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Monitoring Children and the Internet

Updated on August 17, 2011

Recently I sat on the sidelines as it were and watched a debate rage in an online group I belong to.

This group a local Buy, Swop and Sell with more than fourteen hundred members is usually a pleasant place to visit. It is overseen by a more than competent administrator, and appears to flow smoothly.

So what changed?

Someone listed an article for sale, and then relisted the same article twice more, both additional times with a higher price, e.g. $60, $65, $70.

A query was made as to why the price was progressively going up with each listing, from someone who was interested in purchasing the item.

Then the debate began and a number of facts came to the surface.

It appeared that the ‘child’ selling the goods is eleven, yes Eleven years old. It then came to light that this same ‘child’ had either sold goods previously or had them sold by people wanting to help her and then reneged on the sale later when the buyer has gone to collect them, quoting her Aunt as not allowing her to ‘sell’ the item.She then posted a photograph of herself and assured everyone that the goods were indeed hers and that yes she wanted to sell them This was an original  photograph of a fresh faced child.

And so on…………..

Now about now was when I began to consider the situation: As a great grandmother one of my first concerns was the fact that this ‘child’ as I see her as, is dealing with potentially fourteen hundred people from a country area which covers a radius of many kilometres. Should she ‘sell’ her item, how does she know who she is selling it to, and how safe might she be if the potential buyer was not just interested in the ‘goods for sale’.

Allowing that many people use a stylised logo or form of identification rather than what is supposedly their own photograph.

Is there a duty of care from online chat sites to ascertain that the participants are over a ‘legal’ age? And if so, how do they police it or follow it up?

Do I as a member of the group also have a duty of care to say something, rather than just sit back and observe the proceedings as I did, preferring not to become involved in what was rapidly becoming a slanging match with different people expressing their individual opinions and even taking sides.

Despite the situation appearing to have resolved itself within the group, or having died a natural death, it continued to concern me sufficiently so that I decided to create a Hub about it.

I am interested in other Hubber’s views

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