"Making the decision to have a child - it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body" - Elizabeth Stone
Whenever I think about being a parent, I think about the above quote and how very true it is. There is nothing quite so overwhelming and all-consuming as the fear that comes along with parenthood and the responsibility of keeping the person you love the most in the world safe.
When they're tiny those fears can be anything from mystery rashes to worries about safe sleeping, and as they grow older the fears that you have as a parent grow and change too - but they never go away. It seems that at every stage of a child's life, there are new things for you to worry about.
One of the most worrying aspects of modern life for children is their exposure to the online world and the potential dangers that come along with it.
When I was a teenager, the internet was just coming in to it's own and I remember so well downloading messaging systems like MSN and ICQ - even back then those sites would be overrun with some questionable characters who would try to start up inappropriate conversations with me or arrange meet ups, seeming not to care that I was only 15 or so - but nobody had really heard about online grooming then and I doubt that my parents ever suspected that I might be open to dangers as I sit up there in the safety of my bedroom tapping away on my computer.
Today, we're far more aware of some of the potential dangers of the internet - most people are aware that we need to warn our children about the possibility of online grooming, warn them about the dangers of meeting up with people, and so on - but the problem is that the internet is ever changing - everyday there are new sites, apps, messaging systems available - technology moves fast and it can be difficult as a parent to keep up with what kids are doing online.
And it's not just teenagers who have access to the internet these days - children as young as 5 years old are using the internet and this can bring about many causes of concern for parents.
The CEOP have put together the Think U Know Campaign - a very helpful website full of articles that can be really beneficial to parents - covering all manner of topics from worrying about your child seeing something inappropriate online and how to prevent that to the trend of nude selfies and how to approach the subject with your child, and many many more.
The below film brings Romeo & Juliet into the modern day and highlights the need for parents to understand how to talk to their child about sex, relationships and the internet.
To visit the Think U Know website and arm yourself with practical information and advice around how to keep your children safe online, please click HERE.
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