Last week, after a workshop in Brussels, someone from the organisation of the event approached me with the question "Are my children safe on Social Media ?"
I think it's a sign of the times that we worry a bit too much. When I was a little boy, I was always out and about, playing with friends. Later, as a teenager, I only came home to eat and sleep.
A lot could have happened out there, but like most others I survived.
Yes, I'm pretty sure child abusers are using all possible tools to communicate with children.
In the old days they would sit on park benches and try to attract children with candy. Today they might start a conversation on one of the popular social networks among children and teenagers.
The good news is you have control. In the old days there was little or no control about who your children would meet on the streets. On a network like Facebook you have the ability to remove people from your network, block people and even report people which will bring them in trouble !
I would advice that until a certain age children would use the family computer which is placed in the living room where there is a lot of 'social control'.
Last but not least, you can also install Parental Control software which makes it easier to control the internet-usage of your children.
Conclusion : There will always be abuse because Internet is just a part of society. The good news is you have more means of control compared to the old days when children were out on the streets whole day long.