Rebecca Hagelin

Any parent who doubts the need for great vigilance in our Internet age should take note of a recent survey conducted by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. It found that more children are falling victim to the products of perverted pornographers.

The survey of 1,500 children and their guardians found that one-third of Internet users ages 10 to 17 were exposed to unwanted sexual material -- up from one-quarter in 2000. “Researchers said this increase was partly due to aggressive marketing tactics, including adult pop-up ads and computer viruses that can download material from pornographic sites,” reported Cox News Service.

And an earlier study by the London School of Economics reveals that nine out of 10 children who go online will stumble across hard-core porn. Many of them are just trying to get their homework done when they suddenly find themselves gawking at the waste products of sleaze-balls -- the greasy characters of a parent’s worst nightmares.

Hello? Anybody listening?

Parents, here’s the sobering truth: If your child is exposed to garbage, pimps and perverts while online in the comfort of your home, it’s your fault.

You can’t blame the government; you can’t blame Microsoft or IBM or the FCC or even the World Wide Web. You are the guardian of your home. You are paying for the Internet service, the computers, etc. So while you can’t drain the overall culture sewage in which our nation and youth are immersed, you can -- for crying out loud -- control the spout in your own home.

The easiest way to do that is to put a reliable filter on your computer. Just as a water filter protects from many pollutants, so an Internet filter protects from most pornography. The key word here is “reliable” -- I encourage you to check out the many services available through It’s the system I use in my home. You also have to realize that you are the ultimate filter. It’s your responsibility to monitor for garbage that might slip through, to warn your kids about online predators, and to teach them not to talk to strangers online. Mom, Dad, when you fail to take such action, it’s as if you have given the perverts your permission to stalk your sons and daughters.

While you’re taking the simple but daily steps to protect your home, you might wonder if anyone is holding the predators accountable for using and abusing our children and their youth.

Rebecca Hagelin

Rebecca Hagelin is a public speaker on the family and culture and the author of the new best seller, 30 Ways in 30 Days to Save Your Family.
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