" Eventually, he began threatening to take his own life. Soon a circle of girls who dubbed themselves "the Evil Angels" were working around the clock to make Samatha's life hell. "Even now there are nights I relive the negative experiences in my dreams," she shared online."They can hide behind a screen name, remaining anonymous while the victim becomes increasingly vulnerable and defenseless ... I received instant messages and e-mails saying, 'We're going to kill you'; 'I wouldn't go to the bathroom alone if I were you'; and 'you better watch your back.' " A survey by the nonprofit i-SAFE America found that while almost half of kids had been bullied online, 58 percent never told an adult about it.It's hard to miss those Bay Area billboards claiming that 1 in 5 children has been sexually solicited online, although only a tiny fraction of those involve aggressive solicitations from someone believed to be over age 25.What experts fear is that parents remain relatively unaware of the much more ordinary hazards for their children in cyberspace: Profiteers who run online pharmacy and gambling sites -- and couldn't care less about the ages of their customers.
Event in Mountain View, Ca on 2/11/06 Photo by : Michael Macor/ San Francisco Chronicle Mandatory credit for Photographer and San Francisco Chronicle/ - Magazines Out lesshaddock12005_Yee immersed in the game World of Warcrtaft.
Wages of exploitation When 17-year-old Ryan Haight of La Mesa (San Diego County) used the computer in his family's den to order painkillers online, court reports indicate that 100 tablets of hydrocodone (a generic version of Vicodin) arrived in the mail a few days later, c.o.d.
-- despite the fact that he had no valid prescription.
Now it may feel more like a minefield -- seductive on the surface, but seeded with subterranean hazards.
Few families have escaped the warning sirens about sexual predators stalking children via the computer.