One of the problems of the Internet is also one of it’s assets. The fact that I can write to you whatever I think on a website and have you comment it is a really amazing thing. Instead of talking to only people locally, I can converse with people around the world!
The same technology, however, has been used for many different purposes, and a good number of them are not good.
Take You-Tube. A month or so back I was able to show my kids the preview to the new VeggieTales movie trailer (which I picked up through a comment on VeggieTales Review!) It was terrific to be able to get a hold of it in advance.
And yet, the same tool has been used to distribute porn. Daniela Cicarelli (pictured above) has four things that are working against her.
- It’s almost impossible to find an image of her where she is decently clothed (whether that’s because she’s a model or the other 3, I’ll let you be the judge).
- She does not believe that she should wait until she is married before engaging in marital activities.
- She does not have a problem engaging in these activities in the out of doors.
- A person filmed these activities and likes to upload them to You-Tube to much fame.
These things are bound to happen in a medium that thrives from people taking pictures and posting clips to share. And, our culture is such that a lot of companies get in a race to the bottom in order to get the most visitors.
The New York Times recently had an article talking about how more and more younger people are turning to websites without rules, and companies are more than happy to provide them with what they are looking for.
Popular Web sites like YouTube and MySpace have hired the equivalent of school hallway monitors to police what visitors to their sites can see and do by cracking down on piracy and depictions of nudity and violence.
So where do the young thrill-seekers go?
Increasingly, to new Web sites like Stickam.com, which is building a business by going where others fear to tread: into the realm of unfiltered live broadcasts from Web cameras.
The site combines elements of more popular sites, but with a twist. In addition to designing their own pages and uploading video clips, its users broadcast live video of themselves and conduct face-to-face video chats with other users, often from their bedrooms and all without monitoring by any of Stickam’s 35 employees.
What’s the problem here? That since the video is in real time, and that it is unmonitored the video going across the lines could be a child talking with his grandma, or it could be a predator who’s getting his sexual kicks from an underaged child.
Can you totally be sure about what goes on in front of a webcam? I don’t think so. How would you go about making sure that even if an adult were to have the camera that a child in their undies wanting to be tucked into bed didn’t show up?
And yet how do you protect children and others? The webcam business was generally a bad thing before Stickam and You-Tube were around. We still haven’t figured out what to do about it. Any ideas?