Who’s Behind the Screen?

A worldwide phenomenon in today’s day and age are younger children and adolescents addicted to smart devices. This can range from smartphones, high-tech video games, Ipads, apple watches, etc. But it boils down to the question, do we really know who is behind the screens playing with these kids? My brother is 12 years old and one thing he really loves right now is his VR, virtual reality. He is constantly in his own world, yelling, screaming, and laughing as he plays with his “friends.” One night my family and I overheard what sounded like an older man and my brother talking. We paused the TV to hear a little better and sure enough, we heard an older man’s voice. We immediately asked him what friend he was playing with and he couldn’t give us a name, he just said it was his friend. We told him to stop playing with him and to get off the VR so we could figure out what was happening. Ultimately, we discovered this was an older man and we, especially me, just got very uncomfortable and freaked out cause I was questioning why this older man was playing with 12 year olds. I know so many guys older than 18 play video games and the fact that this individual decided to play with and was okay playing with children.

You hear cases all the time where women but mostly older men are playing with these children and one day ask them to meet in person. Of course we assume their intentions as we tend to know their ill mentality. These creeps are in their own little world, in their own creative imagination as they really believe it’s okay to want to see and meet these youths. Their actions hold so much emotional power towards the parents and guardians of these children. Many times, kids are unsupervised and can play with these older people so often, that most of the time, parents are completely unaware and that is a scary thought.

This kind of behavior has even made it to the movie screens and on TV shows demonstrating how clueless children and parents can be to these types of individuals. The purpose of these movies is to educate children, but mostly guardians to always be aware of their children’s friends and make sure they are who they actually say they are.

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Areli Nava

34 thoughts on “Who’s Behind the Screen?

  1. The internet can be an incredibly scary place, especially for children. They do not have the same literacy as adults, and are much more naive to places that are often used for grooming or other disturbing things. However, parents often give their children access to the internet as well as smart devices as young as 6 years old. I have seen many children watching their iPads during every meal, and unable or unwilling to play outside or do other things. In such a world where technology is so important, it is crucial to acknowledge that children must be exposed to it, but equally as important to limit their screentime and monitor their activity closely. It is also very important to educate them on the dangers of the internet and to make sure they know how to use it safely.

  2. I am honestly a little nervous of raising a child in today’s world of social media and the internet. I am worried I will somehow be out of touch and unable to know if they find access to certain content or people that I would not want them to see.

  3. It is so easy to hide behind a screen in the present day. Online media and social sites make it very easy to create an online persona or character similar to who a person is in real life or completely made up. From an online profile, a person’s true identity is never really known by the people viewing or interacting with a certain profile. This becomes increasingly terrifying in relation to kids using the internet as there is a possibility of interacting with someone who appears to be a certain way but really is not anything like their profile. Unfortunately an unknown true identity of an online persona attracts pedophiles to online chat rooms with children. This places children in a very vulnerable position leaving them in danger of people who potentially want to harm them. Because of this, parents of young children should inform their children of stranger danger and monitor what they do online very closely.

  4. Playing VR game is not the only way that children/adolescent get in contact with older people (adults) on the internet. Whenever they browse through social medias, watch videos, they may come across people who are much older than them, who may have various opinions or intentions towards the children/adolescent sitting in front of the screen. In fact, there are also a lot of chances for children to be close to some older people in a person-to-person real-world setting, and probably become heavily influenced by the person. It could be a relative, a neighbor, or someone from school. However, in these cases, it’s much easier for parents to spot that person and to examine whether they may have harmful intentions or influences to their children. In comparison, someone from the internet are much harder to catch attention in the first place (parents don’t know their children have a friend who is an adult) , and it is also much harder to get to know that person despite their self packaging on the internet. It’s understandable why people may get anxious about the fact that a child is getting in touch with an older guy on the internet.

  5. It sort of disgusts me that this is what some grown men do. Its just plain creepy and weird in my opinion. I think there should be more things that prevent this from happening to protect our children from creeps. It not a safe place for them to be especially when it comes to video games or anything they think is fun to them. Children don’t know any better, but its our job to protect them at all costs.

  6. As someone who has played games since a young age, I can empathize with the concerns and apprehensions surrounding this issue. In today’s interconnected world, where children are gaining online access at increasingly early ages, it is imperative for parents to become more informed about the potential encounters their children may face in the vast realm of the internet. However, it is also essential to recognize that parents cannot be expected to constantly monitor their children’s online activities throughout their lives.

    While I believe that it is crucial for parents to educate themselves about the realities of the internet, it is equally important to teach children how to navigate the online world responsibly. Children should be equipped with the knowledge of how to use the internet safely, how to identify potential risks and threats online, and the importance of personal accountability and online safety practices. The article sheds light on the alarming aspects of our internet-driven reality, but it also emphasizes that there are ways in which adults can strive to create a safer environment for children during their online adventures.

    In conclusion, it is necessary for parents to educate themselves and guide their children in responsible internet usage. By working together, we can ensure that our children remain cautious, mindful, and secure while exploring the online realm.

  7. Kids nowadays have way more access to the internet than we did when we were growing up. We need to better educate children on the dangers of talking to strangers online. As adults we are able to see the dangers and ill intentions of some people, but kids often times are clueless and just think “hey they want to be my friend”. Although not everyone online has the same bad intentions we need to be able to protect kids from possibly going out and meeting with the strangers they meet online. I think as parents and guardians of these children we need to be better at monitoring what kids are doing online and who they are talking to.

  8. The article sheds light on the concerning issue of young children and adolescents being addicted to smart devices, raising questions about the identities of the individuals interacting with them online. The personal experience shared by the author, involving an older man engaging with their 12-year-old brother through virtual reality, highlights the potential risks and discomfort associated with such encounters. It emphasizes the importance of parental supervision, educating children about online safety, and staying vigilant to protect them from potential harm. The article serves as a reminder of the need for increased awareness and proactive measures to ensure the safety and well-being of children in the digital realm..

  9. The article sheds light on the concerning issue of young children and adolescents being addicted to smart devices, raising questions about the identities of the individuals interacting with them online. The personal experience shared by the author, involving an older man engaging with their 12-year-old brother through virtual reality, highlights the potential risks and discomfort associated with such encounters. It emphasizes the importance of parental supervision, educating children about online safety, and staying vigilant to protect them from potential harm. The article serves as a reminder of the need for increased awareness and proactive measures to ensure the safety and well-being of children in the digital realm

  10. The article sheds light on the concerning issue of young children and adolescents being addicted to smart devices, raising questions about the identities of the individuals interacting with them online. The personal experience shared by the author, involving an older man engaging with their 12-year-old brother through virtual reality, highlights the potential risks and discomfort associated with such encounters. It emphasizes the importance of parental supervision, educating children about online safety, and staying vigilant to protect them from potential harm. The article serves as a reminder of the need for increased awareness and proactive measures to ensure the safety and well-being of children in the digital realm. We should care more about them.

  11. This article made me think of my childhood, because I spent a lot of time playing with online friends that I met on the game Modern Warfare 2. I actually ended up meeting up with some friends that I met living in Hawaii when I was there for family vacation. I also remember experiencing a lot of bullying online from older people that I was playing with, and I could see how it could of negatively affected me. Nevertheless, I miss those times when I was a kid, and had an overall fun time playing with my online friends. Parents should definitely monitor the conversations that kids are having with people online, because they could be bad.

  12. The reality of these video games and their progress towards being able to chat with strangers whether via messaging or through voice chat is scary which is why parents and children should be educated on the dangers of social aspects of video games. It is weird for these grown ass men to be playing with younger children and being “friends” with them. These men must feel safe behind their monitors and it just makes them more bold. This doesn’t mean that kids should be banned from playing video games completely because there are weird people all over the internet and the increasing accessibility of the internet doesn’t help with that.

  13. I completely understand the concern raised by anonymity in the online environment and how kids have been seriously influenced without certain protection. However, I would like to bring some perspective in terms of setting laws related to youth digital use. I was born and raised in China, where there is actually a law related to adolescent video game time. In order to do so EVERYONE had to provide ID and do real-name authentication for video games. And if you are not an adult, the game will automatically shut down if you exceed this certain amount of time. So in this way kids are “protected by law from spending excessive amounts of time online.” The result, however, is so problematic. For one I don’t feel comfortable providing my ID every time creating an account, and kids still figured out their way to play the game anyway( ie. by borrowing ID from the elderly in the family.) In all, I do believe kids should be monitored for internet use. But if we should make laws about it should be further discussed.

  14. I completely understand the concern raised by the anonymity and uncertainty in the online environment and how kids have been seriously influenced without certain protection. However, I would like to bring some perspective in terms of setting laws related to youth digital use. I was born and raised in China, where there is actually a law related to adolescent video game time. In order to do so EVERYONE had to provide ID and do real-name authentication for video games. And if you are not an adult, the game will automatically shut down if you exceed this certain amount of time. So in this way kids are “protected by law from spending excessive amounts of time on smartphones or VR.” The result, however, is so problematic. For one I don’t feel comfortable providing my ID every time creating an account, and kids still figured out their way to play the game anyway( ie. by borrowing ID from the elderly in the family.) In all, I do believe kids should be monitored for internet use. But if we should make laws about it should be further discussed.

  15. As an adult who plays video games that have the function of playing with random strangers, I do find it interesting sometimes to play with some random kids. They have cute perspectives on some conversation topics and sometimes they are even more supportive in the game than some throwing adults. But I completely understand when parents express their concern about the fact that their kids are playing games with strangers because that’s something my parents would worry about when I was a kid. The Internet can be super dangerous since it gives access to people who intend to harm other people. So I would say parents could try experiencing the things their kids are into and educate them on how to safely use them. Directly banning kids from something they like isn’t going to solve the problem because they will just seek other stuff that interests them. Proper education on how this world is and how to protect themselves is much more important.

  16. Due to how involved kids are in technology is already worrisome but especially when they are playing games online that older men and women are able to access as well. There are so many predators who specifically choose to play games targeted towards a younger audience which is sickening to think about, however it is the sad truth. I feel as though some parents are not as concerned as they should be about how dangerous the internet can be and how important it is to talk to your kids about how to be safe especially if they were to encounter an adult being inappropriate with them and the steps to take to first of all avoid that and second of all to know what to do if that were to happen. This needs to be a mandatory conversation to ensure these children are safe, technology is only becoming more and more advanced and it is the parents duty to protect their children and in doing so it involves bringing up topics such as this one.

  17. The whole situation feels surreal & yet somehow simultaneously commonplace. I grew up pre-internet & was in my teens/late teens when it really started getting popular. I can’t imagine how much different my childhood would have been if the internet (and high speed internet at that) was available back then.

    I don’t have children of my own, but I certainly empathize with any parents who have to navigate raising children while also keeping up with the pace that technology advances.

  18. These online interactions tend to happen on games that are targeted towards children, like Roblox. Online games with this kind of reputation makes easier for groomers and predators to find what they’re looking for. All we can really do as parents or a family member is to try and warn them about the dangers they can be exposed to when playing online.

  19. My younger cousin, like your brother, is constantly playing online games like Minecraft. A lot of those times he plays with random strangers, rather than just his school friends. It is a really scary concept when you think they may be playing with stranger that could commit crime. However, I think that is a concern that occurs due to growing ability to mass communicate with other people over the internet. For example, people can meet and communicate with other people over various websites too, not to mention dating sites that are becoming more prevalent than meeting people in person lately. I think it is important for website and games to do their best to screen for possible criminal activity from their users, to prevent any incident from occurring. Gaming creators may also need to think about creating different versions for diverse age groups. In this way, we can ensure that children are not put in harms way. Of course, while in an ideal society this would work perfectly, in reality it is very hard to implement for many reasons. Though I still think some form of these plans should be implemented to ensure the online safety of children.

  20. As someone who also plays videogames, and have since I was young, I can also see where these feelings of fear and uneasiness come from. With technology advancing at such a rapid pace that we now have VR as a possibility, it can definitely get harder to keep track of what your child is doing and who they might be talking too. Growing up during the times where online play was very limited and only on gaming consoles, it used to be much easier to keep track and monitor what was going on. But as technology evolves, I think that guardians and parents need to evolve with it, and limit and understand what their children are playing or the types of games that they want to purchase and play. They should also have talks with their kids about the dangers, and tell them that they should only play with friends their age, or just with their friends in real life. It can be tough, but I also think that certain technology should be restricted to children until they reach a certain age or maturity that guardians and parents can be sure that they would make good decisions.

  21. As a person that used to play video games with older people, though we were just playing Minecraft at the time and having fun, looking back on it, it’s odd to remember some of the things that these people had said. Children need to be educated about the dangers of talking to strangers online. Though they may not see it at the time, these “friends” can be malicious.

  22. While technology is rapidly advancing, there are some issues that arise as the younger generations gain more access to the internet. Like the article mentioned, there are worries that minors are interacting with adults who may have ill intentions. Since accessing the internet is almost inevitable, now more than ever parents should implement rules for their children and teach them about how to safely navigate the internet. Ultimately, parents are responsible for the amount of digital access their children are able to have so they should be closely involved in what their children engage in.

  23. The importance of digital literacy, safety, and constraints are ever so important as technology and digital media take greater central roles in the lives of upcoming generations and youth. As someone who grew up with technology and access to video games, I completely understand the appeal of technology; however, I speak with urgency when I relay how unsettling it is to witness so many youth beginning with toddlers who are becoming dependent on their relationship with technology. Ultimately, I believe it’s a parents’ job to place time constraints on technology usage, especially at such early ages, and monitor the content children are viewing.

  24. This article gave me a wake-up call on how technology and means of crimes have developed simultaneously. In the past, we hear from our parents that we should not talk to strangers; This was somewhat controllable since our parents could physically monitor who we are interacting with. Yet now we face a dire challenge, that criminals are also on the internet. Proper education regarding cyber crime and moderation of the platform is necessary to reduce any potential crimes.

  25. As someone who played online video games as a child (and still currently) I understand the fear of the unknown person behind the screen. Unfortunately, that is a risk of having access to the internet and playing these online games. The best way to combat this issue would be limiting a child’s screentime, or heavily monitoring what they are doing online.

  26. Children need to be taught how to browse the internet in a safe way. As a kid, I had access to a computer. I remember getting on chat logs, Omegles, teen magazine sites, roleplaying sites, etc. almost daily! Thinking about it now, I would absolutely hate for my children to do that. I remember constantly lying about my age and my name in order to make it seem like I was older and therefor, ended up attracting some older people (whether because I passed off as being older, or they knew I was younger). I remember giving out my personal email with my full name to people I felt like I could “trust” because we were “friends”. Thinking about it now — what’s wrong with me? If I was gullible enough, I could’ve given out more information. That being said, the internet has gotten much more advanced now. It’s so free now and there’s so many terrible videos and terrible people out there that is so easily accessible if the right precautions aren’t given or if certain sites aren’t blocked. I strongly do believe that it’s the parents’ job to set these boundaries and block as many sites and social media as possible — especially TikTok. Fortunately, I was safe and would turn off my computer and stop talking to strangers online when I felt uncomfortable and nothing escalated, but I was never supposed to be in that position to begin with.

  27. As someone with a younger sister, I understand your concerns about children and adolescents being addicted to electronic devices and the risk of encountering dangerous people online. Discovering that your brother was interacting with an older man through virtual reality games must have been concerning and raised questions about their intentions. As older siblings, we must be proactive and take steps to ensure the safety of our younger siblings. The footage of these situations in the media reminds me to remain vigilant and to have discussions about online safety. By taking the necessary precautions and guiding our younger siblings, all we can do is try our best to help them navigate the digital world safely and enjoy its benefits while minimizing potential dangers. As older siblings, we try to protect and guide our younger siblings in the digital world. However, sometimes it is definitely tricky while ensuring their online experiences are positive and secure.

  28. Parents should be concerned with who they talk to on the internet. Ways we could help keep kids safe is having open conversations with them about how they interact online. Informing them about the importance of not making hatful comments, and to be cautious about the people you talk to online. Also letting them know that there can be kind communities online but also telling them about individuals that don’t have the best intentions. Inform them in a way to not incite fear, but so they can make informed decisions and feel comfortable coming to an adult if they do have strange interactions online with someone.

  29. This was an interesting, but not a shocking, read. Internet access and technology can bring us certain advantages like entertainment or being able to communicate with others across the world. However, all this technology raises privacy and safety concerns, especially for younger generations who are glued to smartphones, tablets, and video games where you can play with others online. A lot of this technology allows users to remain anonymous which makes it more dangerous, as they are able to say and do many things without being held accountable. Although technology can be good for kids, if used educationally or for innocent entertainment, it is also important to teach them about safety, privacy, and even designate screen times as well as consistently monitor their devices and activity on the Internet.

  30. This is a very scary topic to discuss because I have a little sister and you would never think anything is wrong when they are playing games or watching Youtube videos. But there are people out there who are sick minded and do horrible things. I feel like parents should always be aware of what the kids are watching and who they are talking to. They should not only see if it’s a game or cartoon video but actually see it for themselves. I remember coming across a cartoon video that my sister was watching but it was completely inappropriate and I would have never known because it was a “kid’s channel” and they were cartoon characters that everyone knows. People are sneaky and its scary how they are able to get away with it.

  31. Being someone that plays video games quite frequently and has since I was much younger, I can understand where this sentiment and fear comes from. Parents nowadays, with the world as connected as it is and children logging online earlier and earlier, need to become more aware of what potential encounters a child may face while they are out and about in the wide world of the web. At the same time, parents should also not be expected to, nor should they have to, monitor their children at all times during their lives. Although I think it starts with parents becoming more educated on the realities of the Internet, children should also be taught ways to use the internet carefully, who and what to look out for while online, and general ways to keep themselves accountable and safe while using the internet. From this article, while it is a scary reality that we live in with the Internet, there are certainly ways in which we as adults can do better to ensure that our children remain safe and careful during their online escapades.

  32. As technology gets more and more advanced, accessibility will become easier for everyone. That is why children need to be monitored to a certain extent or have to be restricted from using certain technologies until they are old enough. Ultimately, in an ever-changing landscape, I believe it is the responsibility of the parent to keep up with the technology to ensure their child’s safety.

  33. The anonymity and uncertainty surrounding online interactions between kids and whoever is on the other side definitely poses risks for these children. I completely agree that it is going to be crucial for parents and guardians to educated their children online safety and specifically encourage open communication. Spending excessive amounts of time on smartphones or VR is also detrimental to the growth of children regarding his or her cognitive, social, and emotional development. Moreover, open dialogue, appropriate boundaries on given screen time, and monitoring the content that the children are viewing and interacting with is a great way to address these concerns.

  34. As someone who has a nine-year-old daughter, this is something that concerns me. It’s common for kids to be engaged with technology without much parental involvement and one popular game is Roblox. While the game may be marketed towards kids, many adults are playing as well. Some adults playing are harmless, but how it’s set up to converse with others makes it easier for those with ill intentions. Because the internet is so normalized with kids, even in the educational setting, I think it’s especially important to teach kids about digital literacy/safety at a young age and for parents to be more involved in knowing what they’re engaging in the digital world and consider using controls to help limit stranger interaction.

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