Parents hear about the importance of online safety for kids from multiple sources; the news, for example, is never short on stories involving children and predators on the Web. Anecdotal evidence from other parents and warnings from local law enforcement agencies, meanwhile, contribute to a nagging fear about allowing kids any kind of online access.
Statistics from NetSmartz (an online effort by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children), however, bear out the fact that children are online more than ever. Ninety-three percent of kids aged 12 to 17 are online, and 75 percent of the same age group have cell phones. Seventy-three percent of teens have social networking profiles on sites like Facebook, with almost half uploading pictures of themselves.