Monday, December 1, 2008

Is your child safe in that chat room?

Doctor of Mathematics. A wife and a mother. Most of all though - a writer (in several languages), and for this writer, a true friend and valued colleague.

Yvonne Walus lives in New Zealand...which puts her at a great disadvantage right off the bat even in this Internet age. But that doesn't stop her from having a successful writing career. From poetry, to short stories about dragons, to her wildly popular novel, Murder@Work, this versatile author is well-respected by her readers and her peers.

Her concern for young readers, something I'm passionate about, has turned her attention in a new direction. Her short story, Witch Hunts On the Internet is a fictionalised account of two true stories merged into one. It gives you an idea of what dangers lurk out there, how easy it is to assume identities and what people can do with innocent photos.

If you're after advice on Internet safety in general, please email Yvonne at with Subject = "Witch Hunts - Online Safety. She mentions one quirky idea here: Yvonne Walus Blogspot.

Here's a blurb:
Danger!!! Internet chat are immediate and intimate, but sometimes they only create the impression of a relationship. Sometimes they break hearts. Sometimes they claim lives.
Danger!!! The Internet makes many things look ok even though they are not ok: porn, sex parties, talking to strangers. It changes the rules and the way the world works.
Danger!!! Internet People are not always what they seem. When your 13-year old daughter pretends to be 15 and in a dating chat room with a 40-year old guy... how far would you go to protect her?

"I read it and everyone with internet-age kids can do themselves a HUGE favor by reading this one! This day and age can be a very scary one if you don't pay very close attention to your children and what they might be up to online. No one is safe without a little precaution!" ~ Nathalie Kychler Moore


Week 1

This is a transcript of a chat I found on my daughter’s computer. Well, not the whole transcript, which was full of stuff like “random” and “weird” and “whatever”. What follows is only the salient bit.

Tom16: Need to tell u something important. A secret.
Alicia15: Ok… J
Tom16: Not sure if I can trust u.
Alicia15: Why not?
Tom16: Lots of people online aren’t who they say they r. If I hear ur voice, I’ll know u r not a middle-aged perv posing as one of us.
Alicia15: Makes sense.
Tom16: So. Do u have a mobile?
Alicia15: Yeah. But no.
Tom16: A webcam?
Alicia15: Forget it!
Tom16: Just kidding. How about photos then?
Alicia15: Plural? That’s greedy!!! LOL


Yvonne has also put together a contest!

Buy "Witch Hunts on the Internet"
Email her at
5 lucky respondents will receive a free ebook of their choice.

View all of Yvonne's books and stories on her website

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