Although it may be true, as the headline says, that the case of the “cyber sex case stumps parents and has adults grappling with the implications of the New Berlin students duped via computer”, we, as parents, shouldn’t be surprised by such conduct.

What we should be, instead, is prepared to work with our children to keep them safe.

This incident dealing with Internet safety is only the newest assault on our children and, in fact, our safety. The whole incident is about “trust” – how we give it out, how we are betrayed by it, and how we can learn to manage “trust” in order to keep everyone safer.

Law enforcement officers have a saying that “trust is a wonderful thing but that it has no place in law enforcement.” At first this saying may sound extremely jaded, but speaking as a retired law enforcement officer, I have to say that at the point of impact this is the safest way to proceed.

If you don’t know the person and are unsure of the situation, a reasonable degree of distrust is a good place to start. This doesn’t mean that you trust no one, but trust is built over time through a series of interactions where the person that you are dealing with acts trustworthy.

We need to teach our children this fact of life: although you will meet many people over your lifetime that you will develop a trusting relationship with, there are many bad people out there that are untrustworthy and may want to hurt you. By all means, work towards building trusting relationships, but remember that trust is built not born.

People who give their trust away are asking for trouble because there are lots of bad people out there ready and willing to betray your trust. Make sure that the person that you trust is worthy of that trust.

Parents, this should be the lesson that we teach our children. Yes, you should be wary — Stranger Danger — but you should learn to trust people who have proven trustworthy. Parents, let them know that you are a person who is worthy of their trust and that you can be approached as a sounding board for them to use when approached by persons who may be less-than-trustworthy.