SafetyNet Step 10:
Beware of "adult" dangers -- online romance and gambling
The Net is not just dangerous for children. It can work havoc in
the lives of adults for all the reasons already discussed. In addition, at least two other
potential pitfalls await the net-cruising grownup: online romance and online gambling.
While online romance has captured more media attention due to its sexual nature, online
gambling can also cause tremendous damage to a family.
Everyone from Ann Landers to the TV news has covered cases of
"online romance." Undoubtedly, many involved in online relationships would have
found a similarly destructive venue for their infidelity if the Internet were not
available. However, I am equally convinced that relationships that would have survived
otherwise were destroyed because people were unaware of how seemingly innocent
conversations can lead to trouble.
To avoid online adultery, follow two basic guidelines. First, if
possible, make your online forays a joint adventure for both you and your spouse. And
second, treat your online relationships in the same manner as your real world ones. If you
wouldnt discuss certain topics with real world members of the opposite sex, avoid
doing so online as well. This may seem like basic common sense, and so it is. But
sometimes, people regard the Internet as a parallel universe in which their actions have
no real world ramifications. When it comes to online talk, treat the Internet as you would
And for those who find themselves pulled strongly to gambling,
precautions are in order. Accepting major credit cards, online casinos are only a
keystroke away. To stay financially solvent, have your nongambling spouse use filterware to block your access to