How excessive Internet use increasingly inflicts negative effects on our society " An estimated 147 million people worldwide accessed the Internet at least once a week from their businesses and home -- more than double the 61 million who browsed the Net in 1996, according to a recent report by Computer Industry Almanac.' The current estimated statistics show that there are over 63 million home internet users, and with the growing importance of the Internet in everyday life, excessive use and its negative effects are growing. Research shows excessive Internet usage is associated to several growing problems; A few examples are Internet crimes against children, identity theft, and Internet Addiction Disorder. First, According to the U. S. Department of Justice, the Internet is an effective and anonymous way for predators to seek out and groom children for criminal purposes such as producing and distributing child pornography, contacting and stalking children for the purpose of engaging in sexual acts, and exploiting children of sexual tourism for personal and commercial purposes.

Predators consider children and young teenagers to be perfect targets for criminal acts because they are commonly trusting, naive, curious, looking for adventures, and eager for attention and affection. With so many children online, the Internet provides predators a new place to target children for criminal acts. Statistics from the 'Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire, states one in five children have received a sexual approach or solicitations over the internet in the past year. As a result, the best safety tool is to talk to your children, give information, and ask questions. According to Nets martz.

com, 'While children need a certain amount of privacy, they also need parental involvement and supervision in their daily lives.' In addition to concerns with our children's safety, Internet users have to beware of Identity Theft. Identity theft involves the acquisition of and individual's information, which includes, but not limited to, credit card numbers, bank statements, addresses, social security number, and date of birth. For example, the F. B. I. had 1, 574 pending investigations involving identity theft at the end of the Fiscal year 2004.

Likewise, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) estimates that in 2003 the number of consumer victims of identity theft at 9. 91 individuals with losses totaling $52. 6 billion. People are using their computers more and more for online banking, online investing, shopping, credit applications, and email. A great amount of personal information transmits on the internet, allowing identity thieves to adapt their skills to benefit from the Internet's growth in convenience. As a result, the F.

B. I has numerous tips on how to protect your identity online; a few examples are: a) Never give personal information, unless you initiated the contact. b) Shred credit card receipts and / or old statements before discarding. c) Order, and review biannual copies of credit reports. d) Check all account statements carefully. e) BE AWARE.

Lastly, the concerns for our children and our financial safety, exorbitant Internet use can also attribute to Internet Addiction Disorder. The Internet has become a destructive force, its remarkable benefits overshadowed by its potential to disrupt the lives of those who cannot resist the lure of round-the-clock social opportunities, entertainment, and information. For such people, work, friends, family, and sleep are ignored by a virtual world of chat rooms and games. Both psychological and physical symptoms are associated with Internet Addiction Disorder.

Some of the psychological symptoms depression or emptiness, craving more and more time on the computer, problems with job or school, lack of honesty, and ignoring family and friends. The physical symptoms are carpal tunnel syndrome, migraine headaches, backaches, dry eyes, irregular eating habits, and sleep disturbances. With such a growing and widely used technology, the Internet has become beneficial for personal, as well as businesses worldwide. Consequently, if there are signs of Internet Addiction Disorder, gradually decline the use of the Internet, until a sensible amount of time demonstrates in daily routines. In conclusion, the information highway is a wonderful and useful technology that is becoming accessible everywhere. Predictions from protect kids.

org, estimate by 2006, 3 out of 4 households in America will have the Internet. To protect our children, our identity, and our physical and emotional well-being, when spending time online, research shows that awareness, moderation, open communication, and information are consumer's best defense.