A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, it was enough for parents to pay attention to their children's friends. Some, as Mom and Dad knew, might be nothing but trouble.
Those were the good old days, in a way. Now, it is not enough to keep an eye on friends from school or in the neighborhood. Now, the Internet gives predators an invitation into our homes and our children's lives.
One Sunday morning recently, a 12-year-old girl was reported missing in Putnam County, W.Va. Sheriff's Department deputies who were called to investigate were told about a car parked near the child's home that seemed suspicious.
When they got to the car, they found a 33-year-old man from Michigan engaged in sexual activity with the girl.
After he was arrested, deputies learned he and the girl had made contact through an online game, ''World of Warcraft.'' The man planned to take the child back to Michigan.
People need to be aware this sort of thing goes on every day, one of the deputies warned.
Sadly, that is true. Perverted adults use the Internet to victimize children all the time.
That means parents must be more vigilant.
Do you know where - on the Internet - your child is? If not, find out. Don't let an online predator become your and your child's worst nightmare.