Parry Aftab was an Internet lawyer with her own practice, but in 1997, she saw a picture of a three-and-a-half-year-old being molested on a Web site.
“I cried for an hour and threw up for two,” she said, adding that she was so upset by what she saw that she sold her business and became an expert in protecting children from others and from themselves.
“I spend a lot of time these days protecting kids from each other,” she said. “Kids think they are not accountable for what they do online because nobody knows who they are.”
She said when she asks young people what they do online she is often shocked. She told of one teenage boy who was well dressed and neat, who said he sends death threats based on information that he has found out about people in chat rooms.
“He said he was a good kid and wouldn’t really kill anyone.”
She added that she talked to over 400 students at another school and found out that 90 percent were involved in cyber bullying, and when she asked parents if they were aware of cyber bullying, only 15 percent said they were.
Aftab is the director of The Wired Safety Project, Inc., launched in 2000, which includes wiredsafety.org and stopcyberbullying.org.