On one of the many social media outlets I frequent, I recently stumbled across a disturbing video. This video describes the plight of thousands of children involved in the newest form of sexual exploitation: webcam child sex tourism. The organization Terre des Hommes is determined to stop the global rise of these chat rooms that allow pedophiles to abuse children from thousands of miles away.
This video was not only deeply disturbing, but also thought provoking. As the price of Internet access goes down more and more people have gained access. This has been largely recognized as a positive chain of events, and there is significant support for the idea of spreading ICTs to the world. We have studied the many benefits of ICTs and how bridging the digital divide increases equity and access to information, but this video uncovers a consequence that I would never have predicted. The existence of webcam child sex tourism causes me to question what other consequences might arise with the infiltration of technology. Are there ways to prevent them? Can we counterattack these problems using technology as well? Terre des Hommes suggests that while Internet access may contribute to the problem of webcam child sex tourism, it can also help track down predators. But what other consequences have we not thought of?