Alarmists find new things to worry about

A news release by PRNewswire highlights “startling data” regarding young people’s exposure to dubious content online — the second component of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. A study conducted by Nielsen Online for the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) found that:

— “Nearly one in 20 teens online viewed drug-related videos during a one- month period” (uh, that means less than 5 percent, in case you haven’t noticed. Not too earth-shattering, IMO) AND 35 percent were under age 16. This means that just over 1% of youth under 16 have seen a drug-related video in the past month. Yawn. It gets even sketchier when we take the next statistic:

— Almost 40 percent of drug-related videos contain explicit use of drugs and/or intoxication.

Overall, it means this: less than two percent of youth have seen a video depicting the explicit use of drugs and/or alcohol in the past month. When considering only those youth under the age of 16, the number drops to under half a percent.

I got up for this? Seriously.

The article itself goes on to cite other statistics about exposure to questionable content online. But the sources are less than reputable (usually, sites trying to sell filter software), so are not worth repeating here.

While I commend researchers for looking beyong predator “stranger danger,” I hope that findings such as these do not become the new reason to panic about internet use.