- A nonprofit group that watches the Web
for pedophiles and stalkers on Friday launched a new service: allowing
kids who know of classmates, Web sites that threaten violence or suicide
to e-mail their concerns along to authorities.
- The Internet, so often unfairly blamed
as the cause of problems, can and should be the solution to problems. The
KIDReportline is only one example of how the power of the Internet can
be unleashed to help, not harm., - CYBERANGELS STATEMENT
- Responding to the Littleton, Colo., tragedy,
the all-volunteer group Cyberangels said it would keep the identities of
the children reporting the sites confidential, and would forward credible
threats to police and school administrators.
- The service is aimed at those children
'afraid of reprisals' from school or classmates, says Cyberangels director
- FOR KIDS, NOT ADULTS
- Aftab, a lawyer who's been on the Net
since 1992, will be reading and responding to the e-mail herself, offering
not legal advice but advice that a mother would if her child asked "What
should I do?"
- The first e-mail tips came from teachers
and other adults, but Aftab emphasizes the service is for children, not
parents or teachers who already know where to turn. "They don't need
me for that," she says, "the ones who do are kids."
- The idea came to Aftab after a reporter
writing about Littleton asked her who was responsible for ferreting out
violent Web sites. No one should, was her immediate reaction, but after
a restless night Aftab said she came to the conclusion that "there
must be something we can do."
- NOT WEB POLICE
- Calling herself a Free Speech advocate,
Aftab says Cyberangels is not in the business of actively searching for
violent sites. "The tips have to come to me" and from a classmate
about another classmate's Web site, she insists.
- In a statement, Cyberangels said its
service, called KIDReportline, also aims to show the value of the Internet.
"The Internet, so often unfairly blamed as the cause of problems,
can and should be the solution to problems," it said. "The KIDReportline
is only one example of how the power of the Internet can be unleashed to
help, not harm."
- Tips can be e-mailed to <firstname.lastname@example.org
- Or, via the group's Web site at <www.cyberangels.org