Canadian youth at risk on Internet: Media Awareness Network The Media Awareness Network has found that more than half of children aged 13 to 17 in Canada are visiting private and adult-only chat rooms on the Internet, usually alone. The finding was contained in a survey released today, "Young Canadians in a Wired World: The Student’s View." The survey, of almost 5,700 students aged 9 to 17 and conducted this March, also found that 15% of children and youth who have used the Internet have gone to meet with someone in person that they had met on the ‘Net. Of those, 15% went alone to such a meeting. Boys were more likely to attend such meetings alone than girls, by a margin of 73% to 27%. Other results include the finding that 78% of youth didn’t report pornographic junk mail, 35% of respondents who report receiving hateful emails about others did nothing about it, and 29% of those respondents replied to the emails themselves. About one-quarter of youth have a personal web site, of whom 57% provide an email address, 26% provide a full name and 22% provide a photo. At a news conference to announce the findings this morning, Jan D’Arcy, co-director of the Network, called the survey results "a wake-up call" and urged the continuation of education efforts by that organization, ISPs, content providers, police and the government. Jay Thomson, president of the Canadian Association of Internet Providers (a key Network partner), told Canadian NEW MEDIA that while the survey’s results could scare Canadians into demanding legislation to protect children, he doubts that regulatory approaches would solve the problems. Education programs such as those run by the Network, including a new initiative to award Media and Technology badges to Girl Guides, are the best way to mitigate ever-present risks associated with children using the Internet. More details. Canadian NEW MEDIA will carry full details of the study in its full issue next week.
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