IS BUYING SECOND HAND ELECTRONICS SAFE? – There are no guarantees in life, but we all live under the assumption that some things are to be expected: Your food will be served hot and spit-free at a restaurant, the cashier will ring you up and give you the correct change, and that Christmas morning will be a magical time when you the parent are able to grant your child at least one of the desires of their heart.
But what happens when the rules are broken- like what happened to the Giles family on Christmas morning. Mike Giles had been in search of the perfect gift for his 5 year old son Braydon, when he found himself at a GameStop store. Just like many of us, Mike did not want to spend the $150-200 the Nintendo3DS, a handheld gaming system is sold for and he went looking for one that had been used. Imagine his joy when he found one, as he wrapped it up and then when his son shrieked with excitement as it was unwrapped. Good job dad!
Joy turned to shock and then to anger when hours later Mike was approached by his other son, who told him there were “bad pictures” on the device. Pornographic pictures. How could this happen and why?
Before a store, such as GameStop sells used systems or games, they are cleaned electronically of any added material. Usually. Whether this was an oversight due to the hectic atmosphere of the holidays, or just the result of a lazy employee we will never know. What we do know and should have realized before now is that when you buy someone else’s personal equipment you just may be getting more than you bargain for.
We live in an electronic age that makes it easy to take, view, send and store all types of pictures and messages. Access to the Internet is no longer confined to the family computer where it can be easily monitored. With multiple wireless devices being sold that have Internet capabilities, and can fit in your pocket, the opportunity of your child or yourself coming across an offensive site has risen dramatically.
“It’s important for us to explain to our nation that life is important. It’s not only life of babies, but it’s life of children living in, you know, the dark dungeons of the Internet.” George W. Bush
This has happened before at other stores with cell phones, tablets and other gaming systems. These are not isolated incidents and it makes me wonder how many have not been reported? Let this story serve as a warning to you when looking for a deal on eBay or any one of the numerous sites or stores which re-sell electronics. Be warned, too if you are the one selling. Wipe out your data before putting it on the market, or you may be facing charges of felony porn or having to register as a sex offender.
With all our new technology, it seems that you can no longer buy a device without Internet access. Although many of us may see this as a plus, it has created the opportunity for anyone of any age, including your child with the new cell phone, to access material that once was considered “for adults only.” Sure, there are parental controls that can be implemented on these devices, just as there are many websites telling our children how to disable them.
Our society has taken a moral downturn over the years and recently we have been seeing its draw and effects on a younger and younger generation. Law enforcement and the legal system are struggling with finding a way to regulate and/or restrict material and how to prosecute when an offense has been committed.
Schools have content control, as do all public libraries. What about our own homes and personal belongings? We as the adults have the responsibility to protect our children from being exposed to images and messages with adult content. Let’s step up and take charge over what comes into our homes and our children’s minds. Can we shelter them from everything? Of course not, but we can all try a little harder, for their sake.