Parents of teens traversing the Internet in the pursuit of homework help and also social networking know that things are not safe but quite frequently they do not realize just how bad things have gotten. The statistics of online predators are alarming and the Crimes against Children Research Center reports that of children who are online for any reason, about one quarter have at some time been exposed to pornography, even though it was not something for which they searched.
Statistics of online predators also reveal that those Internet savvy teens that spend a good chunk of time online networking socially or simply participating in online discussions will be subjected to unwanted sexual advances. It has been estimated that about one in five of such teens was exposed to this kind of solicitation which ranged from requests to meet for sex over sex laced talk to requests to divulge personal information with sexual connotations.
Of course, the most sobering statistic comes from eMarketer which shows that more than three quarters of children thus solicited are willing to part with personally identifiable information and therefore pose a serious risk to themselves and their families. In its statistics of online predators, the website suggests teens were willing to throw caution to the wind simply because they were offered merchandise or free goods or services if they would divulge such information. Although parents routinely warn their children against such behavior, it appears that free t-shirts and other goodies have the power to trump any such admonitions.