Teen Boy Uses Webcam for Tidy Profits (While Parents Neglect)

Kurt Eichenwald wrote this New York Times piece: ‘Through His Webcam, a Boy Joins a Sordid Online World’:
Justin was a 13-year old boy when he started using his webcam to make money. It started off by undressing for money (sent instantly via PayPal) and soon became a bedroom industry of private voyeur cam sessions and leading to in-person appearances where his adoring fans could molest him for certain price.
Before we get all ‘what about the children’ and ‘the internet is bad bad bad!’ let’s examine some evidence that the parents supposedly missed:
1) Numerous expensive gifts constantly arriving for no explained reason.
2) A profitable web-design business with no examples of his work.
3) Trips to Michigan and Vegas with no parental supervision.
4) A sudden need to be home-schooled with an online program.
5) Numerous ‘illnesses’ and absence from school.
And the best part is the father being complicit in all this. Stupid mother and exploitive father. Neglectful, both.
Questions:
Do minors really need webcams?
Should kids have internet-connected computers in their bedrooms unsupervised?
What do parents need to know to be technoliterate in these matters?
If Justin had waited 3 years all of this business acumen could have been put to good use in the legal adult industry of consenting adults.
Tip for parents: Your kids have seen pornography online. It is nearly inevitable that they will experience it – either on purpose or by accident. How will you educate your children about erotic content online?

One thought on “Teen Boy Uses Webcam for Tidy Profits (While Parents Neglect)

  1. Maryam Webster

    Heck, I got myself a webcam a few weeks ago and can’t figure out how to work the thing. Just kidding, but it did take the kid next door to unsnarl my web meeting app when the techie hubby was at work and I had a meeting coming up.
    Moral of this story: Yes, your kids are smarter than you think. They are undoubtedly much better versed than YOU are about the plethora of options available online. The only way to be a responsible parent nowadays is to stay abreast of rising technology as much as you can and encourage open, honest communication with your kids. And if you can’t or just don’t want to take the time to update your tech knowledge, find a geek friend to give you periodic updates.
    When your kid becomes a L33t h@X0r (if you don’t understand that, pull your geek friend out of storage!) it’s too late. At that point dear parents, you have the potential for your phone bill to be hacked, ditto your credit cards and (horror of horrors) your personal email. Yep, a fair percentage kids under the age of eighteen can reverse hack their parent’s (and other people’s) private email. Gives you the willies, doesn’t it?
    Parents, you MUST be proactive to protect your children. To start with, here are some Rules of the Internet Highway your kids need to abide by:
    http://www.safeteens.com/safeteens.htm
    And guidelines for you, the Parent to know:
    http://www.safeteens.com/safeteens.htm#Guidelines_for_Parents_0
    Use in good health and have a Happy (Safe) Holiday season!
    Warmly,
    Maryam Webster

    Reply

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