Virginia became the first state to make Internet safety classes compulsory for public schools. These classes will be for all safety levels and represents one of several measures to protect young Web users.
Understandably, this mandate came amid concerns that children are a vector for online sex offenders. This comes against a backdrop of increased Internet-related crime.
In a recent presentation at a suburban Richmond high school, Virginia assistant attorney general Gene Fishel flashed an online social-networking profile a 15-year-old who says she enjoys being around boys and wants to meet new people. The real profile user turned out to be a 31-year-old man convicted of sexually abusing 11 children he met online and sentenced to a 45-year prison term.Other states such as Texas and Illinois have also passed laws pertaining to Internet safety education. Unlike Virginia, however, the classes are not mandatory The feeling is that such efforts are long overdue as the paradigm shift that is the Internet has enabled criminals to reach more victims — and faster, than before.
Do you think that all states should quickly implement such classes? Or should instructions on Internet safety best be left to parents?
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Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.