In honor of the publication of her book Free-Range Kids: Giving Our Children the Freedom We Had Without Going Nuts with Worry, Lenore Skenazy conducts a great, reasoned interview with Salon about child-rearing without fear:
David Finkelhor, the head of the Crimes Against Children Research Center, has discovered pedophiles don't want to waste their time just flipping through MySpace pages or Facebook pages. It's as futile as trying to call up random numbers from the phonebook and trying to get a date. It's just a waste of time.
They would rather go for the low-hanging fruit: young people hanging out in sexually suggestive chat rooms presenting themselves in a sexual way — "Oh, I wonder what that's like" or, "If only somebody would buy me an iPod and a lollipop, I would be a very happy girl or boy."
If your kid is just texting his friends, or posting pictures on Facebook or AIM'ing, it's no more dangerous than them talking to each other as they walk down the sidewalk, or at the mall.