Children and teenagers get a lot of benefit from being online, but they can also be targets of crime and exploitation in this as in any other environment. Trusting, curious, and anxious to explore this new works and the relationships it brings, children and teenagers need parental supervision and common sense advice on how to be sure that their experiences in “cyber-space” are happy, healthy, and productive.
Putting the issue in perspective, although there have been some highly publicized cases of abuse involving computers, reported cases are relatively infrequent. Of course, like most crimes against children, any cases go unreported, especially if the child is engaged in an activity that he or she does not want to discuss with a parent. The fact that crimes are being committed online however, is not a reason to avoid using these services. To tell children to stop using these services would be like telling them to forgo attending college because students are sometimes victimized on campus. A better strategy would be for children to learn how to be “street smart” in order to better safeguard themselves in any potentially dangerous situation.