What Parents Need to Know About the Dark Web

SYLVIA McCRORY     JUNE 2020

Many people are aware of the Dark Web but have little knowledge about what it is and how it could impact our children. Before you stop reading, thinking this is not important to your family, I encourage you to remember children are very curious and may explore just because of their natural inclination, or because peers have encouraged it.

 Once, when I was a child, my dad was visiting his sister and told me to stay in the next room and watch TV, but not go upstairs. The temptation was too much for me, I slowly and quietly climbed the stairs, I remember it was dark, but I just wanted to see what was up there. I barely stepped in the room at the top of the stairs, it was too dark to see anything.  I wasn’t up there two minutes before I hurried back down hoping I wouldn’t get caught. And I didn’t get caught.  I tell this story to illustrate how children do not need a reason to explore, except that it is there.  Sometimes the only things children need are time, and access to go on their own explorations.

The internet is made up of three basic layers.  

The first layer, is the surface layer or the Open Web.

  This is they layer most of us use. This layer is easy to access using one of the well-know search engines, such as 

Google, Bing, or Safari. Anyone with internet can use this layer. According to the website Internet Safe Education, “Are your kids on The Dark Web?” this layer has “a collection of at least 4.7 billion web pages”. While this layer can contain unsafe content, it also contains much useful information.

For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.             Luke 8:17 (NIV)

The next layer is the Deep Web.

Here you should start to think of the internet as an iceberg, with this part under the surface.  The further down you go, the more dangerous it is. At any rate, the next layers require using TOR (The Onion Router). TOR is a free browser 

which anyone can download. “It works by adding multiple layers of encryption onto your website traffic as it bounces around their network, then slowly peeling those layers off, one by one, so by the time your internet activity has reached the website you’re seeking no one could possibly detect your identity,” according to the website Family Zone, What parents need to know about the Dark Web. This layer contains government sites, banking, and financial documents as well as legal and medical documents.  These sites need more protection than our top layer.

Layer three is the Dark Web.

TOR is required for this layer which goes deeper and deeper.  The activity found here is the illegal, dangerous activity.  The farther someone goes, the more dangerous. People use the Dark Web to buy illegal drugs, buy weapons, hire hit men for murder, harass others, terrorism, sex abusers, sell stolen goods, and suicide chat rooms, just to name some. Child sex abusers share images of exploited children. This is a dangerous place filled with criminals!

But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars – their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.     Revelation 21:8 (NIV)

More Information

TOR is not compatible with iPhone or iPad.  TOR makes anyone using it anonymous. 

The Dark Web cannot be accessed accidentally. 

TOR is often monitored by National Security Agency. 

Do not panic if you find your child has downloaded TOR. In most cases it is curiosity. If you find it, delete it immediately. Talk to your child about why they had it and warn them of the dangers.  Parents should know where and when the internet is being accessed. It is recommended that all technology be stored out of children’s bedrooms. 

Not everything on the Dark Web is sinister or bad, there are people who use it because they like the anonymous feature or are very private.  

As children get older it is important to talk to children about the risks of using the internet, and the dangers of downloading apps without parental knowledge. 

Copyright 2020 Christian Parenting Today. All Rights Reserved.

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