Proselytizing Sites

Beyond the positive aspects that Internet has it is important to recognize that the use of it by children poses a whole series of difficult questions to master, or even real risks. One of the first issues is the difficulty for children to measure the validity of the information they find. In this perspective, it is very important that the parents and adults in the entourage of these young people ensure, especially in early age, some control over the use they make of the computer or their cellphone. Many children find it difficult to balance what is real and what is virtual. Many of them are not aware of the legislation in force. Thus, some young people install on social networks such as Facebook Instagram, their easily accessible blog, very confidential information or place criticism or even insults against recognizable people, without suspecting that they can be sued for defamation. Others exchange pornographic images or undressing scenes by mobile phone without realizing that these images can then be disseminated more widely due to manipulation errors or by the wishes of their recipient.

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Another potential risk has been the subject of a number of publications in recent years, that of what it is customary to call cyber bullying, namely harassment through the internet: adolescents are taken as a target by some of their classmates or older teenagers and are routinely confronted with derogatory comments or threats. Like schoolyard harassment, such behavior has a clear psychological impact on the youth who are the victims in terms of self-image and mental health.

One theme still widely discussed is that of violence induced by games available online. This is an old debate that began three or four decades ago with the appearance of more or less violent series on television. Several recent metanalyses appear to demonstrate an incentive effect of movies and violent games, especially in children and young adolescents. It would therefore seem reasonable to avoid exposing those under fifteen-six to this type of activity. Still, the risk of aggressive acting out can probably be greatly reduced by the presence of responsible adults, able to take back with their child the emotions and reactions that such media bring.

On the other hand, scenes of violence and pornography that often appear on the screen without the young people having really searched for them, and especially when these activities are done outside of the adults, can in young adolescents, create troubles or distortion of perception of reality. The exchange of erotic images, of obscenities, more and more frequent thanks to SMS and through blogs, signifies the inability of very young adolescents to discriminate what is deprived of what is public. This new reality and its consequences on the behavior of adolescents still remain to be clarified. In some cases, the transfer of information or addresses to exchange and dating sites can lead young people to face potentially dangerous situations.

Finally, a number of proselytizing sites have been developed, which encourage young and old to adopt behaviors specifically harmful to health. This is true of sites with anorexia 26 or dedicated to eating disorders, which provide young people with information on how to continue their illness. This is also true of sites encouraging suicidal behavior, 27 or even boasting the consumption of substances and alcohol. They unfortunately seem to influence the behavior of young people who consult them. 28A number of countries have developed specific programs aimed at educating young people to use these tools. It is clear that while a number of semi-private initiatives have been taken in different Swiss cantons, this is far from being the rule, and it is time for the school and political authorities to take stock of this phenomenon. provide an adequate answer.

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