Slashdot submitter Kdawson has good news: " A high-profile task force representing 49 state attorneys general was organized to find a solution to the problem of online sexual solicitation. But instead the panel has issued a report (due to be released tomorrow) claiming that 'Social networks are very much like real-world communities that are comprised mostly of good people who are there for the right reasons.' The report concluded that 'the problem of child-on-child bullying, both online and offline, poses a far more serious challenge than the sexual solicitation of minors by adults.'"
Well, good news if you're worried about sexual predation on kids. Not so good if you're worried about bullying. But of course, now that we know that kids are more threatened by the (less-sexy, less-mediagenic) scourge of bullying than the (incredibly scary, totally mediagenic) risk of sexual predation, we'll divert funds and resources to the real risk, right?
The 278-page report, released Tuesday, was the result of a year of meetings between dozens of academics, experts in childhood safety and executives of 30 companies, including Yahoo, AOL, MySpace and Facebook.
The task force, led by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, looked at scientific data on online sexual predators and found that children and teenagers were unlikely to be propositioned by adults online. In the cases that do exist, the report said, teenagers are typically willing participants and are already at risk because of poor home environments, substance abuse or other problems.