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Online Madness!

When Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, who is aligned politically with the right-wing religious crowd, announced he was cracking down on "online predators," the Help Team jumped to his side.

Today, Sun-Sentinel Help Team columnist Daniel Vasquez writes about youngsters who while online are being put at "risk of dangerous contact with strangers." After reading it, I think he's angling for a job on Dateline's Perverted Justice. Take this quote:

"Even children in middle school are very familiar with all the evil on the Internet, but they're not familiar with the fact that [the evil] can get them," McCollum told me this week. "That's why parents have to get involved."

Don't you love the added "evil" in

brackets? Ah, you can't tell me the Sentinel doesn't entertain. It's just too bad he didn't add that McCollum was sucking up to his supporters in the Christian Coalition with this nonsense and that, seriously, if you're kid is meeting perverts on the Internet and fucking them, you've got serious problems that likely extend outside the Demon Nets.

But Vasquez was rolling. He starts breaking down that dastardly kid lingo that, if you see it, clearly means your kid is about to get busy in a treehouse with Chester the Molester:

The fact that there are so many sick and savvy predators online chasing Florida's children is why parents should do themselves a favor and spend at least a couple of hours on SafeSurf.

I did. Here's just a few things I've learned.

Kids love to use lingo to throw parents off the trail: The Web site offers a 12-page list of child-based text codes, including POS (Parent over shoulder), P911 (My parents are coming) and LMIRL (Let's meet in real life).

Hand it to Vasquez, he's recreated the feel 1950s-era scare campaigns against marijuana and communism here in a very authentic way. Bravo.

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Journalist Bob Norman has been raking the muck of South Florida for the past 25 years. His work has led to criminal cases against corrupt politicians, the ouster of bad judges from the bench, and has garnered dozens of state, regional, and national awards.
Contact: Bob Norman

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