The Internet is a perfect scapegoat, if you stop to think about it. You can blame the Internet for numerous things, including murder techniques, enabling addictions (Internet and gambling), and youth crime. To be fair, if we didn't have the Internet, people wouldn't have ready access to tons of information that could be used for harm and malice. Sure, they could still get the information from somewhere else, like the library or a mail order catalog, but it would take them longer and more effort, which might deter some people from following through with their plans. For example, in the heat of the moment, it's quick and easy to Google plans for destruction, but in four to six weeks (the average time for a catalog to arrive to your mailing address) you may have forgotten what you were so upset about in the first place.
Still, we live in a society that likes to point fingers and place blame, and the Internet will continue to be a prime target. Most recently, China is blaming the Internet for the rise in teen pregnancies (News.com).
Nearly half of the pregnant teens in China's financial hub, Shanghai, met their partners on the Internet, state media said on Tuesday. Zhang Zhengrong, a doctor who oversees the city's first-aid hotline for pregnant teens, said 46 percent of the more than 20,000 teenage girls who called the hotline over the past two years said they had had sex with boys they met on the Internet.
Personally, I think that the parents of these pregnant girls are the ones who are responsible (or should I say irresponsible). Do you blame the Internet?
Sonja Thompson started at TechRepublic in October 1999. She is a former Senior Editor at TechRepublic.