[WikiEN-l] Dangers to Children

Ray Saintonge saintonge at telus.net
Tue Feb 7 00:02:22 UTC 2006

Fred Bauder wrote:

> How much truth is there to this:
> The Parents for the Online Safety of Children (POSC) organization is  
> worried about parents letting their children into a website that is a  
> known gathering for pedophiles. Any pedophile can easily obtain a  
> child's IP address and use it to locate the child's place of  
> residence outside of the internet. Pedophiles may also solicit  
> children for sex or attempt to contact them through using WikiPedia  
> as a medium, or even find out their e-mail address or instant  
> messenger screen name. 

We do still encourage everyone to become a registered user, in which 
case the children's IP addresses are not public knowledge.  The first 
step in internet safety is what the child does to protect himself.  He 
should not register himself anywhere under his real name.  Wikipedia is 
only one site, but an inventive pedophile can use any site to lure 
children.  The more obscure ones are likely to be more effective. 

Parents who engage in that kind of whining would probably serve their 
kids best if they first understood what they were talking about.  Many 
of them may not even know how to turn a computer on.  The kids can see 
right through that, and those parents soon lose all credibility in the 
eyes of their own kids who promptly do the opposite of what they're told.

> Since WikiPedia allows pedophiles to edit WikiPedia pages and view  
> the IP addresses of children freely, we recommend that you use  
> filtering software to block WikiPedia from access in your household  
> or school. 

When the parent doesn't understand computers he can always get the kids 
to help with the software installation. ;-)

> The internet is already a dangerous lurking ground for pedophiles;  
> statistics show that about 1 in 5 children are solicited for sex  
> online, and with the growth of the unregulated WikiPedia, that number  
> can only skyrocket. 

"Lies, damn lies, and statistics ..."  with a little non-sequitur for 
flavour.  We now require material to be sourced; do they?

> Since WikiPedia refuses to address the issue of pedophiles within its  
> ranks and the allowance of random editing to pages, we can only  
> recommend parents to withhold access to WikiPedia.org for the time  
> being. 

Simply banning identified pedophiles doesn't help the kids.  You can 
always keep an eye on the identified ones.  The really dangerous one are 
the ones who have not been identified at all.

> Excerpts from http://news.baou.com/main.php? 
> action=recent&msg_recent=&rid=20679
> What can we practically do that would reduce any real risk? (I  
> exclude fighting among ourselves in a destructive way)

Providing accurate information about internet dangers that parents can 
use to protect their children would be a positive step, but that has 
limited value for people who are never online.


More information about the WikiEN-l mailing list