On what part of the world are we focussed ?
Perhaps we are losing our way by paying greater and greater attention to the internet / mass-media and the manner in which they reflect our lives. Too much of our lives, and worryingly, our childrens lives, is being played out via this conduit. It is a mirror of human activity, however distorted that might be in some ways. It highlights extremes above the norm and maybe we fail to take account of this.
Are we dragged into the net-view of the world / ourselves with far more ease than stepping back and taking a rational view of the way our lives are being driven by it. A minority of perverts and loonies enjoy the annonimity afforded by this medium. They will drift towards any means that puts a potential victim or mark in a position of weakness and the way in which we use, rely on, the internet for communication allows for that. There is a lot of sound advice out there for parents to make use of in making the internet experience safer for their children.
Education has to help, perhaps mandatory Net-Saftey classes in our schools and colleges would work? Most kids love the medium for the instant access to mates and on-line gaming etc. And most kids are brought up to be aware of potential dangers in the 'real' world. But, sadly, the world has always had nasties in it and they show no signs of going away any time soon. Our channels of communication are evolving faster than we can adapt to them and ensure a safer virtual world.
Participating in any on-line activity is not unlike having a loud conversation on a very crowded station platform, there are peeps busy doing different stuff in all directions at once, but also moments when your interaction with one or two people is shared by the many around you. I don't think there is a single answer for the potential problems we can all be exposed to over the internet and I'm not sure I have any answers at all. But if you can educate your kids about drug abuse you can educate them about taking care whilst on-line.
Maybe the fact that this medium can seperate our traditional family and friendship structures, whereby individuals can choose to co-exist in both 'real' and 'virtual' worlds, almost simultaneously, and the virtual world allows you to lock-out your parents (groan) or any other individual you choose to prevent accessing your own 'world' for a moment. How much communication is done these days twixt parents and kids using mobile phones, I mean they're great devices for checking on lunch money status or sports kit preparation, but this is no replacement for all siting down together for an evening meal and chatting in the 'real' world about the 'real' world, and any 'virtual' worlds that may be contained therein.
We need eachother even more in these times of technological advancement, but the same technology can pull us further apart!
(sorry for going on and on a bit there)