Risks and Challenges to Young People on the Internet

Modified: 9th Apr 2018
Wordcount: 2960 words

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Children on the Internet


  • Dalia Alhejji
  • Nada Alzahrani



Nowadays, the internet has become a fundamental facial expression of our lives over recent epoch years and it's becoming integral part of our life also it's considered as an increasing role of today's culture , especially for children and teenagers, opening us up to a whole globe of knowledge. For whom school work, online gaming, social networking, entertainment and communication are among the most popular activities. However, the lack of common concord about the right overture to educating and protecting children adds further challenges to kid’s online experience and reflection. Additionally, cultural and geographical differences in legal and social norms reflect the fact that there is no universally accepted view of what defines a person as a child or what is appropriate for children, making inappropriate content and behavior difficult to recognize. “While some online crimes are cross-border in nature and so require global attention, at a national level, policy approaches to regulating content have so far predominantly employed a range of filtering techniques to limit access to or block Internet content"[1].

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The Internet can be a risky spot for the unwary, particularly children, containing undesired contact includes harassment, cyberbullying, stalking etc. In the meantime, most of the parents are worried about the dangers their children could face on the internet. The most important challenge for all parents is to teach themselves and their youngsters about how to utilize the Internet securely. On the other hand, to help kids maximizing the Internet's benefits and minimizing the risks parents should teach their kids to stay safe online and should only make contact with people they already know and not reveal personal information about themselves online without a parent’s permission, includes their full name, email address, postal address, phone number, photo, school address etc.In addition, parents should remain in near touch with their children as they explore the internet to keep them safe and one of the most popular solutions is to install safety software on the parents computer so that they can restrict their child’s online activities to approved websites.

History and Background:

"Almost 40 years ago, the US Defense Department first set the stage for the Internet with a network that was called ARPANET. This was a research program that was begun to discover new ways to link different networks together for government and scientific use"[2]. What they hoped to develop was a method of communicating information packets among many computers at the same time. By years this networks get larger with more developed methods and protocols and the networks that resulted became known by the shortened form, the “Internet”.

Now a days, internet is available everywhere and its one of the important things that life cant complete without it makes our life more easier and fast. But in the other hand, everything have the dark side and problems. In this case we are interested in the children and the effect of the internet on them. Children use Internet for many needs such as educational, entertainment and social media needs. Many organizations been published for serving safe internet for children for example: "Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) that been signed into law on December 21, 2000"[3], they use Internet filters and implement other measures to protect children from harmful online content.

Issue selection:

  • Availability of not appropriate material on internet.
  • Contact with Strangers people (who seek to abuse children)
  • Privacy risks from game sites

Availability of not appropriate material on internet:

Firstly, the meaning of "children": are the people under the age of fifteen years old and here we mean by the "Not appropriate materials": is a material which is unsuitable for children generally. From multiple points of view the Internet is similar to a huge library, both have substance to teach and entertain, Furthermore, like the substance in a library, not all Internets content is appropriate for children. Libraries create children’s and youthful adults’ sections in order to help youths and their parents to distinguish which materials are fitting for them. However, on the internet, all of the not appropriate content may be equally accessible for all different ages.


There is a general opinion refers to benefit of government's action of filtering internet of inappropriate material:

“Researchers at the Oxford Internet Institute recognition of the benefits of the control of information on the Internet and Web is certainly feasible, and technological advances do not therefore guarantee greater freedom of speech."(UNESCO,2010)[4]

These some opinions support the previous opinion:

  • “Governments should filter and censor explicit or profane websites, since there is currently very little that prevents children from accessing these sites. ( Efrain)."
  • "Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA): requires that K-12 schools and libraries in the United States use Internet filters and implement other measures to protect children from harmful online content as a condition for federal funding(United States Supreme Court on June 23, 2003)".

Counter arguments:

There is a general opinion advocated for eliminate of government's action of filtering internet of inappropriate material:

"Father of the Internet" Vint Cerf stated that he sees government control of the Internet failing because the Web is almost entirely privately owned (November, 2007)"[4]

These some opinions support the previous opinion:

  • "Human rights denied it is simply a basic human right guaranteed bill of rights to every citizen."
  • "The government should not censor the Internet no matter the content because it infringes upon free speech."


Social Contract Theory:

Action: Government's is filtering the internet of inappropriate content.

Agents: Citizens, governments.

Rights: Free of speech right.

Analysis: is it logically acceptable? No the government can't catch everything on internet, people have the right to free speech, government could block non-pornographic web pages that contain scientific facts just because of using similar words. it's violating one of the rights so,

(The action is wrong.)

Rule Utilitarianism:

Proposed Rule: Every government is filtering the internet of inappropriate content.


  1. Less number of children will be exposed to unwanted or harmful materials.
  2. More parents will be relief if their child's use the internet.


  1. Some of the non-pornographic sites is filtered

Conclusion: The weights of benefits exceed the harms. So the action right.

Our opinion

In this issue we prefer that government establish a filtering to inappropriate material. Because we see this as the right action that could protect many children and childhood around the world.

Contact with Strangers people (who seek to abuse children):

Firstly, the meaning of "Strangers ": is who is neither a friend nor an acquaintance.

Abuse and neglect are forms of maltreatment of a child.

Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused by those known to them or more rarely, by a stranger for example, via the internet. They may be abused by an adult or adults, or another child or children. [3]


This application support contacting children with strangers:

"whatsApp application don’t ask about the age, as Koum said: We designed our system to be as anonymous as possible. We're not advertisement-driven so we don't need personal databases" so they don’t give attention to children that may be abused from strangers [7]

Counter arguments:

Application advocated for eliminate of contacting children with strangers

"many social application in App Store take into account the age of the user , as the apple review guidelines mentions :Apps may ask for date of birth (or use other age-gating mechanisms) only for the purpose of complying with applicable children's privacy statutes, but must include some useful functionality or entertainment value regardless of the user's age" [8]


Kantianism Theory:

1st Formulation:

Action: social applications ask the user about his/her age to protect children from strangers.

Proposed Rule: every social application ask the user about his/her age.

Analysis: is logically acceptable? Yes, parents will feel secure to let their children use internet without being abused. And it's not annoying thing for singles.

(The action is right)

2nd Formulation:

Goal (end): Protecting children from strangers.

Mean: there is no mean to end.

Analysis: as long there is no mean to end.

(The action is right).

Social Contract Theory:

Agents: user, application provider

Rights: asking about the user age doesn't conflict the user privacy as long as it's not asking about real name, ID and another detail information.

(The action is right)

Our opinion: it is Moral for social applications to ask the user about his/her age to protect children from strangers because in the end our first care and matter is to serve a save internet environment that is clean from abusing and neglect children.

Privacy risks from game sites:

Online gaming has attracted lots of children over the past years. People spend allot of time in front of their computers playing their favorite games. Therefore, Privacy considered as one of the most complex legal issues that faceour society, many sites, such as sties that is interested in a gaming and playing games have little interest in actively profiling their users or discovering personal information about them However, these sites will often collect significant amounts of personal data that may trigger liability risks. Moreover, A lot of choices exist in today’s online gaming environment, most allow players to create online identities as game identifier and most of the game sites take the advantage of these information in real world for example selling these personal information in market.


  • "Online Gaming has become a major source of entertainment and revenue generation by inventing a fishing ground for online predators and malicious hackers to gain more illicit profit from targeting the children (Hayes, 2008)."[5]
  • “A survey conducted by Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 1998 supporting that 89% of websites targeted children to collect personal information (Sandwig, 2003)."[5]

Counter arguments:

  • "Children should also be encouraged to interact and discuss with their parents, the various issues they face while accessing internet and especially while giving private information to any personal or organization"[6] and parent should also take the full responsibility of using their children the game sites that require filling personal information.


Kantianism Theory:

1st Formulation:

Action: Games sites sell the chilled personal information to third-party partners.

Proposed Rule: Every online games sties ask children for extensive personal and family information for marketing purposes.

Analysis: is it logically acceptable? No, it's totally not acceptable because these websites are taking the advantage of naivety of children to collect their personal information without their parent permeation, so the action is wrong.

2nd Formulation:

Goal (end): Profiteering from the personal information of the children.

Mean: yes, they use the child naivety as a means to their end which is selling the personal information and take benefit from it.

Social Contract Theory:

Agent: Game site creator- children.

Right: They violated the privacy right which is considered as prudential right, so the action is wrong.

Our opinion:

In this issue is that we consider it as not moral because no one have the right to expose someone personal information or use it in any way.

Summary and Conclusion:

As conclusion, we believe that everything in world has good and bad side but it's also deepened on the way that how people use it or how people can take the maximum advantages form it. When considering potential benefits and harms of children using the internet, the parents will be the most responsible to be on the positive impacts on children’s learning and take the ability and teach their children how to take responsibility and use the internet in way that will return benefit to them.

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Finally, we agree that using the internet can benefit children’s education and social development, but children sometimes will be in risk of exposing to inappropriate material that is hateful, or violent in nature, or encourages activities that are dangerous or illegal, However, can we arrange to have benefits without risks of using children the internet, like we mention above it's all depend on the parents in the first place and how they will going to take the full responsibility their children.


[1] internetsociety . (Feb 8, 2014).Children and the Internet.Available: http://www.internetsociety.org/sites/default/files/bp-childrenandtheinternet-20129017-en.pdf

[2] The kid’s wendo. (Sept 2000) history of the internet. Available: http://www.thekidswindow.co.uk/News/Internet_History.htm

[3] Wikipedia . (Paris, 2011). Children's Internet Protection Act.Available: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Children's_Internet_Protection_Act

[4] Wikipedia . (Jaeger, 2009).Internet censorship.Available: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_censorship#cite_note-UNESCO-2011-3

[5] North Yorkshire Safeguarding Children Board (May, 2014).What is child abuse.Available: http://www.safeguardingchildren.co.uk/section-1.html

[6] UKessays. (April, 2012).Children On The Internet Media Essay. Available: http://www.ukessays.com/essays/media/children-on-the-internet-media-essay.php

[7] Epic (Federal Trade Commission March 6, 2014) In the Matter of WhatsApp, Inc. .Available: https://epic.org/privacy/ftc/whatsapp/WhatsApp-Complaint.pdf

[8] Apple . (April, 2014). Available: https://developer.apple.com/app-store/review/


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