Derived from the work of Sherry Turkle, which brings a psychoanalytic approach to social theory, to look at human aspects of new communicative technologies this paper reports an exploratory study in a new and contentious topic. The research was based on a small number of interviews plus some ethnographic data. The main finding was that the issues faced by young people (and their parents) are more complex than those assumed in safety campaigns. Young people do take risks on the internet but they have also developed a range of practical strategies for countering these risks. The paper was the basis of a public lecture given in Spain as the first of a series of lectures on 'new forms of love and hate'. The journal is published by the University of Chicago and has a wide international readership across disciplines. The paper was refereed and Walker's contribution was 50%.