You're on a plane sitting next to a strange man, unbeknownst to you he's a convicted sexual predator. The fantasy world that lives inside his mind has no door for outward expression in a cramped seat surrounded by 200 witnesses. Social structure creates a protective pattern of behavior that allows you to complete your journey safely. As you leave the airport, that same man walking nearby could become a threat to your life. Still among fellow travelers, you instinctively keep your distance, slide quickly into your car, doors locked, and safely head for home. Again circumstances protected you. Back home, safe in your familiar environment, you check your email and decide to check in with online friends. STOP, REWIND, where are you going? You're now entering the "twilight zone" (old beginning lines of the show).
It's open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You could meet that same man online, but now you are entering his fantasy world.
"If the ratio of sensory receptors to brain synapses is any indication, then you and I are comparatively ill equipped to experience a material world. Though our 100 million sensory receptors enable us to see, hear, taste, and smell the real world, our 10,000 billion brain synapses allow us to relate new data to stored memories and ideas - to experience things that never happened.
"Yes. reality is a fragile thing. We are much better equipped for experiences that are contained fully in the mind. We have lived with Tarzan in the jungle, journeyed beneath the sea with Captain Nemo, been stranded on an island with Robinson Crusoe, and sailed with a peg-legged man named Ahab as he pursued a great white whale. If these experiences were the only evidence of our amazing abilities, they would surely be enough. But wait, there's more...
"Ludwig van Beethoven was capable of hearing music in a silent world, but his ability to hear symphonies in his head was nothing special. Beethoven's brain was no more capable than those of the people with whom you deal every day. Physiologically, each of us is Beethoven's equal. You can hear Beethoven's Fifth Symphony in your mind right now, if you'd like. Remember how it begins?
- Secret Formulas of the Wizard of Ads by Roy Williams, Chapter 18 Living with Tarzan in the Jungle.
"Hansen, '...We could go do this story virtually every week anywhere in the country and get the same results?' Dr. Berlin: "Absolutely.'" - What can be done to stop predators
The Internet has given fuel to our imagination, surpassing books of the past because of its interactive nature; we are drawn in to "live" in worlds we create online. Able to logon any time, day or night, these worlds often hold more charm than our everyday, fast-paced life of overburdened and stress- laden interactions with our families and co-workers that are becoming the norm. Online, we view and create fantasies seemingly without restrictions and penalties, and meet others who participate in these fantasies with us. Biology reinforces these online discussions, and transmission of images are triggering the mental circuitry, the pathways of pleasure, the areas that respond to chocolate, sex, beautiful pictures, and licit and illicit drugs such as cocaine. Dopamine, the brain chemical famed for its role in addictive behaviors, is released and the new Internet patterns of pleasure insidiously begin to take over.
Dr. Chris Berlin, a professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine with over 25 years of experience working with sexual offenders, shared his views with Dateline's Chris Hansen after the show "To Catch a Predator III" had 51 men show up at a house to meet a 12-year-old boy or girl they had met online (see 2/06 Yello Dyno Monthly Memo), "I think there are three things that are problematic about the Internet...
"One is the easy accessibility. You don't, in the beginning at least, have to go anywhere. You just push a button that's sitting there next to you."
"Secondly, there's this illusion of anonymity, which can be very disinheriting. You feel as though you're there in the privacy of your bedroom. It's not that private, but you don't sense that at the time.
"And thirdly, there is a distortion of reality and fantasy to some extent, that people feel as though they're playing a game. They're making up who they are. They wonder if someone else is giving a false persona. They begin to do things that in the light of day they might never have done and then, ultimately and sadly, sometimes cross a line that they might not otherwise have crossed."
- What can be done to stop predators? Dr. Berlin, founder of the Johns Hopkins Sexual Disorder Clinic
Reading Mind Hunter by John Douglas, retired from the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit, you quickly learn to watch out: "when they cross the line from fantasy to reality, that's when you're in trouble." The Web creates opportunity for hidden fantasies to be shared with others, building a bridge of acceptance that makes crossing the line dangerously easy. Before the onslaught of the Web, many of the men caught in a sting (shown on Dateline's "To Catch a Predator III") would probably never have been able to give such powerful fuel to such unnatural desires, and probably would have been glad for it. They would have still had a world with boundaries and limits, much as the airplane filled with two hundred people protected the convicted sexual predator as well as the woman sitting next to him.
Predators by nature are going to be attracted to the easiest access to prey - our children - and it's on the Interent. Seeing how difficult it is for us to recognize predators, whether it's on an airplane, in a mall or in a parking lot, imagine how difficult it is for a child who is naturally trusting and doesn't have the mental or emotional development that we have. Therefore, it is an imperative that children be trained to recognize online signs and behavior that mean danger. Children must have their own set of personal safety skills. Yello Dyno's updated Play It Safe On the Internet curriculum includes the Six Online Red Flags for kids, plus twenty key lessons (5th-6th grades, easily adapted for 7th grade). Plan to implement this curriculum next fall or, better yet, there are often end-of-the-school-year funds available that can be utilized now. Don't wait, summer is coming, and that's a lot of online time for kids.
I look forward to helping you implement Play It Safe On The Internet for your children.
Yours for child safety,
Yello Dyno Founder
P.S. Review our curricula for 30 days.
Have questions? Call me at 888-935-5639 ext. 100 or email me at jan@YelloDyno.com
Right now 200,000 children are learning The Yello Dyno Method™ of Safety in Texas; 500,000 in New York State, and over a million more have grown up with Yello Dyno.
P.S.S REdS, Research and Educational Services recently conducted an evaluation of the Yello Dyno Curricula with 778 students in public school settings. The students were in K, 1st and 2nd grade. 51.3% were females and the sample was relatively balanced in the three grade levels. The findings show that 80.8% of the students tested demonstrated an increase in knowledge after one cycle of the Yello Dyno Curriculum.
Comments? Ideas for future memos? Contact me: jan@YelloDyno.com.
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