Tuesday, February 12, 2008

This is a post copied and pasted from http://www.momknowseverything.com/ please pass it on to your friends and family with children who are using the internet. Myspace is only one place where predators find children there are numerous game sites, message boards and other online communities that children frequent let this be a reminder that keeping kids safe is a job we all should take seriously.

MYSPACE: A Must Read for All who have children or grandchildrenEVERYONE NEEDS TO READ ALL OF THIS and HAVE YOUR

After tossing her books on the sofa, she decidedto grab a snack and get on-line. She logged on under her screen nameByAngel213. She checked her Buddy List and saw GoTo123 was on. She senthim an instant message:

ByAngel213:Hi. I'm glad you are on! I thought someone wasfollowing me home today. It was really weird!

GoTo123:LOL You watch too much TV.
Why would someone be following you?Don't you live in a safe neighborhood?

ByAngel213:Of course I do. LOL I guess it was myimagination cuz' I didn't see anybody when I looked out.

GoTo123:Unless you gave your name out on-line. Youhaven't done that have you?

ByAngel213:Of course not. I'm not stupid you know.

GoTo123:Did you have a softball game after school today?

ByAngel213:Yes and we won!!GoTo123:That's great! Who did you play?

ByAngel213:We played the Hornets. LOL. Their uniforms areso gross! They look like bees.

LOLGoTo123:What is your team called?

ByAngel213:We are the Canton Cats. We have tiger paws onour uniforms. They are really cool.

GoTo1 23:Did you pitch?

ByAngel213:No I play second base. I got to go. My homeworkhas to be done before my parents get home. I don't want them mad at me.

GoTo123:Catch you later. Bye

Meanwhile.......GoTo123 went to the member menuand began to search for her profile. When it came up, he highlighted itand printed it out. He took out a pen and began to write down what heknew about Angel so far.

Her name: ShannonBirthday: Jan. 3, 1985Age: 13State where she lived: North CarolinaHobbies: softball, chorus, skating and going tothe mall. Besides this information, he knew she lived in Canton becauseshe had just told him. He knew she stayed by herself until 6:30 p.m.
every afternoon until her parents came home from work.

He knew sheplayed softball on Thursday afternoons on the school team, and the teamwas named the Canton Cats. Her favorite number 7 was printed on herjersey. He knew she was in the eighth grade at the Canton Junior HighSchool.

She had told him all this in the conversations they had on-line. He had enough information to find her now.

Shannon didn't tell her parents about theincident on the way home from the ballpark that day. She didn't wantthem to make a scene and stop her from walking home from the softballgames. Parents were always overreacting and hers were the worst.

It made her wish she was not an only child. Maybe if she had brothers andsisters, her parents wouldn't be so overprotective.

By Thursday, Shannon had forgotten about thefootsteps following her.Her game was in full swing when suddenly shefelt someone staring at her. It was then that the memory came back. She glanced up from her second base position to see a man watching herclosely.He was leaning against the fence behind firstbase and he smiled when she looked at him. He didn't look scary and shequickly dismissed the sudden fear she had felt.After the game, he sat on a bleacher while shetalked to the coach. She noticed his smile once again as she walked pasthim. He nodded and she smiled back. He noticed her name on the back ofher shirt. He knew he had found her.

Quietly, he walked a safe distance behind her.It was only a few blocks to Shannon's home, and once he saw where shelived he quickly returned to the park to get his car.Now he had to wait. He decided to get a bite to eat until the time came to go to Shannon's house. He drove to a fastfood restaurant and sat there until time to make his move.

Shannon was in her room later that evening when she heard voices in the living room."Shannon, come here," her father called. Hesounded upset and she couldn't imagine why. She went into the room tosee the man from the ballpark sitting on the sofa."Sit down," her father began, "this man has justtold us a most interesting story about you."Shannon sat back. How could he tell her parentsanything? She had never seen him before today!

"Do you know who I am, Shannon?" the man asked."No," Shannon answered."I am a police officer and your online friend,GoTo123."Shannon was stunned. "That's impossible! GoTo isa kid my age! He's 14. And he lives in Michigan!"The man smiled. "I know I told you all that, butit wasn't true. You see, Shannon, there are people on-line who pretendto be kids; I was one of them. But while others do it to injure kids andhurt them, I belong to a group of parents who do it to protect kids frompredators. I came here to find you to teach you how dangerous it is to talk to people on-line.

You told me enough about yourself to make iteasy for me to find you. You named the school you went to, the name ofyour ball team and the position you played. The number and name on yourjersey just made finding you a breeze."Shannon was stunned. "You mean you don't live inMichigan?"He laughed. "No, I live in Raleigh.

It made youfeel safe to think I was so far away, didn't it?"She nodded."I had a friend whose daughter was like you.Only she wasn't as lucky. The guy found her and murdered her while shewas home alone Kids are taught not to tell anyone when they are alone,yet they do it all the time on-line. The wrong people trick you intogiving out information a little here and there on-line. Before you knowit, you have told them enough for them to find you without evenrealizing you have done it. I hope you've learned a lesson from this andwon't do it again. Tell others about this so they will be safe too?""It's a promise!"

That night Shannon and her Dad and Mom all kneltdown together and thanked God for protecting Shannon from what could havebeen a tragic situation.

1 comment:

Tammy said...

I'm glad you put this on your blog. I think more people should be aware of who their children are talking to on the internet and children should be aware of the dangers on the internet. I added you link to my blog roll as well. :o)