World Observer commends NBC Dateline and
for airing a series of programs and providing information on the
internet concerning a growing national epidemic of children at risk from
child sex predators. The host of this series, Chris Hansen,
is particularly commended for his sustained and committed effort to
alert the public to the alarming prevalence of internet predators,
protect children and their families, and put the predators on notice
that their criminal behavior will not be tolerated. While some organizations, parents, and
individuals have addressed the issue of dangers to families and children
present on the internet, NBC is the first major media outlet to focus
attention on the widespread nature of this serious social problem.
Extensive, pervasive, and shockingly extreme pornography on the internet
is not news; the risks of participating in online "communities" and chat
rooms is not news.
But NBC Dateline's series "To Catch a Predator"
leads the way in making it abundantly clear that America is not
beleaguered by a handful of perverts and a few unfortunate victims.
We are not confronted with a limited number of predators lurking around
parks and schools in search of the occasional victim that may be hard to
reach due to parental or teacher supervision. In the past,
supervision of children and the fear of being caught, among other
factors, prevented many from acting on deviate and perverse urges
to pursue children.
Now the internet makes it possible for those
who would not otherwise engage in this behavior to do so with a sense of
privacy and anonymity. Parents and children may have felt that the
dangers of the internet were limited to receiving or viewing unsolicited
and unwanted material, not that an actual predator could be in physical
NBC Dateline with "To Catch a Predator" will make some
of the potential predators realize that they do not enjoy secrecy and
they had best control those inclinations to pursue children.
Parents and children will hopefully realize that some aspects of the
internet are just as dangerous as "don't go there" zones in their
community. Children are not safe and sound in their bedroom on a
computer with a firewall and other software to protect them; the
predators are lurking in cyberspace and can find their victims in their
Perhaps the most important contribution to public
service and the common good made by NBC and MSNBC with their TV and web
site coverage of child predators is making the public and hopefully our
legislators aware that the "clear and present danger" is not limited in
scope. Again thanks to the internet, the number of potential child
predators reaches into the hundreds of thousands and the number of
potential victims soars into the millions. Chris Hansen
rightly calls it an epidemic. America's children need an effective
News Items, Program Transcripts, Online Videos, Blogs, Feedback,
and Parent Resources on MSNBC.com:
New Dateline specials: Wednesdays, 9 p.m. on NBC. Go to
Wednesdays, 9 p.m. on NBC to get an email
reminder to watch the
next installments of "Predator" on Dateline.
"To Catch a
Predator" I: Outside NYC-area
Catch a Predator" II: The dangers of chatting
'To Catch a
Predator' III: A new investigation
"To Catch a
Predator" IV: Predator hunt moves to the Heartland (Ohio
Investigation Part 1)
A list of the men
featured in this (Ohio) report
Watch as men, trolling for
underage teens online, get an unexpected date with Dateline! Next
Wednesday (10 May), an all-new investigation in Florida. All-new “To
Catch a Predator” episodes air
Wednesdays, 9 p.m. on NBC. During the last segment of
Wednesday's report, Dateline
featured the upcoming Florida investigation. One man shows up naked,
while another... shows up with his 5-year-old son.
A cyber twilight
zone in Ft. Myers, Fla. - Dateline NBC - MSNBC.com (transcript
of 10 May episode on Florida predators)
Caught on camera,
but not surprised (Fla. investigation continued)
For tapes and
transcripts: Viewers can call 1-866-NBC-TAPE for NBC News
transcripts and tapes of selected Dateline segments.
Related Stories on MSNBC.com
Feedback about this
Predators in big cites and small towns
Hansen's blog page
Most teens say they've met strangers online
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DEDICATES SPECIAL SECTION TO "DATELINE NBC'S" "TO CATCH A PREDATOR"
The clarity in the 'predator' report - Dateline NBC
Safety Links on MSNBC.com
Why are kids still surfing in the bedroom?
For parents: Tips for kids of different ages
Online safety contracts for parents and kids
What you don't know
can hurt your kids
Full section on
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to Keep Teens Safe on MySpace.com - Newsweek National News ...
For kids, danger lurks a
click away - Parenting - MSNBC.com