Cathleen Cleaver’s article, “The Internet: A Clear and Present Danger?” is extremely relevant in the contemporary time. The advent of internet has redefined the communication and has become one the most powerful tools of information. It is also the most widely used application to access all types of information by one and all. In the recent times, the phenomenal growth in the internet user database has brought in a mixed feeling of exhilaration and anxiety. While easy access to information through internet has been hailed as the most radical process of dissemination of information, the lack of effective control over the same has become a cause of great concern. The author has articulated a grave concern of the misuse of internet and calls for collective action especially to protect and safeguard the interests of the children.
The accessibility of computer and internet has been increasing becoming easier because of its inclusion in school curricula and its indispensability in official and personal arena. The internet has been the greatest and the largest store of information that is being utilized on a continuous basis across the world. It has become an extremely important part of children as it not only helps them to complement and supplement their study curricula but the it also gives them a platform to exploit their potential and creativity in a manner that was unimaginable a decade back. It cannot be denied that internet is a strong medium to acquire knowledge and help gain an extensive understanding of the world as never before. Under the guidance of parents, it can yet prove to be the greatest asset in the growth of children as a worthy citizen of the world. One can, therefore, conclude that the excessive concern shown by Cleaver is not as grave that it cannot be controlled by parents and school authorities through effective control mechanisms like blocking harmful sites etc.
Then again, if one looks deeper into the problem, he would realize that children are far smarter than their elders. In fact, as Cleaver says, ‘child is the father of man’ correctly defines the children of the contemporary time. The adaptability and understanding of technical gizmos by children is much superior to their parents and elders and it is far easier for them to find ways and means to seek their desired goals through them than for parents to implement control mechanisms. Internet, therefore, does pose a great threat to the children, especially in the form of pornography and adult material which not only present a very distorted view of sex but exposure to such sites is extremely damaging to their mental and physical growth, influencing their moral and ethical behaviour and promoting a lack of values. Indeed, strong state control over the administration of internet sites is the need of the hour.
Cathleen Cleaver’s concern for the children is genuine. One must accept that today’s generation is tech savvy and therefore, manual control by parents is not sufficient to provide effective deterring means for the children. Children, by nature are curious, therefore, even unintentionally, they might come across porn sites. So it is important that stringent cyber laws and effective enforcement is implemented to safeguard the interests and security of children.