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A warning for all parents

The cyberspace world of communication has engulfed societies around the world, and many young people have fallen prey to devious criminals, who entice the vulnerable to engage in inappropriate activity, after first giving them the impression that friendship is their only objective.

In Britain, and indeed many countries large and small, many young people have resorted to suicide rather than submit to a type blackmail by perpetrators, who threaten victims with exposure, after they obtain material to quench their demented instincts. It is a growing problem that law enforcement agencies worldwide are battling on a daily basis.

A young boy of 17 in Britain, thought he was linking up with a girl of the same age via the webcam system, and after sending pictures of himself he thought would be private, he was shocked to be informed that his parents would receive a copy of the material, if he failed to comply with further request. He had fallen victim to a sexual pervert preying on innocent children. Tragically instead of reporting the matter, he elected to end his life by leaping off a bridge.

Although these incidents don't make headlines every day, for those working around the clock to nab perpetrators, it is an ongoing threat that continues to destroy lives before they are able to make a contribution to society. A new type of bullying via cyberspace, has also led to some children feeling trapped to a point where sadly some have taken their lives with shocked parents unaware of what was going on before it was too late.

This is a deeply disturbing subject, because unlike the old days, the community network where the village was involved, hardly exist today, and in the maze of electronic gadgetry for roping the vulnerable into all types of schemes, it is almost a free-for-all with new victims on a daily basis.

However not only children are targeted by people with evil intent. Many unsuspecting seniors have lost all their hard earned savings in many countries, through being persuading that if they invest in a certain project, their earnings would be doubled. Police are constantly warning seniors to question any offer that seems to good to be true. It usually turns out to be just that.

The world seems to have evolved into a mad house of communication gadgets, and no matter where you turn, you can spot someone with their head buried into something the size of a biscuit, with fingers taping away at whatever.

There is a positive side to all of this new technology, because it has helped in exposing wrongdoing — where in the past, a lack evidence has made bringing people to justice more complex. However parents no matter how busy they are these days, must watch very closely how their children communicate via cyber space, and what in fact they are communicating about.

This a dark area where damage can be done by the slightest opening of the wrong door. Although most of us are aware of the saying all that glitters ... there is still the temptation respond to what appears to be a genuine offer, from someone skilled in persuasion that the pot of gold is there for the taking.

Never before has there been a time when parents need to be very much involved in every aspect of their child's development, and that includes their education. At no time should parents be made to feel sidelined by any new educational process, because a full education involves the home and the school.

If these two are not working together, they will be working against each other. That would be counter productive for building well rounded citizens. The challenge is blending textbooks with good values, that could be passed on to future generations.

This was highlighted recently at the 90th birthday party of one our wonderful seniors. It was gratifying to listen to seniors talk about the closeness and togetherness, that so much of our elders believed in during times when the technology available today was not even thought of.

They lamented how so much of that Bermudian quality seems to have faded. One speaker said it would be good if our young people today knew more about that period of Bermudian life, and how values such as discipline and respect were essential on a daily basis.

We all know the clock cannot be turned back, but we do have examples to draw on, as we try to move forward in a different world where raising a child in the midst of a kaleidoscope of distractions never seen before, is no easy task. This is why parents today cannot take their eye off the ball for a moment. In such a tight economy the demand is great, but that is no excuse to throw the towel in.

If parents fail to heed warnings that place their child at risk, they would have only themselves to blame should things go wrong. Closer attention would be a good first step.

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Published September 24, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated September 23, 2013 at 7:44 pm)

A warning for all parents

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