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The Gazette: Protection needed for youths' online privacy

Published: 5 May 2010

Many young people remain vulnerable to online predators because they are dangerously unaware that privacy on the Internet is an illusion, experts say. And the Internet has opened so many avenues for young people that they've become blissfully ignorant it can also be used to harm them.

Many young people remain vulnerable to online predators because they are dangerously unaware that privacy on the Internet is an illusion, experts say. And the Internet has opened so many avenues for young people that they've become blissfully ignorant it can also be used to harm them. Teenage girls in particular tend to be easy prey because they see the Internet as part of their living space and consider — incorrectly — whatever they do online as private, said Shaheen Shariff, an associate professor of education at McGill University, who specializes in cyber-bullying and online social networking… Michael Hoechsmann, another McGill University expert in education, media and new technology, says the Internet is not to blame. Young people have always experimented, he says, but what has changed is that the Internet offers an avenue for mass distribution, especially for images.

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