FROM EC horror comic books to video nasties, every generation has its own version of a moral panic.

Given how popular it is with young people, it's not surprising that the first moral panic of the 21st Century should involve online entertainment.

Any parent will tell you that today's children will happily spend all their free time watching YouTube videos and playing online games.

Kids love escaping into a make-believe world. It's usually a blessed relief from the pressures of real-life. Once upon a time that instrument was a book or a comic, now it's more likely to be a phone or a tablet.

It's important to keep our fears about online gaming in perspective. The UK has a ratings system, similar to the ratings used for films, to ensure children cannot access inappropriate content. If parents are prepared to buy 18-rated games for their off-spring, then that's a parenting issue not a reason for a moral panic.

That said, online entertainment does present a set of new problems. You don't get cyber-bullying, identity theft, credit card fraud or hidden fees with a book, a comic or a DVD. Nor do you meet online predators.

The best way parents can keep kids safe online is to get involved. Make sure you know what they are doing and who they are doing it with. Establish an early dialogue, understand the risks and look for warning signs.

If you don't know what to do – there are plenty of places to find out (most of them online). We don't need to outlaw internet entertainment – just bad parenting.