back to article Miss America calls for mandatory internet safety classes

The current Miss America has asked Congress to take further steps in protecting children from internet predators. Lauren Nelson, who received her country's highest honor for looking classy in a swimsuit, told the Senate Commerce Committee that internet safety classes should be mandatory for school children. "We don't allow our …


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  1. Chad H.


    I know theres going to be a whole lot of comments riddiculing this, but I honestly think its a good idea...

    I mean we do need to teach young people how to be safe online, unfortunatley they seem to think that the old adage of "dont talk to strangers" that is hammered into three year olds doesnt apply online.

    And sadly far too many Parents dont seem to have the smarts or the knowledge to have that particular chat, or actualy watch their kid online.

    Of course, if we could just expand that into computer drivers licenses (what? no license, no internet), that would make life on the helldesk a heck of a lot easier.

  2. Scottie Taylor

    @Chad H.

    I don't think it's so much that parent's are properly knowledgeable to teach their children, though that is part of it, so much as they just don't care. If we can all recall the protests against violence on TV and video games because they corrupt the kiddies, then we can rationalize what has to be done to solve this problem.

    The problem in itself isn't the people on the internet. The 'net is worldwide and can't be controlled by a government. Nor should a government try to force its citizens into mandatory training just to surf the web. The ultimate responsibility for teaching a child right from wrong, good from bad, and how to behave in a situation is, and I know everyone is going to hate this answer, that of the parents. Yes, that's right. It's the parents problem and the parents should be the ones dealing with it, not congress.

    That's the reason why we have so many problems now. TV, video games, the internet, have all become babysitters for kids and parents no longer care about what they teach their youngsters.

    Waaa, my child got abused and raped because of Myspace. No, your child got abused and raped because you were an irresponsible adult and didn't bother to check up on them. Don't let a web site be a babysitter.

    It really is that simple folks. There doesn't need to be any formalized training for this, there doesn't need to be some sort of class with a PhD holding educator trying to teach this. There needs to be some common sense and parenting, that's all. And in response to anyone who wishes to point out the parents who work 2 or 3 jobs for 90 hours a week just to make ends meet, maybe you should give them a library card instead of a modem. Tell them to entertain themselves with reading instead of and myspace. In the end it all comes down to parental responsibility.

  3. Simon

    Parental guidance

    This is what parents do, it is not down to anyone else to raise children.

    I know in the USSA* at the moment the current publicity stunt is to "think of the children" but will someone, please, motivate the parents?

    Before long parents will turn round and say I don't legally have to wash my children... becoming a parent is about responsibility, for you and your children.

    * No, that's not a typo!

  4. Tim

    Not a childs fault it has crap parents

    Yes this is the responsibility of the parents, but if some parents are failing their children and do not care should not society do something to help these children or do we just condemn them through no fault of their own they have crap parents?

  5. Scott Silver badge


    These stories, although true, are very overblown and only published because neither the government or the media really approves of the internet.

    The government etc does not approve of it because it is used by people who think differently from how we are supposed to. This includes right wingers, left wingers, atheists, hippies weirdos and Linux users. All of these are not following the official line and must be stopped.

    The media does not approve of the internet because we use it to learn and communicate without their say so. We get our news from elsewhere and buy fewer newspapers. We use it to have fun in other ways than sitting on couches consuming their ready made entertainment.

    It is in the interests of the state and the media to remind us how the internet has criminals, paedos, terrorists and pirates all over the place. It might encourage some people to think what they are supposed to and only read from "official" sources.

  6. pondscum


    what are her tits like?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why you need to monitor

    We trusted one of our kids, having told her over about the dangers inherent on the internet and the level of responsibility she needed to show.

    Well, that worked out well when I got a phone call from from some guy half way around the world who was in his mid 20s. She was 13 at the time. We were lucky he WAS on the other side of the planet I'm guessing given the way he started the call (the girl didn't realise I was home).

    After that, I put monitoring software on the PCs and told both kids it was there; and that I wanted them to be serious about their, our and their friends safety.

    There were a few incidents that came to light as a result of that afterwards so honestly, no matter how hard you try to keep them safe, the only way I found is to get that 'tough'.

    I know that will get some naysayers negative crap about invading privacy but honestly; which is more important? Your kids privacy or their life and wellbeing?

  8. the Jim bloke Silver badge

    Dont get distracted by the victims

    Sure kids should be educated better (blindingly obvious statement), and yes, parents need to take some responsibility and do their goddam jobs (raising future human beings - not bringing home paychecks)

    But dont let that get in the way of nailing paedophiles to a wall upside down underneath a sewerage outfall.

    Bring back crucifixion, if its good enough for Jesus Christ, its good enough for them.

  9. Rick Damiani


    Sounds more like parents being parental. Amazing how well that can work, eh?

  10. jack schitt


    This story is full of all kinds of malarckey and tom foolery.

    First off, lets start with "internet safety classes." This is ridiculous. There is absolutely no training that can prepare somebody for chat rooms. Or wait, there is. It's called up-bringing. How a child is raised. To Tim, if a child has "crap parents", talking to a scum bag on the internet is probably the least of their troubles. What needs to happen is, parents need to stop letting their children run wild and put some discipline down. What the hell are children doing in a chat room anyways? Theres no viable reason for it, except that parents don't care. Classes taught to children won't solve that problem.

    Second, lets talk about these "internet stings" where people lure "predators" into what basically amounts to out-right entrapment. Most males, if out on the street and hit on by any sort of attractive girl/woman in an overtly sexual way - then invited back to a place to have sex - would indeed take that opportunity. If they are shown pictures of shapeless boards with braces and baby fat faces - then yes they are probably pedo.

    case and point,

    the other day I'm watching a popular TV show, cant quite remember the name...

    anyway teen 'superstar' Hillary Duff comes on to do her performance, AND SHES DAMN NEAR NAKED. what clothes she does have on isn't exactly prude material either. She dances suggestively, while singing a suggestive song, with background dancers dancing "suggesting." And this is nothing new. It's been going on for as long as entertainment has been around. It is in no way un-natural for the male population to be attracted to well shaped female members of the population, regardless of age.

    link :

    so ya, america needs to start rethinking policies in general, this isnt even close to the same country it was 50 years ago in terms of freedom. Not that I was alive then, but the point remains.

  11. Marco

    Re: Why you need to monitor

    "After that, I put monitoring software on the PCs and told both kids it was there; and that I wanted them to be serious about their, our and their friends safety."

    Yeah, show your children how much you trust them and how much you believe they are reasonable individuals. That's the way to go.

  12. Jach

    A solution...

    Get rid of all of this "user-friendly" junk, and force every computer to run in a Linux shell. No pretty graphics, makes web designing a lot easier, and hopefully only people with more than half a brain will use them. Somehow making a kid give up all their info? I'd like to learn from those people on their methods, and see if it really works...

    Or, since the politicians will never pass a bill that gets rid of their easily accessible porn, get rid of all 'networking' sites and let people find each other on fora or in the neighborhood.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nice one!

    I totally agree with "Why you need to monitor". I'm sorry but you are usually about 21 by the time you have got any sense, then about 31 by the time you start to use it!

    If you tell kids over and over they can't do something, even explain it, they will still try it. It's all about pushing your boundaries to see how far they'll go. Unfortunately the scum that are allowed to walk the streets will happily take advantage of that curiosity that we nurture in a our kids and abuse it and them.

    I hear all this about kids having TV's DVD's and PCs in their rooms by the age of 5?! Techno-babysitting by proxy! You tell your kids they can't have it, so they find someone else whose parents don't care as much and go around to their house to get unrestricted access. I hate the idea of a nanny state, but sadly there are too many useless parents out there spoiling it for the majority of good, honest caring ones, that it means someone has to step in take control, sadly that has to be the government.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A bit sus...

    "...After winning the prestigious pageant crown, Nelson joined a sting operation conducted by America's Most Wanted. She posed as a 14-year-old girl inside internet chat rooms and waited to be propositioned. Nelson managed to lure eleven alleged would-be pedophiles to show up in person. they were all arrested..."

    Isn't that entrapment? In fact, isn't it also grooming, just the other way round?

    What does "waited to be propositioned" actually mean? (started a conversation, suggested they meet up or asked for sex?) Were they charged? Were there any convictions?

  15. Barry

    I recall being taught the safe-cross code at school...

    how is this any different? Yes, parents have primary responsibility but the message is more likely to get through if it is consistently "drummed in" at school and at home. I am sure schools could make the learning more fun in groups too.

  16. Rob


    Good for her for actually trying to do something about it. I've never been a particular fan of honey trapping people on the internet as things can often go badly wrong, but I do admire some of the agents and people who have to go undercover to do those sort of jobs. They must see and hear things that make most normal people cry.

    If she was able to help and put herself through some of that, then maybe she's a stronger person than we often give these airheads credit for.

  17. Robert Long

    Omnipresent Parents

    I have to say that I'm impressed by the number of people here who accompany their children all day every day and don't allow schools to interfere with their education nor allow them to spend any time with their peers without constant monitoring by adults who share the parents' values.

    And, of course, children would never, ever do something that they've been clearly warned about. I mean, who's ever seen a child smoking? Or watching a DVD at a friends's house that was too high an age category for them? Such behaviour would be madness!

    Also, I'm not sure they crucified Jesus for being a paedophile.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Parental guidance...?

    As if parental guidance would be any help against sexual abuse. Most sexual abuse of children are committed by persons in the close family. Most rapes are committed by persons known by the victim beforehand, and a scarily high percentage are part of the same household. So exactly what is the effect we're trying to get here...?

  19. Dave

    Big Father...

    Sort of like big Brother, but watching every move your kids make on the internet. At some point I'll be putting some logging on my firewall to see what my son is up to. At the moment he's too young to drive a web browser (being able to read helps), and his PC is in the lounge where we can all see it, but I fully intend to give him the talk about safety, tell him I'll know if he screws up and see how long it takes. Given the number of times he's already forgotten this week that I've told him not to chase the cats, I'll probably need a new, large hard disk for the firewall log.

  20. Rob


    "Yeah, show your children how much you trust them and how much you believe they are reasonable individuals. That's the way to go."

    Well made example, that's exactly the attitude everyone is talking about. Why parents think that children should have every right an adult has at the age of 11 is beyond me. Loco Parentis is in effect until the age of 18 in the UK, so obviously the law still thinks that they are children/young persons/people (insert any other PC term that will not offend a young'un), why don't the parents.

    Don't bother with classes on safe web surfing, try parenting lessons and a licence to have a child in the first place (oh yeah damn, apparently it's a human right to create a life and then not give a monkeys about as it grows/develops into an adult).

  21. Mathieu

    Receiving dirty pictures

    "When she was 13 years old, she and a friend were approached by a stranger on an internet chat room. The mystery chatter somehow compelled Nelson — who would go on to get a master's degree in musical theater — to divulge her name, age, gender and home address, as well as that of her friend's.

    A few days later, the stranger sent her dirty photos."

    What's new? Back when I was 13 years old, youngsters sent their addresses (and those of their friends) to a "stranger" in order to receive "dirty" pictures (lingerie catalogues, for example).

    Don't tell your kids the world is an awful place, from which they need to protected at all costs. Nurture them, and make them "world-savvy" instead of fearful and stupid.

  22. Silentmaster101


    what was a 13 year old doing in a bloody chatroom anyhow? where were miss america's parents? if they were beeter parents they wouldnt have let her in a chatroom and we wouldnt be forced to listen to her stupid ranting now, which all-in-all is a good tradeoff in my book.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At the tender age of 13...

    I met strangers off the internet. In real life. In their houses!

    Not one tried to touch my bum. I gave my address out to some. One sent me a Voodoo 2!

    Admittedly this was through the quake 2 scene so perhaps the demographic was different but even then i knew only weirdos went to yahoo chat.

    Crap parents? Discipline? Boundaries? Monitoring software? Try not having thick-cunt kids.

    "Most sexual abuse of children are committed by persons in the close family. Most rapes are committed by persons known by the victim beforehand, and a scarily high percentage are part of the same household. So exactly what is the effect we're trying to get here...?"

    Far easier to invent Al-Quaepeda than worry about 'Uncle' Tony.

    "Also, I'm not sure they crucified Jesus for being a paedophile. "

    Nice to see some grammar-stickler wit.

  24. This post has been deleted by its author

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward



  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I think we need to have some better laws and policing of the Internet.

    I think All Internet Service Providers (ISP) should be required to offer a filtering service to all their customers upon request. This should be the minimum that can be expected from an ISP. I think more customers should start filing law suits against Internet Service Providers. This goes for virus in your E-Mail and mass mailed E-mail with no valid return address, which is suppose to be illegal in the USA.

    A lot of these ISP's just let everything through and then claim no responsibility for content. If a User can be put in Jail for looking at bad content, then the ISP owner should go to jail also. They are Accessories to criminal activities and they know it. If you make money off of your customers looking at porn then you are just as guilty as they are (Almost)(Well maybe a little guilty). The idea being there is some blame for the ISP to go around. The US Governemnt requires filtering software at all Libraries and schools already.

    You would think Microsoft would be making a product for parents or something like that for free or at least at a reduced price as a public service, them being an evil monopoly and all.

  27. Matt W

    Ignorance is more the issue

    Most kids really do have a better grasp of the functionalities of the family PC than their parents. (This readership is an eception, but is not representative of the general public).

    I have been to many parents houses where their kids have full untrammelled access to a connected PC, often in their bedroom, simply because their parents don't have a clue. I have seen 13 yr old girls on two or three social sites, IM, email, IRC etc simultaneously, whilst broadcasting from their webcam to whomever. The parents just brusjed it all off as 'kids stuff' that they really didn't undertsand. Partly I think from being too proud to admit their ignorance.

    I agree with the parent post - I think that there is a real market out there to educate the <i><b>parents</b></i> on how to keep your kids safe. As far as I can see most of them don't have a clue.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Here's a pic..

    Just 20 and already looking like she's on her fourth facelift

  29. Graham Marsden


    To the anonymous poster above:

    Yes, ISPs should offer filtering services, but that's it.

    > A lot of these ISP's just let everything through and then claim no responsibility for content.

    If you drive down a road and abduct a child off the pavement, who is responsible? The people who built the road? No? Then *why* should an ISP be responsible for monitoring all the sites everyone visits and, somehow (gods alone know how) block any "unacceptable" content?

  30. Dillon Pyron


    "We don't allow our children to ride their bikes without first teaching them about proper safety"

    Yes, but that's the parents who supposedly do that, not the government.

    Entrapment? It depends on who says "let's meet in RL".

    I know a Texas Ranger who's "Missy, a 16 year old blond cheerleader"

  31. Daniel Ballado-Torres

    re: Filtering

    "A lot of these ISP's just let everything through and then claim no responsibility for content."

    You obviously don't know how the Internet works, do you? ISP's only route information, they see IP addresses. Plus, with virtual webhosting, one IP might turn up to be a lot of sites, like say ... might be, but also be host to, say,; banning would lock out but also ban El Reg in this example.

    No. Want filtering? There's a load of software for that, though I advocate the use of mandatory proxies, they're harder to overcome. I set up squid at my mom's house, blocked away ad sites and lots of pr0n. My 16 y/o sister's buddies found that out very quickly ;)

    As a plus, that pesky Hotbar spyware is now unable to phone home, and my mom's dialup is one hell of a lot better. Totally worth it...

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Uncle Bill

    We had also better warn the young ones about uncle Bill after a few drinks watching the tele....

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