Why I believe kids are suffering the consequences of passive parenting



This week my words are going to be so sharp they could probably be used to shave the bristles off a kiwi fruit. So, be warned. And, while some of you may call me a neurotic nit-picker, (and you may be right), given last week’s caging of 26-year-old piece of scum Matthew Horan, the predatory psychopath found guilty of contacting and targeting little children as young as nine through smartphone apps, pressuring them into sending him sexually explicit images of themselves…I have to ask…is this country in the midst of a full-blown parenting hurricane disaster?

  While I know the likes of Facebook frequently tell us it’s working hard to try and neutralise child predator threats, my belief is that they need to work harder. I mean, if Facebook can flag where I’ve been on holiday and what products I’ve viewed online, I want to know why they’re still finding it hard to dig out paedophiles. However, the point is folks, there are social media apps such as Kik and Yellow, aka Tinder for teens, to name but two, (there are more), which, despite being marketed at our kids, are being used by predatory paedophiles. You see, these sickos simply change their date of birth and use it to interact with our innocent babies, and I am finding it very disquieting that some parents don’t seem to grasp this.

  Now, okay, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten is looking at appointing a Digital Safety Commissioner as well as bringing in laws to tag sex offenders; and I applaud him; it’s not before time. However, if you’re a mam/dad/guardian reading this and you’re allowing your young kids unrestricted access to the internet and are depending on Denis Naughten and the Government to step in and do your job for you, then I’m afraid you’re probably way too obtuse to be left in charge of a small child. It is not the government’s job to monitor our kids’ online activities, and if you’re neglectful and abdicate your parental duties to the State, then you’re just enabling the likes of Horan to target them; and, in my view, that’s a dysfunctional dereliction of your duty.

  I did warn you!

  Look, no small child should suffer the pain and horror of innocently being coerced into sharing naked pictures of themselves. When a pure, virtuous little mind is so affected a person can become depressed and suicidal, partly because some parents have irresponsibly morphed, (albeit unintentionally), from protectors who’re empowering their babies, to crossing that fine line to accidental enablers, resulting in some kids falling victim to trolls who cause them unimaginable harm.

  Mind you, this doesn’t happen overnight, there’s a process these twisted, contaminated creeps follow. They start off by engaging in what’s known as ‘bunny hunting’ by choosing a potential victim they believe, (given the child’s online activity), is ripe for grooming. They then target them, build their trust and then get them to share an explicit image, and…well you know where I’m going.

  My point is, don’t make it easy for people to hurt your kids. Educate yourself (and them) about the potential dangers of sharing too much online. Put controls in place now; and, if you suspect your child may have been targeted, don’t panic, speak with your local Gardaí who’re trained in such delicate matters – and let them take it from there.

Is Leo master of his universe, or a back-tracking whinger?

Well, Leo must be doing victory laps around Leinster House, what with his satisfaction rating being at 60 per cent. And hey, he’s no longer suffering the indignity of those splinters sticking in his derriere, what with him climbing down off that white picket fence to say he’ll ‘campaign to liberalise Ireland’s abortion laws’.

  Add to that, last week, as An Taoiseach Leo Varadakar rubbed shoulders with millionaires and policy-makers in Davos, it was almost easy to forget he’d come across as embarrassingly, “putting his posh-boy credentials on display” (according to Fianna Fáil’s Housing spokesperson Barry Cowen), with that misguided home loan option advice he gave us, to go to mummy and daddy for a deposit. 

  Now, as someone who didn’t have the benefit of mater and pater to give me a handout, and who had to work like a Trojan to get my deposit for my starter home, the term privileged prat, was how I put it! I mean, is Leo totally out of touch with the economic recession caused by some politicians and bankers, most of whom waltzed off with massive pensions? Maybe he’s just in denial.

  But I don’t wish to be disrespectful to our leader. After all, with those popularity ratings, Leo must surely feel like he’s the master of his own universe, with the bit being held firmly between his perfect teeth. So…my question is…will he be able to hold tight, or will he come out with any more preposterous pompous ass remarks? More to the point, will the media strategists who’re coaching Leo, (and who’re being funded by you and me by the way), ever cop on, keep our Taoiseach on message, and stop making him look like a back-tracking whinger!