According to this report, one of the newest crazes for kids is going online, pretending to be sex offenders and scaring the shit out of other kids. I’m sure some of them do it to be funny, but the focus here is on the ones who are doing it as a way to get revenge or try to settle a dispute.
I’m not sure how exactly to react to this. On one hand it’s easy to flip out and play the we need laws to protect them and civilization is doomed when are children resort to this kind of immoral behaviour cards, but on the other it sort of shows that maybe kids aren’t as blind to the tricks of pedophiles as we’ve been lead to believe by governments and lobby groups.
Before anybody decides to flip out on me, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t try to protect kids from predators on the internet. All I’m saying is that sometimes kids are smarter than we give them credit for. They are after all the internet generation, and the smart ones know when something is wrong, just like they do in the offline world when a stranger asks one of them to help find his puppy in exchange for some chocolate. Maybe instead of coming up with brilliant stuff like the “unbreakable internet filter” that some 12-year-old will crack in 20 minutes and legislating that all sex offenders provide their email addresses for a database [yeah, that’ll work], governments and parents should take some time to figure out how things on the internet function. And maybe while they’re at it they could even take some time to talk to a few kids and see what they actually know and don’t know. The results might be surprising, especially the revelation that most of them are probably smarter than you are.