How can I protect my teenage daughter from older men online?

Question: Our oldest child is 15 and likes to go online, which she does at the local library because the children cannot log in by themselves in our home (our PC is password-protected). It seems she started chatting with a man who is 28. About a month later, she received a phone call from this same man. Our daughter has refused to give us the information about this man. How do I protect my child?

Answer: Step one is succeeding at some form of authentic communication with your daughter. If she is withholding information from you about the man on the Internet, she could just as easily withhold information about a face-to-face encounter with someone, or about any of a hundred things. Your challenge here is not the bogeyman on the Internet; it’s the failed communication with your daughter. That’s where I’d focus my attention, maybe even seeking help outside the family (family counselor, etc.). I also propose to you that by this age, there is no information about men and the world that your daughter need be protected from. Information is now her armor. I’d suggest you and your daughter might benefit from reading my book Protecting the Gift: Keeping Children & Teenagers Safe (and Parents Sane).