NEWS

Danger in the home

Vigilance is needed to protect children from the hazards of the Internet, warns the Greek consumer organization EKATO, which is promoting a campaign for safe surfing on the Internet in Greece. EKATO cites statistics drawn from a European Commission survey: – Half the children who use the Internet surf it unsupervised, and 86 percent of those questioned said that someone they got to know through the Internet has asked to meet them. – One in five minors has received sexual approaches or inducements via the Internet. – One in 33 minors has received an aggressive sexual approach where a pedophile has asked to meet them somewhere, has telephoned them or sent them a letter, money or gifts to induce them to meet. – One in four minors has been exposed without their consent to photos of naked bodies or sexual activities. – About 25 percent of minors who received sexual approaches or harassment informed their parents; and 40 percent of those exposed to undesired Web content told their parents. – Only 17 percent of minors and 11 percent of parents know at least one organization to which they can report such incidents. – One third of parents who have a computer at home have installed some kind of protective filter to keep out offensive material. As Tanya Kyriakidi from EKATO explained, the electronic revolution has brought pornography and other dangers into our homes. Information at the European Awareness Network, in which 14 countries including Greece participate, says pedophiles have easy access to children through the Internet as it offers them anonymity and allows them to assume other identities. However, despite the growth in their number, pornographic websites represent no more than 2 percent of the total number of webpages on the Internet. But they receive a disproportionate number of hits, and 16 percent of those who visit them are minors.