Now, let’s look at these three characteristics one by one.
The first one is obvious. You can see for yourself:
|WORLD INTERNET USAGE AND POPULATION STATISTICS|
( 2008 Est.)
% of World
( Penetration )
% of World
|Africa||955,206,348||14.3 %||45,321,040||4.7 %||3.3 %||903.9 %|
|Asia||3,776,181,949||56.6 %||512,251,104||13.6 %||37.8 %||348.1 %|
|Europe||800,401,065||12.0 %||374,244,342||46.8 %||27.6 %||256.1 %|
|Middle East||197,090,443||3.0 %||33,625,200||17.1 %||2.5 %||923.7 %|
|North America||337,167,248||5.1 %||243,399,574||72.2 %||18.0 %||125.2 %|
|Latin America/ Caribbean||576,091,673||8.6 %||127,093,209||22.1 %||9.4 %||603.4 %|
|Oceania /Australia||33,981,562||0.5 %||19,176,162||56.4 %||1.4 %||151.6 %|
|WORLD TOTAL||6,676,120,288||100.0 %||1,355,110,631||20.3 %||100.0 %||275.4 %|
The statistics speak for themselves. All over the world the internet is growing by leaps and bounds, and so in theory your child (or friend, employee, partner, spouse, family member, etc…) can have access to all these people. So that’s the first danger
The second one: technology now is such that you can access the internet ANYWHERE. Here are some examples:
1) Access people via cell phones.
(here are some stats on cell phones)
a. Today, more people have cell phones than fixed telephone lines, both in the United States and internationally.
b. There are more than one billion cell phone users worldwide.
c. China’s mobile phone market, already the world’s biggest, has passed 400 million users.
d. 204,067,434 Estimated Current US Wireless Subscribers 2/25/06, over 65 percent of total U.S. Population
e. More than 60 million teenagers now carry cell phones, and most take them everywhere they go.
f. Anywhere, anytime communication is now demanded by all generations of mobile users who no longer want to be chained to their PCs.
g. Text messaging combines the portability of cell phones with the convenience of e-mail and instant messaging.
h. 154% growth in monthly Text Messages: 7.3 billion messages in June 2005, up from 2.9 billion messages in June 2004.
2) You can also even save entire computer operating systems plus thousands of files on what is called a “USB Flash drive” which is one of those little memory chips the size of a cigarette lighter that you can stick into a USB port on your computer.
3) And of course there are PDA’s (personal digital assistant) which are now pocket-sized, which often are combined with cell phone features to become computers on their own.
4) There are also internet cafes in most cities.
5) In a schoolbag or briefcase there could be laptops
6) Almost all homes and offices have computers so literally in most civilized places in the world you can go almost anywhere and you will always find internet access.
The third thing- because of the second point mentioned above, it doesn’t take much for a child (or anyone for that matter) to hide anywhere- under the blankets, in a dark corner between buildings, in the bathroom- ANYWHERE, and communicate with anyone.
But that’s only the technological part of the problem.
The other REAL problem, is obsession. The technology is only a tool to serve the obsession. When a person ends up spending all their time on one topic or such, it’s a form of addiction.
It could be gambling. Sex. A specific computer game. Even a sport. But one thing any obsession needs is “food” or “fuel”. Some of the ingredients for obsession are as follows:
1. privacy: the ability to hide what you’re doing
2. no time limits
3. community: find others who share your obsession
4. preferably little or no cost
5. take it with you anywhere