Skip to content
Guest Thinkers

Chain e-mail, privacy, and a bunch of elementary school girls

A fairly disturbing chain e-mail (it mentions rape, murder, and skin flaying) is making the rounds among a group of elementary school girls here. [click here to read it]

A few things to note about this…

  1. Most parents of these girls had no idea that this was occurring because they’ve never, ever supervised their elementary school daughters’ e-mail use. Once they found out about this message, many were horrified.
  2. Many parents are unsure whether they should be notifying other parents that their daughters are receiving and reading this.
  3. Some parents’ reactions have been to see this as confirmation that ‘the Internet’ is ‘evil’ and to consider prohibiting their daughters from using it.
  4. At least one parent’s reaction allegedly has been to declare, despite knowing the content of this message, that she doesn’t want to invade her daughter’s privacy because e-mail is like a diary or journal, trusts her daughter to do the right thing, and is (at least publicly) unconcerned that her daughter is passing this along to others.
  5. I tell the administrators with whom I work that schools MUST play a role in educating children about appropriate Internet use. If they don’t, kids and parents will be left to fend for themselves and, as this incident confirms, many parents have little to no clue about what they should be doing in this area.



    Up Next
    Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society just released a massive report, Enhancing Child Safety and Online Technologies. Here’s a quote from the study: Sexual solicitation and predation are […]