I wanted to post something about childrens internet use. As a 24 year old single mother I used to live on the internet as a teen. I frequented websites, chat rooms, messenging programs. Of all the thing I recall, there are many that I don't know if parents are aware of.
Internet Dating - Is seemingly popular, girls/boys scour the internet for attractive people and start "dating". While some never meet, some do, with or without your knowledge. When I was 16 I drove to PA to meet a friend I had talked to for 4 years. While we were not dating, and I made it home OK. AFTER, I made it home the person became obsessed with me. I had to cut the ties.
Pictures - You would be amazed at how many teens post naked pictures of themselves on websites or use webcams to reveal themselves to others. While YAHOO has cracked down on vulgar chat rooms, they have yet to crack down on banning "sex cams". Not only do these children approach others, they allow others to approach them.
Bottom line, watch your kids. If they spend excessive amounts of time online think of investing in a "blocking" program to block vulgar sites. Some messanging programs monitor chats. I question every day that a teen comes up missing. Did they use the internet.............It is so easy in this day n age for some teens to get caught up in a "love" fling on the internet with someone they have never met. Of course a 54 yr old man can also claim to be a 15 yr old male.
A local girl here years ago met someone online. Since she is no longer with us, I post this in her memory, so that maybe it can prevent others from her same curiousity.