As responsible parents or guardians, you would never leave a child alone in a strange area, let them visit a city unsupervised, let them enter adult-only shops or clubs or meet a total stranger.
Unfortunately, every time the child in your care logs on to the internet without supervision they face the same potential dangers as they do in all of the above situations.
There is little doubt that the opportunities offered by the web can be exploited. It can allow those who target children to enter your home and interact with your children.
The internet has been called an electronic Trojan horse. It offers education, entertainment, and communication with people around the world - all potentially good experiences.
Unfortunately, it also attracts the sort of people to which parents might not want their children exposed.
With the growing use of internet chatrooms by children of all ages, the threat of paedophiles using the anonymity of this medium to entrap minors has become very real indeed.
Chatrooms are seen as areas where youngsters are most at risk of “grooming” - the term used to describe a paedophile building up a rapport with a victim. The big question is, just how much of a threat do internet chatrooms really pose to children?
Aren’t the people who use chatrooms simply having some anonymous fun and using them as a kind of international school and virtual playground, or as a place to meet and make friends?
The answer, it appears, is yes in the majority, but there certainly is a minority of people out there who use this medium as a way of luring children into their vile clutches.
The internet is a great tool, it opens up all sorts of possibilities and no-one wants to scaremonger about it use. However, we must ensure that, when kids use it, they do so safely.