A woman had a boa constrictor for a pet. She got very comfortable with it; to the point where she actually let it sleep on her bed. The snake normally lay coiled at the end of her bed but it started stretching out long ways next to her. Then it stopped eating. Concerned the woman called her vet. The vet asked what was wrong and she said her boa stopped eating. The vet asked if the snake was exhibiting any other strange behaviors. She told him that her boa was starting to stretch out next to her on the bed. The vet quickly said she needed to bring the snake in so they could put it down (put it to sleep – permanently). Surprised she asked why. The vet said her boa constrictor wasn’t eating because it was preparing itself for a large meal and that it was stretching its body out long ways to prepare itself for the meal. And she was the meal.

So what’s the point of this story? Too many kids are getting comfortable with the darker side of the Internet. Comfortable looking at things they shouldn’t be looking at. Comfortable with sharing things they shouldn’t be sharing, online and on their phones. And, in an instant, things can suddenly get very uncomfortable and outright dangerous. If the lady with the boa constrictor hadn’t called her vet she would have woke up with the boa choking the life out of her. Our kids have no idea of the dangers they’re cozying up to online. Here are a few stats:

-1 in 5 children have been propositioned for sex over the Internet

-89% of sexual solicitations to youth are made in chat rooms

-42% of kids have been bullied while online. 1 in 4 have had it happen more than once.

-35% of kids have been threatened online. Nearly 1 in 5 have had it happen more than once.

-39% of teens admit to participating in “Sexting”

-1 in 3 youth report unwanted exposure to sexual material online

Parents don’t let your kids get to cozy with that all the goes on online. The dangers are real. The consequences are real. Stay informed and involved with what they’re doing on the web.