Harvard University's Internet Safety Technical Task Force - created by 49 state attorneys generals to probe the problem of sexual solicitation of children on the Internet - has come to the conclusion that the occurrence of predatory incidents online is only as frequent as in the real world.
The report released Tuesday - which shows that almost 13% of children receive sexual solicitations online, rarely from adults over 21 years - contradicts the much-hyped representation of the problem in the news media like the series "To Catch a Predator" on NBC.
Running into 278 pages, the report has resulted from a year of efforts - in the form of meetings between experts in childhood safety, academicians, and executives of nearly
After having investigated the amount of the threats faced by children social networks like Facebook and MySpace, the report would possibly calm the prevalent fears that adults mislead and victimize children through popular Web sites.
John Cardillo, the CEO of Sentinel Tech Holding and part of the task force, said: "Social networks are very much like real-world communities that are comprised mostly of good people who are there for the right reasons."
The task force report also noted that though the fears of adult sexual predators online have been overblown, the problem of cyber-bullying has been understated. According to the report, social networking sites are "not the most common space for solicitation and unwanted exposure to problematic content, but are frequently used in peer-to-peer harassment."
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