ViewPoint: Who's chatting-up your child?

It's hard to fully appreciate the growth of the Internet over the last few years. There's almost nothing you can t buy, research, learn, or send over the web.

 That's both good and bad. The bad can reach out and touch you, especially if you have children. Lots of bad people spend a lot of time on the internet, and they probably know more about it than you do.

Let's take action to make sure these people don't learn more than they should about your child. FaceBook and MySpace pages have pictures and personal information about millions of young people, who are the primary users of these websites.

As we've seen on NBC's 'To Catch a Predator,' lots of people you d never want near you child use them, too.

Make sure your child understands that when pictures or personal information gets posted on the internet, the bell can't be un-rung. It's out there, potentially forever, and potentially for anyone to find.

And it's the kind of thing some very bad people are searching for.

Put the family computer in public spaces in your home, where the monitor can be seen, and set up some guard rails for your kid's internet use.

The Internet is a very useful tool, and can be a fun thing. But our kids need to be aware that it's a tool that some criminals will misuse.