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How can I prevent my daughter from talking to strange men?

Q: My 12-year-old daughter has a bad father figure in her life. Her father and I have been divorced for 7 years now. He shows up only when he feels like, which is not very often. Even when he does, it is a very unpleasant visit. My daughter attaches herself to any male figure in a room of family members, or a public pool or outing. She will focus on one male figure and attach herself. Now she is surfing the Internet, contacting men between the age of 19 and 35 years, telling them she is 19 years old and getting into explicit conversations with them. Even though she doesn't really say anything, they say very explicit things to her. My daughter has a textbook called "Missing father figure". All the things I have read are happening to us. I have taken everything out of her room like the computer, CD, radio, TV, etc. What should I do?

A:You have reacted to the situation in panic. If you take such drastic measures, your daughter may feel so angry that she'll run away. There is no reason to take away her music system and radio as punishment. You could put a child safety lock on the computer. Please ask someone how to do it. What you also need to do is to talk to her about the dangers of trusting strange men. Tell her the facts of life and let her see that it does not pay to respond to unknown people on the Internet. Give her a chance to join a sports group or a dance and music group. If she meets people of her own age, she will not resort to the Internet. If you are unable to handle it, please talk to a Psychologist or Counsellor, who will be able to give you advice suitable to the culture you live in. This kind of mailing service can at best start a dialogue and guide you to seek advice from persons in your own setting.

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