The Ultimate Evil

A Child Abuse Awareness Blog

Technology and Teens: How Parents Are Failing To Keep Them Safe

Sunday night, I was honored to hear my mentor, Sues, from Warriors For Innocence be interviewed by Guru from B.A.C.A. Nation. Guru spoke about grooming and grooming of parents by pedophiles, which I posted about Sunday to coincide with the show.

I had already planned on this post about teens and technology due to some comments I read on another site last week. One of those comments affected a victim I know very deeply, so I knew I had to post something about it to bring more awareness to the dangers of the net.

After Sunday’s show, I decided to tie this piece in with pedophile grooming of parents because although the teens are being groomed by the online predator, the parents are allowing it to happen.

I came across this website the other day (withholding names) in search of Summer curriculum ideas for my home schooled daughter. I browsed around a bit and discovered it is a community where people can learn about child issues from experts and post their own questions and concerns.

The very first topic that caught my attention was Is Your Child Sexting? What Parents Need To Know. Of course, readers to my site know how that topic gets me going.

In the comments, one man’s remarks made me take notice and check him out. He is Richard Guerry and he runs an organization called Sexting Is Stupid. (His message on his site, particularly the second to last paragraph, is a brilliant one, and I suggest every parent and child advocate read it carefully.)

There was one comment to the post that, although disturbing beyond belief, provided the best example of why parents must monitor their teens and enforce strict cell phone rules. It was by a 16 year old who tried to persuade parents that the article was a lie and there is nothing sinister to sexting, that sending nude photos is just “flirting.”

Well, you be the judge:

E says:
i’m a teenage girl and i know of lots of my friends who do this a to tell the truth, this artical makes it sound a lot worse than it is its just really some innocent filirting that predator peadofiles have picked up on and taken advantage of just as they have been doing for years so i ask you not to go through your teenagers phone or email searching for things like this because your just likley to destroy the limited trust they have for you and trust me as a teen myself i know that were not that trusting aspeicaly if your a parent that they know is likley to do this so my answer to this is Don’t overreact if you find that your teen is doing this with there boyfriend or girlfriend and if it is a serios problem possible envolving a person Way to old for them….. then take the matter in more serious hands but please remember DO NOT brake there trust it is the most worse thing you can do byebye

It was encouraging that a commenter below her was shocked at this reply, and she had this to say:

J says:
As a parent, E’s comments above are terrifying. This is not innocent “flirting” between two teenages. Seriously, when did sending sexually explicit images of yourself to another person EVER constitute innocent flirting. This article does not advocate parents to rifle through their children’s computers and cellphone, but instead it acts to educate both minors and adults alike that there is a darker side of the internet that they have no idea exists. Again, I think the teenager’s perspective is the loudest cry yet that this sort of education is needed in every school across America (and abroad).

I applaud J for such a great comment. I commented, as well:

J, I agree!!! It would be nice to have E’s parents see this comment of hers. This attitude is precisely WHY predators pick girls like her as easy targets. I run a child sexual abuse awareness and prevention site, and teens like E fit right into our scope for targets – if her behavior isn’t suggestive of someone already being taken advantage of.

My suggestion to ALL parents of teens is to read E’s comments carefully and realize that this attitude is shared among many teens. If you didn’t think your teen needed to be spoken with about this issue, imagine that E’s parents probably think the same thing.

As for sexting being illegal: It is an unfortunate thing that some states are opting to put teens on the SOR (Sex Offender Registry) because A. It diminishes the real horror of actual child porn (which includes but is not limited to scenes of child rape and molestation) and B. It punishes teens for being stupid – and we were all stupid teens at some point.

I am 100% for putting our foot down and ending sexting among teens. I am 100% against teens being charged with child porn. Sexual harassment, yes.

If this means, E’s of the world, that we parents go through your phones which WE PARENTS pay for, then we shall go through those phones, as well as rooms, drawers, backpacks, and so forth. If you are doing nothing wrong, why worry? Secrets are for people with something shameful to hide.

We are the parents. We are the guardians of our children until they are old enough to leave the nest. It is our responsibility to protect our children and guide them in the right direction, not bow out of our duties simply because our children throw Amendment rights in our faces.

If there is a choice between freedom of speech and serving our children up to be sexually harassed and assaulted, we will opt for removing said freedom and any other liberty that our children are misusing in ways that are detrimental to their well being. We are parents first, friends second. Period.

I was intrigued after this and decided to browse through the internet safety section. That’s when I found this question by a member and my temper once again flared:

Q: My daughter’s heart has been broken by an internet romance. What do I do?

I found out about a year ago that my daughter, who is 16 years old now, had been carrying on an internet love interest for about 6 months before i knew anything about it. My husband and I were very concerned, but thought that eventually it would fizzle out. Unfortunatlely, they still have been instant messaging, and communicating through the computer. I know it was wrong not to break it up earlier, but we were hoping not to have to break her heart. They live very far apart, and have never seen each other. But we found out they having been professing their love, and talking about getting married, etc. I also recently discovered from an unclosed computer screen that he (17 years old) had planned to run away to meet her last month, but plans fell through. Last night we told her we wanted her to end it. She hasn’t eaten anything today. And hasn’t talked to us much at all. Do you have any advice or suggestions to help? Thanks

Most of the responders seemed to believe there was no reason to not think this to be a real 17 year old boy, although they did advise close scrutiny by parents and that the parents should demand to meet him. This comment, however, was extremely worrisome to me:

There’s no reason to force your daughter to break up with her ‘internet boyfriend’. That’s exactly the wrong approach to take with an adolescent. For her, the draw is less about having an online relationship and more about rebelling. Open up a dialogue with her to talk about the risks and rewards of dating (on-line and off-line). You can turn this undesirable situation into a productive conversation about dating and sexuality. It’s important that your daughter realizes you’re looking out for her best interests. You mentioned that they have never ‘seen’ each other. Encourage them to converse via webcams and social-networking sites. Internet relationships invite distorted realities; enabling them to trade pictures and use webcams will remove the fantasy element. Bringing the relationship out into the open lowers the likelihood that one of them will do something dangerous, like running away from home to meet the other one. Although extremely difficult, the best thing you can do is to support your daughter.

I’m sure other advocates reading this see exactly what I see, but I will not post that opinion here. I will say, though, that this response is every online predator’s dream! Any parent following this advice is serving their child up on a silver platter.

There was some hope with this answer from an expert member:

Unfortunately, it’s easy for teens and adults to quickly get swept up in internet infatuations and romances. You’re right to be concerned about your daughter’s feelings toward this person she has never even met. I would highly encourage you to tell her to end this relationship. Of course your daughter will be crushed and feel like it’s the end of her world if she can’t be with this boy. However, because they have discussed meeting and running away together, it’s time to put an end to it. She will most likely be angry and rebellious for some time, however this is one of those times where you as a parent need to put your foot down. It’s a matter of her safety and well-being at this point and it’s your job as her parent to keep her safe. Also take this opportunity to talk to your daughter about appropriate relationships and boundaries. Explain what it means to be in love and the difference between love and lust. Keep an eye on her and be there to listen and support her frustration during this time. If you feel that it is necessary, take her to a counselor to talk about her break-up. I know it’s going to be a rough road, but this is a lesson you don’t want her to learn on her own.

This is my own answer to that question:

Prove he really is a 17 year old boy. Honestly, pay attention – VERY close attention – to the news.

This is Grooming 101, dear. Sexual predators do this all the time. This exact scenario is carried out in attempt to keep her hooked, to see how deeply involved she will be (by agreeing to meet him and then willing to try again when his first attempt failed, she has proven to him that you pose no threat to him and she is lonely and easy).

All the time she spends talking to him, also, lets him know her parents have placed no limits and that her parents aren’t monitoring her online activities. You’ve set your daughter up as bait, whether you want to believe that or not.

By allowing this ridiculous “romance” to continue, you send her the clear message that you don’t care if she has a relationship with an unknown stranger on the net. You, also, send him the clear message you don’t care about the safety concerns police warn parents about on a daily basis.

You are the parent. To the point, it is you NOT her who makes the decisions. And if you are allowing her to continue a relationship online with a complete stranger, the result will be on you. She is a teenager. A kid. She needs discipline (self-control, self-respect) and parental responsibility. She seems to, also, need more involvement by the two of you in her life and real life human interaction. Please show some or she will be another statistic on the evening news.

I would strongly advise getting the police involved. They do not take this kind of thing lightly. The very fact that he has told her he tried to run away and had her agree to a meeting is enough for them to do a full investigation into his true identity. Your daughter is in danger. Do something about it before it is too late.

And then this person showed up to make light of my advice:

Involving the police, or asking your daughter if she’s watched the news lately will make her feel alienated and stereotyped, and she will be more likely to rebel, and put herself in a potentially dangerous situation.

I agree with the comment about breaking down the fantasy. Allow them a supervised meeting, or let them speak over a webcam. If she can hear his voice, and see him, she will likely see someone different than she pictured in her head. This will give her a reality check.

Bottom line: No one wants her to run away from home and meet some guy who may or may not be who he says he is. The role of a parent is to teach a child how to be an adult. Using force will not educate her on personal responsibility, or encourage her to think critically about the situation.

If it turns out he is who he says he is, and they hit it off in person, maybe they’ll end up together. Would it really be so terrible if two teenagers met and fell in love over the internet?

(I would love feedback on this one, either in comments or a personal message!)

It is these parents and individuals who left these comments and posted these posts who impress upon us the most that we must continue to educate and press on, even when we are chastised for doing so. The children are all that matter, so I’ll take my lumps when they are dealt me because I know that I have helped that child in some way, whether their parents admit it or not.

The more I hear from parents of teens on subjects like this, the more furious I become. Are today’s parents brain dead? Do they not pay attention to the news, to their children, to their own responsibilities?? What is wrong with these people? The first thing to happen when their child ends up a statistic is to blame the media, peers, computer companies, the internet .. Anyone and anything to keep from admitting they were at least 95% responsible.

Parents, wake up! You needn’t be a worry wort or paranoid to realize the dangers to your children are very real. You needn’t lock your child away and never permit them access to technology. Keeping your kids from being the next headline tragedy is as simple as knowing that no one ever knows who is on the other side of that cute avatar, so you should, therefore, never permit your child to become attached to anyone or share any personal information online.

Would you post your social security number all over a MySpace page with a request to please not steal it? Of course not. Why? Because you know damned well someone is going to steal it! Why, then, do you allow your precious child to post their photos and personal information all over the net? Why would you allow your child to meet a stranger from the net if you would never hand over your social security card to one? Is your child less important than your credit?

June 15, 2009 - Posted by | Culture, Dangerous Trends, Grooming Techniques, Internet Safety, Parents who get it, Sexting, What Makes a child a Target

14 Comments »

  1. There are some ways I agree with you, and some I disagree. First though, I want to address the video at the bottom of the page…

    About all Google Street View (by itself) can do is provide a small amount of “early recon”. Most of the dangers the host there spoke about are all things that a ped grooming a child and family would easily figure out without ever coming near a computer…

    ———————————

    As for the “internet romance”, there really is no easy answer. The instant a child is told “break it off”, you cement their affections to the person they’ve been “seeing”. Happens every day in “real life”, and the fact that the “relationship” is through the ‘net doesn’t change that dynamic.

    The advice to “allow them to chat through a webcam” isn’t the best idea, but it isn’t the worst either. Let me illustrate:

    My (fictional daughter) has been having such a romance, and has only seen still photos of her crush. I would sit her down, explain my concerns (in detail), then suggest such a webcam chat: with me sitting just outside the cam’s view. I would also have her suggest this chat to her crush out of the blue: given the commonality of webcams today, there really shouldn’t be any excuse for the crush to say “no” (unless he’s a ped, and doesn’t have the model handy that provided the pics he sent). At that point, an excuse out of the crush exposes the ped, and gives you the wedge needed to protect your child…

    Is it foolproof? Hell no… nothing is. But it DOES allow you to A)help verify that it’s another child, not an adult and B)put information into your child’s hands.

    THE biggest key here is open communication with your child. If you’re like so many parents today, and your first attempt to broach the subject of relationships and sexuality is when 13 year old Sally confesses her undying love for Joe on Myspace, you’re in a world of trouble already.

    Unfortunately, there is no way of making a child “ped proof”. But you CAN make your child “ped resistant”, by teaching them to value themselves. And being involved in their life.

    Be aware of grooming behavior. Stop and think about what’s happening in your life (such as divorce) that could be opening your child to risk, and take steps to mitigate those risks. Talk to (not at) your child about the threats that are out there, and ways to avoid them (don’t mention joining a convent).

    Lastly: NEVER let your guard down. It always saddens me to hear the reactions when another ped is found working as a preacher/teacher/cop/scoutmaster etc. Pedophiles are predators: they will go where they have access to (and some degree of authority over) children. The above positions give exactly that, yet we (as a society) seem to think the people filling those roles are above reproach…

    ———————————

    Sexting? Ummm… there IS no easy answer to that one, in any way. Had I been in possession of a camera phone when I was a teen, I probably would’ve been doing it too. Again, about your only real hope is to have that open communication with your child (that, and don’t allow them a camera phone or a cell acct with photo messaging). Even then, they’ll likely find a way…

    And again, here is where opening lines of communication early is the best bet. And where teaching your child self respect will go a LONG way…

    ———————————

    Last item: the suggestions made by the kids themselves to not “stick your nose in”. My attitude would be easy to convey: be open and honest with me about what you’re doing, and listen to the things I tell you about the world, and I won’t have to toss your room like some B movie Russian spy. Lie to me, and there won’t be ANY privacy on your life, until such time as you leave for the convent. Make sure this simple attitude is imprinted early in the child’s life, and back it the hell up: idle threats actually reinforce bad behavior…

    Sorry for the book there, but you’re talking about VERY complex issues. THE only “easy fix” is to deny your child exposure to the technology (or their peers), which will only delay problems.

    Or the convent…

    Comment by Strings | June 16, 2009 | Reply

  2. Hi. It’s me. I wanted to say sorry if I caused you any problems on that site because of that guy and what he said. People just don’t get it and Seesee’s been showing me all your stuff and I see now why what happened to me happened. Thank you for speaking up for girls like me. It’s scary living like this all the time. I can’t ever be friends with anybody on the net anymroe. Mom says that’s a good thing *rolls my eyes*. I know what she means but it hurts that all my friends can do it and i can’t because I’m scared and its all because of him. babble babble babble you know what I’m saying. My guidance councelor says I can be in inspiration for other girls like me and let them know it is NOT ok to be frinds with boys on the net. Not that kind of friend anyway, the boyfriend kind. I know he’s gonna be arrested and stuff but its too late. I feel like it is sometimes. All the time. I’m never going to feel safe again. RRRRRR I keep making typos! It’s hard to type right now. sorry. I just want to thank you so much for what you are doing and for being my friend and for talking about all of this. So called adults don’t have a clue what its like being a teenager right now but at least you listen and try to understand and keep us safe. Sorry if I made any problems on that other site. To you but not to them. I’m still creeped out by his comment and like you always tell me I have a right to feel how I need to right now as a victim. Ok so anyway I need to go because sis has to get on and I’ll prolly see you in a minute anyway hehe. Oh yeah YOU GO GURL! Seesee says you will slap me upside the head for that ^v^ roflol.

    ps SEXTING IS OMG! STUPID!!
    pps xoxox

    Comment by Anonymous | June 16, 2009 | Reply

  3. Hi, Strings!! I’m sorry it took so long to approve the comment. It’s been a looong few days remodeling etc… Not over yet, either 😦 . Thank Miss Anonymous up there for calling me and telling me to approve her comment. That’s when I found yours lol. I have to check my comment alerts because I didn’t get one.

    Okay, moving on..

    The Google street thing freaks me out because I did some research into its history and because I am a stalking victim – 3 years and going.

    He knows basically where I live. I don’t know if he knows the house address, but if he ever finds out .. I don’t want to think about it. Seeing my home on this thing last night sent me trembling. I’d gotten over the fear of him, and this brings it all back.

    The history of this feature is rittled with photos of children in their front yards and in play grounds. I believe they have since stopped that practice but the threat was there for a time and is still there. This makes tracking a child much easier than an aerial view. I won’t get into exactly why but I can e-mail you the details later if you are interested. You’ll understand 1,000% why this feature is a gift wrapped treasure for predators and stalkers.

    As for Google, it’s a pretty well known fact Google stands by pedophiles. They go to bat for pedophile rights all the time, so the fact that Google is behind this doesn’t shock me at all. Just adds more evidence to what we already know.

    The sexting issue has been covered here a few times. If you click on my link embedded in the line that says “that topic gets me going” at the end of the 5th paragraph, you will be taken to all my posts under the label “Sexting.”

    In my first post, I liken sexting to mooning when we were kids and making gray scale copies of our bodies on the Xerox machines in the school libraries. I state that teens are going to do stupid things just like we did stupid things when we were teens.

    The difference is that times have changed and things like this desensitize kids to showing their bodies to complete strangers. The dramatic increase in date rape, teenage abductions, and unwanted teen pregnancies only drives home the dangerous world into which we have put our kids by allowing them to push the envelope farther and farther until it seems the line no longer exists.

    We have allowed our children to have no more dignity, no more respect for themselves or others, and it is they who are paying the price for it and ultimately our society with increased welfare for unwed mothers and pushing our victim resources past the point that we can even cover, leaving thousands of teen victims with no where to turn and no one to care and leading to more teen suicides, cutting, manic depression, juvenile delinquents, etc…. This may seem like over dramatization but I’ve been doing this for 4 years now.

    This is the truth of what has become of the state of affairs for teens, and parents with liberal parenting beliefs are why this has all happened. Not a political statement – just a factual one. And don’t get me wrong because conservative parents cause it just as well by being the extreme on the other end of the spectrum (I know about that, personally, as you know.)

    You can find out more about my thoughts on sexting and some facts by clicking the label for it in the drop down menu or clicking on the link I mentioned.

    (Let me start a new comment so I can address your thoughts on the internet relationship … you have me long winded lol)

    Comment by TUECAA | June 16, 2009 | Reply

  4. (Continued…)

    You said: “If you’re like so many parents today, and your first attempt to broach the subject of relationships and sexuality is when 13 year old Sally confesses her undying love for Joe on Myspace, you’re in a world of trouble already.”

    BRILLIANT!!! Honestly, you summed up the reason for many of the problems that are faced in these circumstances.

    You CAN disagree with me, you know 😉 . I see your points well and I agree with them all. Let me expand on my thoughts, though, regarding teen net romances:

    First of all, what got me the most about the comments wasn’t the mere suggestion of the webcam. In fact, I think it’s bloody brilliant and hilarious to sit down with the teen and put the person on the other end on the spot by saying, “Hey, my mom/dad wants to see you. Can we do web cam?” If anything were to prove a point, THAT would do it! I guarantee you with almost 100% certainty that if it’s someone with ill intent, the teen would never hear from them again! I’m sure they would make up some excuse but the more they try to explain why they can’t do cam, the more obvious they become and you don’t have to say another word about it. Your teen will see it, too.

    The part that got me about the comments was that these two people in particular believe the parents should ENCOURAGE a relationship with the “boy” on the net. No decent parent would ever do such a thing, and those that do are the very ones who end up with promiscuous daughters or daughters who end up another tragic statistic. Not to mention homebodies who can’t socialize with living, breathing people. None of these relationships ever ends up with the fantasy ending the other person posted. That’s the kind of fairy tale ideology that makes children victims every day!

    There is an issue here, also, of teens being allowed to hide in their rooms and only have net relationships instead of real ones. We end up with “emo” kids, social outcasts because they have no idea how to behave in society, kids who are cheated out of life experiences in the living breathing world around them, kids who have no basic survival instinct or skills because all they do is sit inside and the only people they communicate with are internet avatars in a fantasy world. They can make up their own scenario while living on the net, losing the ability to deal with real life.

    By encouraging online relationships, it isn’t just the sexual predator parents are inviting to take their child but the fantasy world that will keep them from ever living up to their full potential and becoming a valued asset to the world around them.

    Then there is the encouragement of these people who believe it’s a good idea for the parents of this girl to allow her to have a relationship with A. a boy none of them knows and B. a boy who tried to run away from home to meet a girl HE doesn’t even know.

    Are you starting to see where I’m going with this?

    Let’s forget for a minute about the probability this 17 year old boy is actually a middle aged pervert trying to coax this girl to run away to meet him because his attempt failed and he just needs her so much.

    Okay, no, I have to address this first because this is actually what is going on as we have seen this exact scenario played out time and time again.

    The predator tells her he tried to run away to be with her but failed (lie). Then he tells her he loves her so much and needs her, so can she please try to run away to meet him.

    When she does, he can say it was her choice to run away to him. He cannot be arrested for stalking her or for coming to her home to get her. In fact, he can’t be touched at all. Pretending to be a 17 year old isn’t a crime. Going to the target’s home IS. However, if SHE goes to HIM, he is free and clear of any crime.

    Let’s say he then rapes her, which is going to happen because why else go through all this trouble? He shames her into silence by reminding her SHE came to HIM. And she is scared to call her parents because she ran away. It’s girls like this who end up hooking on the street corner or becoming the live-in whore for the man and his friends.

    Again, this isn’t over dramatizing. This is exactly what happens and you can visit your local law enforcement to find out for yourself.

    Moving on to that other angle:

    Pretend the parent who wrote the post being commented on is the parent of the BOY. Ahhh … see? Let’s say this is your son:

    Once again, you know nothing about this girl. Your son has just tried to run away to meet a girl he doesn’t even know except for on the internet. Your son knows her parents wouldn’t approve but he is going to meet her, anyway.

    You’re wondering what kind of girl this must be to allow a strange boy to do this, to supply a strange boy with her home address, to disobey her parents and sneak off with strangers from the net. You’re starting to wonder where you went wrong that your son is so lonely he’s willing to run away to meet someone from the net, which could be a sexual predator for all you know.

    You see, male sexual predators pretend to be girls, too. They target these young boys because they like the game, they love the sick trick they are playing on this boy who thinks he’s flirting with a girl. Once the boy meets the “girl,” he is so shocked that he doesn’t have time to react as the man (and possibly the man’s friend) grabs him, drugs him, and drags him to his home to be raped repeatedly by himself, his friends, and possibly foreign objects.

    The teens in these situations end up as sex toys for several years or for a few nights until they are murdered and next heard of on the evening news.

    Again, don’t take my word for it. Contact law enforcement, the FBI, and the missing person’s bureau to find out for yourself.

    Most adults would never meet someone they met online. They know the dangers.

    Women know men are looking for vulnerable targets to dominate and sexually, physically, emotionally abuse. They know they could be walking into a situation with a serial rapists or murderer.

    Men know women who are willing to meet a perfect stranger from the net are lonely and desperate and will more than likely become obsessed. They believe women who do this are easy and might come with a few surprises they’ll have to be tested for after their few hours of fun.

    If adults would never put themselves in these situations, why are so many encouraging kids to do it?

    Do you see my point of view a bit better? I should have said all this in the post, itself, but my recent posts have been soooo long. I didn’t want to be overwhelming. Maybe I should have because the message may get lost if a person who needs to see it doesn’t read this comment. I may add this in a bit.

    Oh, and about the video — I screwed up, apparently. I added the Google one last night, inadvertantly deleting the video I had exposing online “relationships” kids mistakingly have with predators. I’ll add it again right now.

    Thank you, as always, Strings, for your thoughts and support. You’re welcome any time! 🙂

    Comment by TUECAA | June 16, 2009 | Reply

  5. “Anonymous”: Stop apologizing! It’s fine. I’m not worried about it anymore. I have pretty solid standing to those who matter, so really, it’s no big deal. I took care of it and if people can’t get over the mistake of a victimized girl, they have serious personal issues to be dealt with that are more urgent than the silly thing you did. It’s the net. They can either get over it or get off. 😉 And I’ll smack you later lol.

    Comment by TUECAA | June 16, 2009 | Reply

  6. I can certainly see your point. However, there ARE good people on the net, and people who are worth meeting. The biggest problem (and you hit on this one) is that we have kids who don’t have the social skillset to actually handle meeting a person (or people). We’ve (as a society) also given kids a VERY warped sense of themselves and others, so much so that it’s going to be interesting to see what the next generation brings…

    As for those suggesting a child should be “encouraged” in an internet relationship, I think you might have misunderstood (or they have a warped view themselves). IF a parent finds their child is “involved” in this, you give the child love and understanding, and wait for the heartbreaker (all the while keeping an eye open for predator “tells”). Very much the same as when you find out your son/daughter is dating a bad influence…

    Comment by Strings | June 16, 2009 | Reply

  7. Well, Strings, you, the folks at B.A.C.A. Nation, my mentor Sues, myself ;), and many, many others I’ve met online prove there are good people on the net. Heck, I’d love meeting you and all the people who play on chat over there on Sunday nights.

    I just posted an edit to the follow up post I made to this one where some person accused me of using these two posts to attack Match.com users. LOL Okay.

    Well, I know for a definite fact there is nothing wrong with gaining a close friendship with someone online – for an ADULT. I, also, know that kids meeting other kids who have the same problems and concerns can be a very beneficial thing for them when they have no one else to talk to. Then again, this is when predators strike the hardest – giving a troubled teen the illusion of being a peer for the teen to confide in, including divulging personal information to find that teen.

    It’s a very jagged cliff to climb to the top of technological advances, and it’s the kids who get hurt the most in that ascension to bettering our civilizations.

    Unfortunately, just as you indicated, we have created children with not only a warped sense of themselves but of reality. The way we did this, in my honest opinion and I don’t think I can be swayed from this, is by permitting and in some ways encouraging online relationships with strangers.

    I feel the wording that was used did imply encouragement. Maybe that is just my opinion but it comes from hearing adults frequently saying so. It was reflected in other comments that weren’t as troublesome as these two, but they also saw no harm in “encouraging” the budding “friendship” that could lead to a “healthy off line romance.” If that doesn’t sound suspiciously like predatory side speak, nothing does.

    It is mostly predators who feel it is healthy for children to develop online relationships with the opposite sex to be followed through later off line. In other cases, it is overly trusting parents.

    I think I’ve beaten the dead horse, though. You’ve made very valid points (great points on grooming mentions!) and so have I. Together, we’ve seen this from all sides, so it’s been beneficial and hopefully, taught people something.

    (and you don’t want to know what would happen to the boyfriend who turns out to be a bad influence around here …. lol)

    Comment by TUECAA | June 16, 2009 | Reply

  8. This very discussion leads to something that has been rumbling around my head lately. It is how easy it is for folks like these to use our own system of freedom of speech and tolerance against us.

    They use the anonymity of the internet to pretend to be who they are not to preach the things that they want to see come about.

    They prey on the young.

    Remember I have told you time and again that knowledge is power. In this particular instance, a pedophile can easily pretend to be a teen to have this relationship.

    They have the power, because they have the knowledge, the knowledge of having already been a rebellious teen. They know what they want to hear, they know what they want to see.

    Hell, think back to your 16 year old self. You couldn’t tell you a damn thing.

    I wont get into all of the woulda, coulda, shoulda’s. I will say this. I don’t believe in being my child’s best friend. I am not.

    I am their father and my responsibilty to do what is right for them requires that I piss them off when they cannot do something that I don’t believe is right for them. Surrogate experience if you will.

    So parents, ask yourself this…. what if? What if it is a pedophile? What if it is someone who may be even worse than a pedophile, maybe someone who becomes obsessed with your child and their vision doesn’t have anything to do with a relationship with your child. It includes, rape, imprisonment, degradation, and ultimately murder.

    Or what if it is a teen boy? Can you think of a decent reason he should have a naked picture of your daughter or son?

    Ultimately, its your choice. You want to be standing graveside going, if only? Remember, you brought them into the world. They didn’t ask you to be a parent. You signed them up for it.

    Now do your damn job and quit worrying about being your kids friend. It is far more important that they live to learn to love you for all the things you did that pissed them off.

    Guru

    Comment by Guru | June 16, 2009 | Reply

  9. The internet is a great place, but it is also wrought with dangers. Parents need to keep their kids safe.

    Online relationships are always dangerous. You really don’t know who’s on the other end. It could be anyone.

    Predators pose as kids (boys or girls), teens, or whatever they need to do in order to gain access to their victims. They even have pictures to provide “proof” that they are who they say they are.

    They know more about what your kids like than you do. So they know what to say and how to appear as a real teen or child.

    One important point I want to bring up, is if a meeting is done, the predator can show up as their adult self and still get your child to go with them! How do they do this?

    … Your child could be in a mall- a public place to meet “Joey” their new 12 year old friend from the internet. All of a sudden a man walks up and says something like, “Hi. I’m Joey’s uncle Bob. He’s down the street getting us burgers and fries. How about if we buy that video game for you first in the store right here and then go eat our burgers with Joey?”

    Your child goes with “Uncle Bob” and he buys your child an expensive video game and gives it to your child. This man is no longer a stranger to your child. “Uncle Bob” has just spent money on your child, validating himself in your child’s eyes, and has become a trusted friend. Your child will go with “Uncle Bob” and most likely never be heard from again.

    Parents need to keep their kids safe. That’s our job, not our child’s. I agree with SMP and Guru, you’re not here to be your child’s friend, you’re here to be their parent. If that pisses your child off, then too damn bad.

    I’m not saying you should only dictate and never discuss. You should always talk with your kids, not at them. Showing them what predators do and how they manipulate and fool everyone is very important.

    In the end, you have to put your foot down and do whatever it takes to keep your child safe. Because I can guarantee you, the predator is doing whatever it takes to get your child away from you.

    Remember, you are the only thing standing between your child and a predator.

    Comment by Sues | June 17, 2009 | Reply

  10. Wow, Guru! Well said!

    I want to say something about the new wave “parent = friend” mantra.

    Clearly, this shit started because the adults at the time didn’t want to be parents. They didn’t want to be like THEIR parents, which is understandable, but they didn’t want ANY responsibility at all. So, in comes the liberal feel good idea of being your child’s friend and “relating” to them.

    We can relate to our kids by remembering what it was like. That’s it. We can’t “relate” to them by treating children who know nothing of the real world like our equals.

    I’m not saying we treat our children like inferiors at all. That’s not what setting rules and making kids abide by them is about. We are the ADULTS. We are their GUIDES and it is OUR responsibility to help them succeed in life and be all they can be.

    Ex: High school graduate A has been treated as the child of the family – given boundaries and enforced rules, taught about the dangers in the world as well as the hope, and encouraged to grow intellectually in preparation for a good career path.

    High school graduate B has never been been seen as a young mind in need of direction and discipline because mom and dad wanted a new best friend. He is raised on video games and cartoons because those are his surrogate parents while mom and dad do their thing, pretending they never had a child.

    You see student A with his head held high, plans for a successful future, and the skills to follow through on his dreams.

    In stark contrast is student B, who has no social skills, no desire to work, no desire to set goals or have dreams or see anything through. He wakes up to the real world his parents never prepared him for when it seems to be too late to get that knowledge. He is shocked and depressed because he feels he can never compete with those who were helped down the right path their whole life.

    Parents – if you want a friend, join a fitness club, golf club, or get a dog. Your child is NOT your peer! They need you and it’s disgusting that you would set your child up to fail just so you don’t have to take the responsibility you signed up for when you cut that chord!

    Back to you, Guru – Thank you, again, for your comment!

    Comment by TUECAA | June 17, 2009 | Reply

  11. All good points, brother. And it goes back to what I said before: too many parents think of their child as an accessory: a “thing” that they own, without actually thinking of the fact that having a child means molding a member of H.sapiens>lupinus safely into a members of H.sapiens.sapiens…

    So I’ll echo what you said, big brother: “Parents: do your damn job!”

    Comment by Strings | June 17, 2009 | Reply

  12. TO PC***, WHOSE COMMENT I JOYFULLY REJECTED:

    I rarely reject comments, however, I ALWAYS reject comments that are blatant attempts to sell products. When that happens, I usually just reject and move on. Not this time, buddy. Why? Because you are a despicable ASS!

    1. I NEVER allow anyone here to call kids stupid brats! WTF is your problem?? Your entire comment was an angry diatribe aimed at how stupid and vile teenagers are. And you thought this would impress me? Look around, numbnuts! This site is ANTI child abuse, and your entire comment was verbally abusive towards kids!

    2. You state that you think I am being overzealous about the dangers online, yet in your next breath, you talk about “cyberbullying brats” AND THEN you wind it down by trying to push your product that supposedly keeps kids safe from online predators! Are you mentally ill?

    3. I visited your site. Wow. You have TWO blogs up: The first one was posted back in February of 2008 and is nothing but 4 videos of Dateline’s To Catch A Predator. As an intro to this gratuitous post to frighten people into buying your pathetically inferior software *coughBUYNORTONcough*, you have THIS to say:

    “While some may question the tactics of the Perverted Justice crew (PJ) – the guys that do all the dirty work for Dateline NBC’s To Catch a Predator series – you can NOT deny that the scumbags exist – and are often too funny and/or pathetic when caught. It’s like a who’s who of trailer trash and low lives…”

    Hmm.. I thought you said I was using fear tactics in MY post about things that aren’t so serious. Pot, meet kettle!

    Not to mention your nasty little remark about people who live in trailers.

    For one thing, jackass, people arrested for child rape include Doctors, Lawyers, college Professors, Judges, and so on and so forth. The simple fact that you think the only people who abuse children are low income families living in trailers is a clear sign you don’t know jack shit about this problem and are only using fear tactics in regards to it to sell your lame ass product *coughBUYNORTONcough*.

    Lastly, you are a disgusting human being to use the sexual harassment and sexual assaults on children to make a profit. You are no better than those who make money from child prostitution. You are a pathetic individual and I hope your pathetic little company folds fast!

    Oh, and BUY NORTON FAMILY: OnlineFamily.Norton.com ! >:)

    Comment by TUECAA | June 17, 2009 | Reply

  13. Sues: Great comment! It’s so simple to see this that it makes you wonder why others can’t. Thank you for posting that example. It’s a great one!

    Comment by TUECAA | June 17, 2009 | Reply

  14. Strings: Thank you so much for your support here and elsewhere. It means a lot to me.

    Comment by TUECAA | June 17, 2009 | Reply


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