It's a sad statistic, but hundreds of unsuspecting kids are lured away from home every year by strangers they meet in online chat rooms.
As frightening as this seems, it gets scarce attention in the media. We often hear about missing children, but only occasionally do we actually hear of a chat room connection.
Chat rooms are very popular because they are an easy way to talk to others annonymously. Anyone can enter a chat room with an identity- real names are rarely, if ever, given. A shy person, for example, someone who finds it hard to talk to others in person, may find it much easier to communicate because they can hide behind their identity, which gives them a sense of security.
But hiding behind an identity also poses a very real danger
for young, immature minds which can be easily influenced.
To put it in the vernacular, "bad guys" hide behind identities, too. Men, and sometimes women, who have less than noble interests in mind. These people prey on young teens, looking for their next victim.
Once they find one, they can be oh, so persuasive! They get to know the kids, often flattering them, complimenting them, saying nice things about them and to them. They know exactly what to say and how to say it.
Soon, they've drawn them into their web and the kids fall for whatever they tell them, hook, line, and sinker.
The next thing you know- another youngster has gone missing.
All too often, they are never seen alive again.
I realize this is a very graphic way of putting things, but how else can I impress upon anyone just how real this is? The Internet is a DANGEROUS place for our kids!
The tragedy is in almost every case it could have been prevented, if parents had taken proper precautions.
However, none of us wants to watch our kids "like a hawk"! We want them to have a measure of freedom, and that's only right and proper. But there is a simple process whereby you CAN give your kids a great deal of freedom, while at the same time protecting them.
Software is available now that allows you, the parent, to control where your kids go, what they do, who they talk to online. It's inexpensive, and it works! With it you can block unwanted or prohibited sites, prevent downloading of unsafe programs, eliminate unwanted or unsafe email. Since it's also password protected, and YOU set the password, your kids cannot unblock what you've blocked.
Most of this software is also inexpensive, and some of it can be instantly downloaded for immediate protection. There are several places online where it can be purchased, but one word of caution: Be certain the seller includes a guarantee with it, because some of it is bogus! (Yes, there are people who will even rip you off when it comes to protecting your kids!)
Last year, over 1,000 young people became victims of pedophiles and deviants lurking in chat rooms. This year the number could go higher than that. Please take action now to protect your kids. Don't let them become the next victim!
David Hallett is a ten year veteran of the internet. As president and CEO of TakeBackTheInternet.com, he is working to make the internet a safer place for everyone.