Our Opinion: Surfing prudence

Monday, April 17, 2006

Surfing prudence

One of the negative sides of the Internet is the booming market in pornography. Not only are there thousands of Web sites that offer the vilest content imaginable, there are millions of online surfers willing to use their credit cards for instant access -- a supply-demand situation that only fuels the growth of this dark industry.

There are few rules that govern the Internet's operation. However, it is illegal to promote or participate in child pornography. More and more arrests are being made of adults who use the Internet for sexual adventures with underage children. A highly publicized case last week involved the arrest of a federal official in the Department of Homeland Security.

The effort to catch offenders involved in sexual misconduct with children is laudable. But the prevalence of this type of activity is a clear warning to parents of children who have access to online computers.

Children who have computers in their own rooms where they can surf without parental oversight are most at risk for potential encounters with men who have the ugliest objectives.

Parents who won't allow their children to play in busy streets or hang around known drug dealers and make sure they have all their childhood immunizations to protect their health should be as equally concerned about what their children are doing on the Internet. Such caution is simple parental prudence.