Whether you have children or not when this story broke a few days ago out of Canada it had to just break your heart. Adolescence can be a difficult time for both parents and children. From the day that they are born we spend every waking moment trying to keep them safe and unharmed. But what happens when we can’t always be there to do that? Sending them off to school leaves them open to anything, and we hope that teachers and administrators are doing the same job we would of protecting our children but face it, they can’t do that. There are too many variables out there. This is why we teach our children safety measures and give them rules and guidelines to follow when they are outside of our presence. But are we teaching them everything they need to know? Sure we teach them not to talk to strangers, and to look both ways when crossing the street, but what about the issues that we didn’t have growing up that our kids face today? Technology is a powerful tool and now that so much of it is available in the palm of our hands, we should have known that it wouldn’t be too long before it would be in hands of our children as well. When I was growing up to take a picture that would become infamous took a lot of work. You had to take the picture, go to the store and have it developed, make several copies…you know where I’m taking this. Today, you just point and click your cell phone and almost instantly, your photo is accessible to the world. While you and I may grasp the gravity of this concept, our children really don’t. Especially not if we don’t drill it into them every day. We can be angry with the man who stalked this little girl, and rightfully we should. But he is an animal and he’s doing what animals do. We have to take the same approach with these animals as do we do real dangerous animals in the world. We teach our children how to avoid being bitten or eaten alive, and we need to teach them how to not be taken advantage of online as well. Amanda Todd’s story is not only a tragic account of bullying, but is also a cautionary tale of how inappropriate use of the internet can ruin someone’s life. She did not understand the gravity of exposing herself on the internet and frankly, most of our children don’t. Television is peaking the sexual curiosity of our children today more than our hard rock video’s on MTV back in my day. With shows like Secret Life of the American Teenager and Teen Mom, it’s not only in our kids faces, but our faces as well that we have to teach them about this and how to be truly responsible for their actions concerning the subject. Find a way to express to your children that a picture on the internet is FOREVER. This is not a subject that we can wait to talk about. It should be discussed NOW, or tonight over dinner. My sincere condolences go out to this family, and I’d like to take just a moment to tell them Thank You. Thank You for sharing Amanda’s story with us so that perhaps we can fix a tragic flaw in our society. Together we can raise them safe. Together we can raise them real.