The recent headlines on cyber pornography in our country are alarming. The numbers on child cybersex are frightening, and figures on human trafficking have soared almost exponentially.
Someone asked if the clever tourism slogan, “More fun in the Philippines,” has, together with other formerly wholesome sayings, gone the way of all flesh.
It feels like a war. With help from the latest technology, we invaded the once unknown dimensions of the ether, and now cyberspace is getting back at us with a vengeance.
While guardians of the law watch out for cases of identity fraud and try to catch the elusive hackers of government and banking systems, Internet pedophiles and hi-tech experts with sick and warped minds are getting in. They have quite literally downloaded their repulsive, uninvited presence into our lives, threatening to destroy the peace and security of our homes and families.
Invasion of privacy?
Would you call this a simple invasion of our privacy? I don’t think so, not when we have eagerly given free access and a warm welcome to the alleged intruder. Unfortunately we gave up the intimate side of our lives and our homes to social media a long time ago.
I have no idea how this happens. I am now just getting acquainted with the apps (applications, to the uninformed) that are available. I am just as happy not being too savvy in these matters. I have enough to keep me busy (and confused).
As much as I enjoy Facebook and love that I have been able to reconnect with long lost friends, it makes me cringe when I see posts from friends and family that, despite privacy measures, may still be visible to predators and their cohorts.
I want to ask: Does everyone really need to know where we are at all times? I shudder at the thought of people knowing too much about what used to be and should remain none of their business.
There are too many dark souls out there just waiting to pounce on an unwitting innocent child, and it is sickening to know that there actually are parents who, for a price, exploit their own.
Cybercrimes are on the rise and the statistics on cyberpornography are staggering.
Think about this. Every second of every minute of every day, almost 30,000 people are watching porn. In a single day, 2.5 billion emails are sent containing pornographic material. In America alone, 40 million people visit porn sites regularly.
One third of viewers worldwide are women. A recent study found that boys and girls experience their first exposure to Internet porn at age 11, often earlier.
Reports reveal that pornography is one of the prime causes of infidelity, divorce, lost jobs, financial losses, teen pregnancies, school dropouts and drug abuse by adults and minors. Scary.
Many years ago, when I lived in the United States, there was an announcement on television every night. It went this way: “It is now 10 o’clock. Do you know where your children are?”
Today, more children stay home, clicking and swiping on the new toys of their generation, gadgets that we ourselves provide. Shouldn’t we find out which sites they visit? What are they watching? Who are they chatting with?
Some claim that supervision of this sort is an invasion of your children’s right to privacy. (My expletive deleted.)
The teenaged grandson of a friend was discovered last New Year’s Eve to have made his own explosives right in the garage of their home. Three- or four-step instructions were lifted from the Internet. It took him a few days to assemble a formidable arsenal for his own midnight revelry. The Boston Marathon bombers come to mind.
Where are the parents while the children click away? Have we so lost touch with our children that even when they are home, we have no idea what they are up to?
Let’s go a little deeper.
When your children have bad dreams in the middle of the night, whose voice reassures them? When they are sick, who kisses their pain away? Is there at least one parent on board? Or is the yaya more of a presence than you are?
My friend has a sad story. She thought her daughter was just going through a phase. She was quiet, sullen, always locked up in her room with her laptop. She did not know that her daughter was hooked on porn, was mocked in school about her weight and was unhappy enough to take her own life. And today it’s too late to wonder why.
Someone once asked me, “How long should parents watch over their children?”
To my knowledge, there is no expiration or cut-off date. Maybe we shouldn’t, but we do.
We watch their first steps. When they fall, we help them up. Then they grow up and nothing changes. Maybe their strides are just longer, surer; and when they fall, we step aside. They must learn to rise on their own. Still we watch over them, maybe from a distance, but always.
Or as Lisa Gardner put it: “You try as a parent. You love beyond reason. You fight beyond endurance. You hope beyond despair. You never think until the very last moment, that it still might not be enough.”