South Carolina Candidate For Governor Claims There Are Millions Of Internet Child Predators
from the hyperbole-much? dept
Over the past few years, we’ve see quite the moral panic about the supposed threat of internet predators preying on children online. This isn’t to say that it doesn’t happen or that parents and children shouldn’t be quite careful, but the press and politicians have clearly blown the threat way out of proportion. Study after study after study has shown that the threat is relatively small, and most kids are smart enough to be safe online and avoid anyone who seems sketchy. And, the reality is that preying on kids has actually decreased as the internet has grown more popular.
But, of course, that doesn’t make for the type of headlines that politicians want. South Carolina’s Attorney General has now announced his plans to run for governor of the state, in part on the claim that he’s going to crack down on child predators online. Now, we’re all for cracking down on online predators, but it’s tough to take him seriously, when he claims that “there are millions out there.” Millions? That seems a bit on the high side. On top of that, he claims that “Any child can become a victim” because “the predators are so skilled at what they do.” Except, of course, that’s not what the studies have shown at all. They’ve shown that most kids aren’t interested in strangers online at all, and if you reasonably educate them (which you should) they’re likely to be safe. But why bother with the actual evidence when you can grandstand as part of your bid to be governor?