There has been a lot of talk recently about the terrorists who have been found and arrested in Canada, but tonight I saw an equally horrifying report on another form of terror creeping across the globe — online pedophiles.
A friend of mine encouraged me to watch Oprah today (they knew I wouldn’t normally be watching it). I watched with horror as this young man shared his story about being lured into Internet pornography while in the comfort of his own home (I admire and appreciate his courage for speaking out on this). He was 13 years old when he purchased his first web-cam, with innocent intentions to connect with friends online. Within minutes of connecting and entering an instant messaging site, he had people wanting to meet him. These people pretended to be his age, and started building a friendship with him and before long he was doing things that I cannot even begin to imagine, nor do I want to.
He quickly began making thousands of dollars each week, performing live shows, receiving gifts and being flown around the US to meet up with the pedophiles. This went on for a few years, without his parents knowing, until a New York Times reporter (Kurt Eichenwald) was doing research on a story and came across the young child’s site. Immediately he wanted to help this young man escape the life he was living. Today, the young man is out of the "business" and wanting to help other teens and alert parents about the dangers. click here to read the New York Times article
PARENTS: Please do not think "this won’t happen to my child", because it can! Unfortunately no amount of Parental Software you install on your computer will fully protect your child, they know too much about the computers. Be aware of what your kids are looking at on the Internet, check in on them! Install software, don’t let them have a web-cam in their bedroom…have the family computer setup in high traffic areas of the home. Find out who they are talking to online. And most importantly parents, TALK to your kids!
** I don’t claim that any of these will keep you or your child 100% safe. If you know of any others, drop me a note and I’ll add them.