Friday, January 19, 2007

Protect children! From whom?

Many warnings, several federal and state laws, and a number of court cases have focused on the dangers to children presented by the Internet, notably child pornography and enticement leading to sexual abuse.

While most people would agree that all abuse of children is unacceptable, they would probably agree that the bulk of protective efforts should be directed against the most common sources of abuse. Surprise! The Internet isn't one of them.

A thoughtful post by Pete Reilly presents and analyzes the data. The source of most of the abuse is parents (79%), other relatives (6%), and unmarried partners of parents (4%). Instead of the Child Online Protection Act (COPA) and its ilk, it's time for legislators to focus on the most common abusers, don't you think?

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