Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Cox Commuincations Report on Child Predators with John Walsh

I read with interest the article in USA Today last week talking about how this whole issue of child predators on the internet is not as bad as is claimed.

The very first question asked by our staff at MAX is "Who paid for this?".

It is pure hogwash.

The article goes to state statistics from a study done in early 2005. They quoted numbers from MySpace at that time. They used a statistical family of children aged 10-17.

Let's speak frankly.

The study is 18 months old. At that time, MySpace had at best 3-4 million people online. Today that number is over 100 million and growing at the rate of 1000's per day. Therefore, the data is outdated and does not apply.

Second the age group is off. There is solid evidence that the activity of peer to peer networking does not start in earnest until a child is about 12 and grows rapidly as the child ages. This makes sense. Our children become socially active about the time of puberty. So their online social networking would only naturally correspond to their own physical development process. However, this survey used an audience of 10 and 11 year olds. These young kids are not socially active to the degree as their teenage counterparts. To use data from this age group skews the data. Therefore, the data is irrelevant to our understanding.

Finally, why is MySpace specifically mentioned in the USA Today article. I am not so ignorant to understand that a lot of focus is on MySpace as a conduit for child predators. But their are other conduits as well. Why isn't MSN Messenger or AIM mentioned? I must believe this is a paid PR to try to convince the unknowing that MySpace is being unjustly ridiculed. There is much good that can be found in MySpace and I am impressed that Mr. Murdoch has created such a social networking environment on the internet. But IT IS a conduit for predators and pornographers to reach our children. I would hope that the powers to be at MySpace would be proactive and take a public stand against predators and pornographers using there service.

While looking at this article, I located a press release regarding research conducted by Cox Communications and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. We, at MAX, believe the data in this research better describes the problem.

Taken from this press release:

Key findings:
Teen Internet use and attitudes about safety present potential risks, but they also reveal
opportunities for education and highlight a critical role for watchful parents and guardians:
Teens continue to be active online but some still engage in risky behavior:

• Teens have established a significant presence on social networking web sites:
o 61% of 13- to 17-year-olds have a personal profile on sites such as MySpace,
Friendster, or Xanga. Half have posted pictures of themselves online.
o Older teens (16- to 17-year-olds) and girls represent the majority of youths who use
the Internet for social interaction, meeting friends, and networking.

• However, many have also been exposed to the accompanying potential risks.
o 14% have actually met face-to-face with a person they had known only through the
Internet (9% of 13- to 15-year-olds and 22% of 16- to 17-year-olds).
o 30% have considered meeting someone they’ve only communicated with online.
o 71% reported receiving messages online from someone they don’t know.
o 45% have been asked for personal information by someone they don’t know.

• When teens receive messages online from someone they don’t know, 40% usually reply to
and chat with that person.
o Only 18% said they tell a parent or guardian that they received a message from
someone they don’t know.
Many teens consider their online behavior to be safe

• One out of five teens reported that it is safe (i.e. “somewhat” or “very safe”) to share
personal information on a public blog or networking site.

• As well, 37% of 13- to 17-year-olds said they’re “not very concerned” or “not at all
concerned” about someone using personal information they’ve posted online in ways they
haven’t approved.

Parents and guardians can impact their teen’s online experience through
communication:

• 33% of 13- to 17-year-olds reported that their parents or guardians know “very little” or
“nothing” about what they do on the Internet.
o 48% of 16- to 17-year-olds said their parents or guardians know “very little” or
“nothing” about their online activities.

• Fully 22% of those surveyed reported their parents or guardians have never discussed
Internet safety with them.

• On the other hand, 36% of youth—girls and younger teens, most notably—said their parents
or guardians have talked to them “a lot” about online safety, and 70% said their parents or
guardians have discussed the subject with them during the past year.

• Fewer teens whose parents and guardians have talked to them “a lot” about online safety
have an instant messaging (IM) name or pictures of themselves on the Internet, compared
to kids whose parents or guardians haven’t talked to them at all. More teens who’ve talked
to parents or guardians ignore messages from unfamiliar people, refuse to reply or chat,
block unknown senders, and report these occurrences to trusted adults.
The national teen Internet survey was funded by Cox Communications in partnership with
NCMEC and was conducted among 1,160 teens age 13 to 17 during March 2006. The research
was conducted by Teen Research Unlimited (TRU).

Your thoughts please ?

Life example from another blog

I was visiting other blogs today and came across this life example I wanted to share.

http://thenotvguy.blogstream.com/v1/pid/112405_NEED-TO-READ-A-IMPORTANT-MESSAGE-RECEIVED-BY-ME.html#TP

Children want to be friendly. And I must admit given all the publicity lately about predators, particularly on Dateline, that there is some awareness about the problem

Yet, despite growing awareness the problem is growing.

Read the link. Fortunate for this child the predator was a police officer in disquise but maybe the next one will not be so lucky.

Dave

Monday, August 14, 2006

Videos: Presentations about Predators and Pornography

Folks - Our website at MAX.com holds a video library of various presentations done by our founders. They give all of us great insight into the problem of internet child (sexual) predators and internet pornography.

To learn more about this problem, I highly encourage you to view this library and share with your friends and family.

http://www.max.com/site/maxprotect.video.shtml

In the library you will find videos of:

1. Chuck Norris and Patricia Keaton talking about the problems of peer-to-peer file sharing. Mr. Norris is one of our shareholders and a public strong advocate in the fight against internet pornography and child predators. I believe you be startled with the some of the information he shares.

2. Michael Landon, Jr talks about the dangers of the media and internet to a pastor's conference. You will not find a more passionate person in the cause to fight child predators and online pornography. Mr. Landon is also one of our shareholders and strong public advocate.

3. Steven K. Scott speaks about internet child predators and pornography at a Women's conference. Mr. Scott will share statistics and insight into the problem with great passion. Mr. Scott is one of our founders and shareholders. To learn more about Mr. Scott please see his personal website www.stevenkscott.com

4. A Dateline special on child or sexual predators

5. Gary Smalley, a well know author and speak on family values, speaks to the effects of pornography and child predators on the family

6. And many testimonials from concerned parents


Dave

Sunday, August 13, 2006

How internet pornography has affected my home.

As I have stated, I am a family man - married for 27 years now. I have two sons. My oldest, by my namesake, is in graduate school in Georgia. Last year he married his sweetheart which finally gave me the daughter I have always wanted. What a blessing she is to the family.

My youngest is 19 years old. He presently is incarcerated in Tennessee for crimes he committed while under the influence of narcotics. He will probably not be released for 6-8 years. Our family is awaiting his sentencing right now. Fortunately, no one was hurt in his crimes. We are also blessed that while incarcerated he has a roof over his head, three square meals and protected from the influences that put him there.

So how did he get in this position. Believe me, it happened right under my nose and I did not even know until it was too late. So when parents or other adults tell me that they know what their children are doing, I have a hard time believing it.

At the age of 12, my youngest and some friends were able to use a credit card and purchase access to some online pornography. I caught this for my email accounts were quickly inundated with pornographic solicitations. I installed parental controls and monitored all of my son's activity on the internet. I would do conduct history searches and logs to track his movements but nothing was found.

What I did not know was that my son had learned to circumvent the parental controls and monitoring activities by using the chatrooms. In these places, he could talk to anyone he wanted and download anything he wanted without any trace on the computer for me to check. I learned much too late that he would stay up late into the night viewing pornographic material. Like so many young men that going thru the stage where hormones are wrecking havoc on them, the pornographic material was enticing and provided pleasurable experiences.

I learned later that soon the pornographic material was not enough. We believe he became sexually active at 15. His brain simply needed more stimulus. We know that by 15 he was also starting to use drugs to get that higher "high". His drug of choice - coricidan. Yes, the over-the-counter cough medicine. There are actually websites that teach kids how to use coricidan to get LSD type "highs". He started smoking and drinking by 16.

During his junior year, we caught him on a coricidan high. We called in the child protection services which helped us have him admitted to an area mental hospital to clean him up. That was one of the hardest things I have ever done - having my son arrested. He stayed there for 6 weeks and then transferred to a drug rehab school to complete his junior year. During his stays we learned that he was trying most any drug he could get to achieve the level of "highs" he needed.

He was clean the summer between his junior year and senior year, or so we thought. By November of his senior year in school, he was expelled for coming to school under the influence of a drug. It was coricidan again. So he completed his senior year at the county special school for drug offenders.

Imagine this. Despite all of this activity to get high, my son maintained a 4.0 average in 9th and 10th grade and graduated with a 3.3 grade point average. He is not a stupid kid - he was addicted to the high that pornography gave him and he sought it wherever and however he could get it.

He left home to attend a trade school last year. He maintained perfect 4.0 grades for about 2 months and then his attendance started slipping. He claimed it was because we required him to have a job also so he would not have too much free time. It turned out that he was back into the drug and party scene. One month after his 19th birthday he dropped out of school and moved back to Tennessee where he grew up. He immediately moved in with some old party friends. We learned later that he was essentially living on cocaine. He was not eating or sleeping. The house of young men would sit around at night, high as a kite, and determine what they would do the next day to get the money to buy there next fix. This led to the crimes my son is now in prison for. In a sense we are thankful he is there.

I am told by Dr. Amen of the Amen Institute that boy's brains develop until age 25. The dopamine (pleasure causing chemical in our brains) disrupts the brains ability to make conscient and sound choices. Obviously, my son was not making proper choices. His brain had been high-jacked ever since the first pornographic pictures were shown to him

And all of this happend right under my nose. Understand this. I was raised in a military family and carry myself with the honor, dignity and honesty that the military establishes in people. I am a deacon in my church and actively teach the words of my Lord Jesus Christ. I am an established businessman of my community and nationally. I hold the 20 year pen for working with the Boy Scouts and personally assisted over 40 young men obtaining their Eagle rank including both of my sons. Yes, I believe fervently in the sanctity of family and marriage.

AND YET, this still happened in MY HOME!!!. I am outraged and I am not taking it anymore. I will work to recover my son. And I will work to save any child I can. None of our children should ever be faced with this. We have the tools to stop it. That is why I now work with MAX.com. We are going to make a difference and need your help.

Dave

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The fight against predators and pornographers

Hello - Welcome to MAX.com's blog which I hope to be a growing audience of concerned parents and individuals that are simply fed up with the attack on our families by online predators and internet pornography traffickers.

I would like to see comments about our products and their usages by individuals.

I would like to hear about activities in your neighborhoods, cities and states that is combating this activities. We need to give every concerned and working individual a big "THANK YOU". I hope the exposure of this blog will just be a small part of everyone's appreciation.

However, we as parents, need to be more proactive. The problem is absolutely staggering:

Over 87% of all 12-17 year olds are using the internet and participating in online chat rooms where the predators can easily reach them.

Despite an over 60% increase in parental controls and so-called filtering softwares during the last 5 years, online predator activity and internet pornography has still grown over 40%. Many parents believe that they are protected because they have parental controls. Let me WARN YOU. Parental controls simply DO NOT work.

One in five of our children has talked or is in an online converstion with a sexual predator. I am seeing reports that this number may be approaching one in 3. Over half of our kids state they have experienced aggressive sexual predator conversations. And this is despite parental controls.

I can go on and on. Yes, we have a problem and I am not sitting down any longer.

Who am I? Actually, I am a very concerned parent that has recently accepted the position as the General Manager of MAX.com. MAX.com is devoted to developing solutions to protect our families agaist these predators and pornographers. In subsequent posts, I will provide more information on myself and the problem. I welcome your feedback and your assistance in combating this problem

Dave