YEP Says, March 1: How we exposed the online dangers that face our children

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Now websites must make security, not profit, their priority.

POSING as a teenage girl called Lou, one of our reporters was able to go online and chat with children as young as nine.

The website in question advertised itself as “a safe and secure” chatroom for youngsters – yet we, and no doubt other adults with far less savoury motives, were able to access it without being subject to a single security check.

In the space of just one day our reporter received no fewer than 30 friend requests, with no way of knowing if they were who they said they were. One user even asked if any underage girls wanted to chat to him over their webcams.

All in all, it was a sobering reminder of the dangers that lurk online and confront youngsters on a daily basis. It also underlined why it’s absolutely vital that parents keep tabs on what their children are up to.

Where once the family computer occupied a highly-visible spot in the home, internet access is now just a tap of the screen away on mobile phones and tablets.

It’s not a case of youngsters “going online” any more, they are almost permanently connected to the internet. That makes it even more important for parents to talk to their children about their online activity and the people they’re interacting with.

It’s also why websites must play their part too – by beefing up security and recognising their responsibility to make safety, not profit, their priority.

Mark’s courage is a reality check for us all

DIAGNOSED with a brain tumour six years ago, Mark Love has been told there is no more doctors can do.

But instead of allowing himself to be “ripped apart”, the dad-of-two is determined to raise more money for the causes which have helped with his care.

He and his wife Amanda have already beaten their target, even before tomorrow’s fundraising event in Pudsey.

Mark’s response to this cruel disease is nothing short of extraordinary – not least given the fact that it has left him paralysed from the waist down.

His bravery in the face of such adversity certainly puts our own everyday grumbles into perspective.

YEP Says: Exposed - the hidden world of cyber crime