust Fund as it’s amazingly deflated by our current administration.

Let me ask one question: Have you seen a recent M3 chart based on Fed Data?

Sometimes I wonder if collectively myself and the other brothers and sisters will be able to re-fill the SS Trust fund for our parents, or do we just say forget the government programs and do it ourselves.

Another friend, whom I am quite happy for, is considering moving to Turkey to do some crazy bomb manufacturing under a McCain administration. Now, I was brought in to a fancy company to find out how to make bombs faster and more efficiency. This was all very interesting to me because another college friend of mine was looking at how to make the US DoD ordering process more efficient.

Other friends were interested in making mortgages go through, even if it meant paying an appraiser to make the house worth 10 or 40k more than it actually was worth. (Hilarious Stories, BTW.)

But all of this seems to prelude parental usage of overhyped users of internet as they attempt to tie it into online treats for kids, be it Drugs or Drunk Driving.

Don’t get me wrong: NeoCon methodologies work well if you remove variability. However, considering that the US’s foundation is based on variability, and creative thinking, our financial system shouldn’t be based on a system of absolutes.

No one is going to be able to pay their bills 100% on time.

For shit sake, Let your kids be kids. They probably know more than you do. Give your kids a little room, as they will be the ones trying to fill the Social Security Trust fund as you are retiring. Give them a little room as they explore the world. It was quite sad when a college friend with direct lineage to Lewis & Clark was afraid to leave the apartment to go and explore, even though I said:

“8-10 is yours. Just go and leave: my only ask is that you bring me a receipt that you’ve been somewhere. I’ll pay you $17 an hour for which you are YOU. GO. BE. HAVE FUN. I don’t care! Your fucking Great Grandfather has his name all over the Louisiana Purchase. Tap into that.”

They never left. They never were curious. Good Job, NeoCons.

Overall, we’re going to need some creative solutions as we watch the world evolve.

Jonathan says:

Only in America

The fear of the internet in this particular way is mainly an American (maybe North American) phenomenon.

I have it on good authority that youngsters in the UK play a game called “pass the pedo”. The kids over there apparently recognize the deception and don’t fall for it.

What is different there? Certainly not a less inflamatory press. Perhaps more critical thinking is taught earlier?

Anonymous Coward says:

I’m a parent, and I’m more “worried about online threats to [my] kids than [I am] about the threat of drunk driving or drugs.”

I’m worried because I don’t know enough about them. Drunk driving, and drugs. I understand what those risks are, I know ways to keep my kids from them. It’s not that it isn’t a concern, I just do what I can and don’t worry.

Online threat? Even the term is vague. Are we talking about someone threatening my kids online, or just the fact that they are online is a threat? Does this include identity theft, voyeurism, child porn and other terrible things?

I live in a rural enough area that the chance of someone offering my kids drugs or getting hit by a drunk driver is low (highest would be once a month). However just today there are several spam e-mails in my inbox which are not something I would want to see, let alone my kids.

I’m not saying the Internet is “bad,” but I think it is wishful thinking to think it is “safe.” The more people you connect with, the greater the risk (and the greater the reward).

As my kids are very trusting, they are also easy prey. For this reason I worry.

zcat (profile) says:

"delivering porn and bomb recipies into the hands of children"

Today is guy-fawkes in NZ (kinda like July 4th in the USA) and last night my kids showed me how you can tape up a bundle of sparklers together and make a huge bang. Apparently they read how to do this on the internet. I’m not sure if I should be concerned about their safety or impressed with their research skills.

Francis Burdett says:

Re: surprised?

“Parents … like ultimate power and control. They fear free thought. They don’t tolerate questioning”

not to jump to absolute and ridiculous generalizations (AHEM)

but one might conclude that THOM

Sprang forth fully formed from the Head of Zeus (and thus never had childhood or parents)


Might possibly be a surly teenager who has had his WOW privileges taken away.

Beta (profile) says:

How about all of these together?

How about Drugs, Drunk Driving while browsing the Internet, that’d be really dangerous.

I think parents see how much the Internet costs particularly if you’re browsing from home and they think spending all the time (therefore money) on it is a bad idea. IMO, it could keep you away from Drunk Driving and Drugs as much as anything else.

Drugs and Alcohol costs are funneled differently and parents get paranoid only when they learn about it. It’s just protectionist fear.

Larry Magid (profile) says:

Predator Panic

Thanks for linking to my article but I’m not the “latest” mainstream journalist to point out that predator danger is way overhyped. I’ve been saying that for years. In fact, there’s a chapter largely devoted to the topic in a book I co-write 2 years ago called MySpace Unraveled. You can find plenty of stories where I’ve been saying this on my site and in the PCAnswer area of


Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...