An absolutely horrifying statistic was revealed on television this week — there are 50,000 clicks every day from New Zealanders trying to access child sex images.
Detective Senior Sergeant John Michael said on television this week it was "really concerning".
Surely that's an understatement. It's downright alarming.
The head of the police unit in charge of tackling child pornography said some of the clicks could be for the right reasons, for instance law enforcement or academics.
Let's be generous here and say that 10,000 are for the right reason — that still leaves 40,000 clicks every day. That's 280,000 clicks a week that are sinister.
With Christmas just days away no doubt lots of children will be excited to receive their first phone.
Apparently children as young as eight years old have phones. I do understand that for some families it's the best way they can keep in touch with their children and parents most likely feel better knowing their child can contact them whenever they need to.
But in trying to keep these children safe they could also be opening them up to these ghastly (I could think of better words but they are not fit for print) predators.
It doesn't matter how many times you tell a child - or a teenager for that matter - not to become friends with anyone they don't know on social media, it still happens.
Children are trusting. They take things at face value and if somebody named Susie says they want to be friends and they know all their other friends, and like doing gymnastics just like them, they believe them.
In their innocence they open the door to end their innocence.
One of the problems parents face is the very act of warning children gives some of them a reason not to tell when they do have strangers trying to talk to them. Perhaps the child thinks that by telling they will lose their device. Far better for parents to monitor every day who their child has been interacting with.
This does take time but maybe it could be shared around between mum, dad, aunts uncles and older siblings.
Also I think it's a great idea for grandparents to ask a few questions as well.
"Made any new friends on your phone lately?" You never know it might just stop something terrible happening to a precious family member.
The police only become involved in most instance when the offending has already started.
Be vigilant. Supervise, watch, ask questions. Don't let your child or grandchild become a victim of these despicable people.
Now on a far nicer note — a huge shout out to Karamu High School students and staff.
I was blown away on Monday when a group of students and staff arrived at our office in Hasting to drop off some boxes for the Christmas Cheer Appeal.
The banana boxes just kept coming and coming as the students practically filled up one of our meeting rooms with these wonderfully decorated banana boxes packed with goodies. There was even a Snoopy House.
In all they donated 30 boxes of non-perishable food, toiletries, Christmas crackers and toys.
About 1050 households from Napier and Hastings, nominated by community agencies, will benefit from the Christmas Cheer Appeal
Just brilliant. It reminds me of what a fantastic community I live in.
• Linda Hall is assistant editor at Hawke's Bay Today.