… it pays to ask if they are in a shark-repellent salesman before deciding just how risky swimming really is.
Do bad people use the Net to find victims? Without doubt they do and I would not make light of the harm that can be caused by ‘paedophiles’. Yet so often when I hear of the ‘epidemic’ of child abuse going on, it turns out that the story emanates from some agency or NGO who just so happens to have its funding come up for review or who are in some way rattling their begging bowl. But of course who would deny funding to people who only want to protect children? And who would questions the additional motivations of people who make their living in this line of work, not to mention the veracity of the figures for just how serious a problem it really is? To ask those sort of things runs the risk of having your motivations and ‘interests’ questioned in ways that would make most decent folks rather uncomfortable.
But just as legitimate grievances about civil rights have in many countries spawned monstrous civil rights industries that are little more than vehicles for shaking down certain sections of society and which have a vested interest in perpetuating the idea that some problems are worse than they really are, I have little doubt that legitimate concerns about internet predators have already led to something similar in the ‘preventing child abuse industry’. Oh, do not get me wrong, I neither doubt child abuse is a real and legitimate issue nor do I think everyone who works to prevent it is just looking to pad their bank accounts, but given how much I surf the net, I cannot help thinking that the scale of this problem does not seem to match the shrill rhetoric we hear on the subject. To listen to some people the fact I managed to grow up going to untended playgrounds and not treating adults as probable abusers… and yet somehow managed to never attract the attentions of a ‘kiddie fiddler’ must make me the luckiest lad around. Yet somehow I rather doubt that.
Cynical? You bet.