Adults on Secured Online Environments Term Paper

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Next, the researcher will conduct a query of the computer awareness of education administrators, teachers, parents, and students in the New Orleans school district, then evaluation of documented data will provide a research base of the required elements needed to consider while developing a framework that can be used as a guide by educational leaders and parents for the protection of children at school and at home. Research areas will include law enforcement agencies, various information systems security sites that provide security solutions that can be implemented in schools and in the home, other avenues of research will include interviews with a multitude of technical personnel proficient in hardware, software and network technology utilized for computer security.

Purpose Statement

The purpose of this dissertation is to provide recommendations from experienced practitioners of detailed, hands on instruction or guides that even the computer illiterate parent or senior caregiver can use to set up a home computer in the most secure mode available. Research areas will include various Information Systems Security sites and discussions with a multitude of technical personnel proficient in the security of hardware, software and network technology. These sources will support a Delphic study designed to develop safety recommendations for using computers in home environments where minors are present.

The results of the study will contain a systematic instructional guide, a tool that one can use to establish a computer system in as secure a mode as possible. The dissertation will also include a detailed listing of available security hardware and application software with installation details as to how to better utilize the hardware and software security features. A Delphi study research approach engaging administrators, educators, librarians, and parents in the Louisiana school districts who are expert in computer use and safety measures will provide an enhanced understanding of a growing problem that has developed into potential threats to the safety of our nation's youth. Findings resulting from the Delphi study will provide a framework and heighten awareness, thus equipping responsible adults with the tools required to minimize the potential internet predator risks. Change implementation of computer environments in the Louisiana school districts is dependent upon the outcome of the interviews and observations conducted during this research.

According to Linstone & Turoff (2002) "Delphi may be characterized as a method for structuring a group communication process so that the process is effective in allowing a group of individuals, as a whole, to deal with a complex problem." (p 5) given the explanation provided by Linstone and Turoff in regards to the Delphi research method the goal of the research results is to provide valuable information that educators and parents can utilize while providing internet access for our students, technology is a way of life that students in the classrooms today must continue to understand and utilize as a research tool to learn more about our world.

To grasp a better understanding of the technological understanding of students, educators and parents, it is essential to implement a process in which one can obtain insight into the technological skills of students, according to Lang (n.d.):

The Conventional Delphi has two main functions. That is forecasting and estimating unknown parameters and is typical of Delphi as it was originally conceived. It is used to determine consensus on forecasting dates and developments in many areas - but particularly in the area of long-term change in the fields of science and technology. By estimating unknown parameters, respondents make their own estimates regarding the expected levels of an activity relative to present levels. The Policy Delphi on the other hand, does not aim for consensus but seeks to generate the strongest possible opposing views on the resolution of an issue and to table as many opinions as possible. The objective is for it to act as a forum for ideas and to expose the range of positions advocated and the pros and cons of each position (Bjil 1992). And finally the Decision Delphi is utilized to reach decisions amongst a diverse group of people with different investments in the solution. (p 3)

Significance of the Study

Research will assist administrators, educators, librarian, and parents in gaining a better understanding of the potential risks of children accessing the Internet unprotected and unsupervised. Additionally, heightened awareness of the potential jeopardy to children while accessing the Internet unsupervised and unprotected, will allow administrators and parents to design a safer computer environment. Currently it is the intent of the researcher to conduct further investigation of this concern by utilizing a modified Delphi study.

Nature of the Study

According to one authority, "The Delphi technique has been described as 'a method for structuring a group communication process so that the process is effective in allowing a group of individuals, as a whole, to deal with a complex problem" (¶ 1) "...features of a Delphi procedure are an expert panel; a series of rounds in which information is collected from panelists, analysed and fed back to them as the basis for subsequent rounds; an opportunity for individuals to revise their judgements on the basis of this feedback; and some degree of anonymity for their individual contributions." (¶ 4). In their book, Task Analysis and Instructional Design, Hannum, Jonassen and Tessmer (1999) report that, the Delphi technique is a structured group interview technique for seeking consensus among a group about ideas, goals, or other issues. The Delphi technique is often used in forecasting needs, predicting outcomes, and predicting the future. This technique is intended to produce convergence of group opinion and reduce error inherent in individual opinions" (p. 267). The Delphi technique requires an iterative approach so that the initial analysis of group responses are provided to all group participants who then examine the results and subsequently respond another time in a subsequent round; based on this iterative approach, a group consensus is typically reached (Hannum et al., 1999).

Research Questions

To what extent are educational leaders, teachers, and parents aware of potential risks to children during unprotected and unsupervised access to the Internet? Heightened awareness of potential predator risks to children while accessing the Internet unsupervised and unprotected is a vulnerability that will become a reality through further investigation of the issue. Through research utilizing a phenomenal approach the potential risks and their consequences of the issues will then exist in the minds of all concerned, providing substantial significance and heightened sensitivity to the issues addressed, this accomplished through emphasizing a focus on the subjective experiences and enlightened understanding of the issues in the minds of administrators, educators, librarians and parents.

Research Questions/Hypothesis

What concerns do computer aware parents and teachers have about child safety on the internet

Do computer aware parents and teachers currently apply strategies and make adaptations to improve safety for children online?

What suggestions can computer aware teachers and parents make about improving child safety online?

Do computer aware parents and teachers recommend any changes in the way the children use the internet in schools and in the home?

How do computer aware parents and teachers envision the future use of the internet by children in the home and at school?

Conceptual Framework

The conceptual framework used for this study was an exploratory approach. According to Atkinson (1995), an "exploratory methodology is designed to uncover aspects of data that should generate questions" (p. 77). Furthermore, Thomas (1998) emphasizes that an exploratory research methodology may provide the researcher with some serendipitous findings: "Some studies qualify as exploratory investigations because the researchers are guided only by very general questions rather than by specific hypotheses to test or precise questions to answer. As a consequence, interpretations of exploratory studies often include unanticipated conclusions" (p. 268).

Definition of Terms

Computer Crimes. The U.S. Department of Justice broadly defines computer crime as "any violations of criminal law that involve a knowledge of computer technology for their perpetration, investigation, or prosecution"; because of the diversity of computer-related offenses, a narrower definition would not be adequate (Kim, Lusthaus & Wallace, 2005).

CME. Center for Media Education.

CEOS. Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section.

DOJ. Department of Justice.

FTC. Federal Trade Commission.


For the purposes of this study, it will be assumed that all children of eligible age will be enrolled in a school appropriate for their age and learning levels; it will also be assumed that these students have some level of access to the Internet, and that some of this access will not be entirely supervised by adults.


Although the general scope of this study will extend to predation of children online in the United States and other countries, the primary focus will remain on the U.S.


This chapter introduced the topic under consideration, the importance of its investigation and what problems would be addressed, including the significance, nature and scope of the proposed study. The study's guiding research questions and rationale were followed by a description of the study's assumptions and scope. Chapter two below provides a critical review of the peer-reviewed and scholarly literature concerning current trends in…[continue]

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