From last week’s Dallas Morning News (reg. required but you’ll get the idea here) comes yet another story about the potential dangers of blogs.
Plano Detective Jeff Rich said that in five minutes of searching Xanga, he found personal information about Plano children that a predator could use to get close. He said blogs quickly give predators information that would take weeks or months to gather from talking to kids in a chatroom.
“They can get on there and find out a lot about you and whether you go to the football game on Friday nights or the mall,” said Detective Rich, who investigates child abuse and family violence. “It can have a catastrophic effect.”
In Texas, apparently, blogs are less than an intellectual exercise.
“It’s a high-tech way of passing notes,” said 16-year-old Laura Lowe, a student at Centennial High in Frisco.
It goes downhill from there.
Rest assured, there will be more stories like this in days to come. You can imagine the worst.
I’m still really struggling with this. Not to minimize the dangers, and not to deny that we have some serious education to do with parents and students about this. But I feel like one of my children is being falsely accused of, I dunno, cheating or something. (I know…I need to get a life.) I feel like starting a “BLOGS DON’T QUICKLY GIVE PREDATORS INFORMATION THAT WOULD TAKE WEEKS OR MONTH TO GATHER FROM TALKING TO KIDS IN A CHATROOM…KIDS DO!” campaign. I feel like…Tom, just tell me what I feel like.
I was a journalism major in college, worked as a reporter for a few years, taught it for 15 years, understand the process. I know this reporter and others are just focused on the dark side. I know the upside to blogs is basically irrelevant here. I know the only way to combat this is to “blogvangelize” the productive uses. And maybe that’s the carrot here…maybe with all this bad news there is an opportunity to offer some balance. Newspapers like that I hear.
Any edubloggers living around Dallas that could maybe offer up a different picture of Weblogs???