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Internet Safety

 

Chat Nightmares of 2004 - Parents Beware of Internet Predators

February March April May June
July August September October November December

So you think your kids are safe on the computer? You think your spouse isn't having a little online cyber affair? Well we have got some news for you We have put together a small portion of news stories that we came across in 2004 and compiled them here just for you. It is our firm belief that if your children or spouse are spending more time on the Internet typing their lives away than they are with you then you have a right to know what they are doing. When they leave the house you usually know what they are doing right? Leaving the house and going online are the same thing only the Internet may very well be more dangerous, especially for kids.
Don't go away, read a couple headlines from January 2004:

 

Teen lured on Net
Suspect drugged, taped teen, police say

The story starts like this:
A 16-year-old Winnipeg girl was allegedly lured from her home by a man she met on the Internet who drugged her, drove her outside city limits, and then videotaped himself sexually assaulting her.
Apparently this girl never met this man before talking to him online. He had lured her into meeting him then he drugged her and taped himself sexually assaulting her. She will have problematic memories of that moment for the rest of her life and the worst part is that it could have been avoided.

Coach sentenced for Internet offense

This is a boys and girls basketball coach. The story goes like this:
The coach was sentenced in Rockingham Superior Court to nine months in jail for luring young boys over the Internet. He pleaded guilty to two counts of illegal use of a computer by asking minors to participate in sexual acts over the Internet. He faces up to seven years in prison.
This was a coach, an icon to your kids trying to lure young boys. It took at least four students to complain before an investigation got started. We were lucky he got caught before any damage was done. That's not always the case though as you will soon find out.

A trained, alert parent would have noticed something was amiss. Parents are the front line of defense against all sorts of predators and should stay alert for the warnings signs. Nervous behavior or attempts to hide Internet activity are signs a child is trying to hide something. If your child becomes secretive or turns off the computer or closes an application whenever you come into the room, be suspicious be very suspicious.

Make sure the computer is in a place where you can see what is going on. The bedroom is the worst possible place for a teenager's computer. If keeping the computer on a visible area is not an option, then there are other options I'll discuss later. For now, lets see what February 2004 had for Internet news stories:

CHAT ROOM SICKO
Exclusive: Net Nightmare Every Parent Fears

The story starts like this:
Little Chloe Michaels was only 11 years old when he met her. But that didn't matter to sick Glen Parker. After months exchanging messages in an Internet chat room he was finally going to have his evil way.
Chloe first started going into Internet chat rooms after her mother Cathy, a teacher, bought a computer to help with her homework. Each evening when she'd finished her schoolwork she would then log on to chat.
The chat ended like this:
After it was all over he dumped her, terrified, distraught…and pregnant…
Of course the mother was devastated. You think mom, being a teacher, would have been watching her 11 year old a little better. Later in the news story:
Cathy says: "It's every parent's nightmare. The Internet is totally banned in this house now. If parents have got the Internet they should be standing behind their child to find out exactly what they are looking at.

Banning the Internet completely is a little extreme and it would be nice if parents could stand behind their child every minute they are on the computer but that isn't always possible. So what is a parent to do? Don't worry there are some options. Let's see what happened in March of 2004:

Florida Man Arrested for Enticing Heartland Boy

A couple excerpts from the news story:
An interstate trip lands a Florida man behind bars after allegedly meeting up with a 13-year-old Cape Girardeau boy for sex. Archillis Boglosa allegedly met the boy in an online chat room.
As shocking as this story is, counselors say there are several reasons why a child will go on-line to meet other people for sex. But, they say the only good thing about this story the 13-year-old came back to Cape Girardeau alive.

Wife Catches Husband Cheating With 4 Women Online

Here are some of the highlights:
Her story is not uncommon. She suspected her husband -- a truck driver who spends days away from home -- of having an affair.
Her suspicions started when a computer entered their home.
"I think as his knowledge increased for the computer, he spent more and more time on it," she said.
She installed computer software called Spector Pro It allows you to see everything that someone does on their computer -- view every Web site they visit, read every chat they have with someone. Now that was a good idea.
In no time, she said her suspicions were confirmed.
"Once I had it installed, I had information by the next morning," she said.
She got documents showing her husband's online chats, conversations he thought were private.
She said these prove her husband was having an affair with at least four women.
The information she got from spying on her husband changed her life. She has now filed for divorce.

How he lured a girl of 12 to fly away with him

The summer holidays were upon her and she should have been looking forward to a lazy summer. Instead:
The 12 year old was walking into an accomplished pedophile's trap.
The 32 year old man, a thickset former US marine already suspected of molesting two girls, had met his English quarry in an internet chat room and was flying across the Atlantic to be with her.
Over the next four days police, FBI agents and psychologists on two continents took part in a desperate operation to track them down.
Even from a continent away, he had been able to exert an astonishing hold on the child. She was besotted by him and trusted him.

That is exactly what these Internet predators do, they groom their prey as long as they need to gain their trust, they are a patient people. Which should give parents plenty of time to see what is going on. The police found out from looking into her computer that the 12 year old was chatting online for sometimes 11 hours at a time with her predator. The computer is not an electronic babysitter. Parents need to know what is being done on the computer.

In the previous story at least the wife got smart and installed a computer monitoring program to monitor her husband, more parents need to do that to keep their kids safe. I have a list of the best of them on my web site but more on that later.

WebWatcher Computer Monitoring
Let's check out a couple headlines from April 2004:

Parents nightmare: Man held for luring teen

A young Kerr County teen fell victim to a 24-year-old man she met online. He is accused of driving all the way from the Austin area to meet the young teen in Kerr County.
You always see it on TV, but you think that it's not going to happen here, said the girls' father. Sheriffs department officials say the girl fell victim to the man after meeting him in an online teen chat room. Now the girl is safe. But the scenario could have ended very differently, say officials.
You never think that it will happen to you until it's too late.

Girl, 16, returned home

Police charged a Virginia man Monday with abducting a Rocky Mount teenage girl he met through an Internet chat room.
The girl was discovered unharmed at the man's Springfield, Va., home.
Sounds like the same scenario but the parents had a couple interesting points in this news story.
When her mother asked about the chatting and phone calls, Samantha said she was talking to another teen from Elm City.
"Usually, I can see right through her when she lies, but this time she got me," Michele Carroll said. "I've always known where my kids were and what they were doing.
"She has her own computer in her room, but I never had any reason to think she would do something stupid like this."

This is a very typical scenario for kids today. They are chatting with anonymity and that let's them think they can do anything or be anybody while they are online. As often happens with children, what they do when they are not at home or when they are chatting online will filter into their everyday lives. If a child is lying when they are online chatting, then how long do you think it will take before they start lying to the parents? Not long, not long at all. Let's see what the headlines of May 2004 had to offer:

Altoona teacher accused of having sex with teen

A man, 51, met 16-year-old in Internet chat room. He was a graphic arts teacher that taught at the Blair County vocational-technical high school. He has been charged with luring a South Hills teen to meet and have sex with him after encountering the girl last year in an Internet chat room.
Police consider the girl to be "a complete victim" and have released her to her parents. They also asked state police to obtain a search warrant to seize and check the contents of the teachers' computers.

Here is a must read news story of on of the victims telling her story, an interesting read. Here is the headline and some highlights of the story:

Online Predators: A Victim Tells Her Story

What started as an online conversation between her and another person she thought was another kid ended in a sexual assault.
The Internet is a world of words, connections, and conversation. It is in this world and on a computer that a 14-year-old Fox Valley girl lived.
For nine straight hours they talked through their keyboards and computer monitors. He learned a lot about her, and even watched her through her web cam.
"He wanted to meet me all of a sudden," she remembers.
In August of last year, she was in an Internet chat room, where she often was. She was chatting with some friends when a stranger, cal_night2000, said he wanted to talk, too.
Less than 24 hours after his very first hello, cal_night2000 was on the girl's doorstop. Instead of being a 14-year-old boy, he was a 28-year-old man.



That's a pretty scary story. The two most frightening parts are how long they chatted together and what a short time it took for him to be at her doorstep. They chatted for nine hours straight! There we go again with the electronic babysitter. Within 24 hours this man had found out where she lived and was able to be at her doorstep. Scary isn't it? It's reality though, it can happen that fast. Let's see what kind of nightmares happened in June of 2004:

Internet meeting leads to arrest

A 21-year-old Durham man is in Randolph County Jail facing 13 sex crime charges, including rape, stemming from an alleged tryst arranged via the Internet with a 12-year-old Asheboro girl at a motel in the city.
This kind of headline is all too common but the detective makes a very strong statement.
"The detective said the contact between the man and the girl had been going on for several months before the meeting was arranged. The message to parents is plain, he said.
"Keep an eye on your child. There are programs out there for parents where you can go back and check on what your children are doing on the Internet."

Cops: Girl lured online
Encounter on Internet leads to assault of 15-year-old, police say

A 21-year-old construction worker from Inwood was held on $30,000 bond after he was arrested last week and charged with raping a 15-year-old girl he met in a chat room on the Internet. Police said the man drove the girl around Lynbrook before taking her to the Merrick train station parking lot, where he forced her to have sex with him in his car.

That story doesn't go into much detail except for the main point that they met in an Internet chat room. That should send a message loud and clear to parents: the Internet is a dangerous place for kids.
It's been proven time and again. Know what your children are doing, know what they're doing on-line. A computer monitoring program is about the only way to know what they are doing online at all times. July of 2004 was no different:

Men Held For Taking Teen Girl

Two men were being held at the Franklin County Jail in Ohio on Wednesday afternoon after being charged with transporting a 14-year-old girl from her Pike County home to Columbus, Ohio.
Investigators later found e-mails and Internet chat room files on the girl's computer that shed light on the relationship and planned meeting between them, according to police.

Two charged with sex crimes against teen girl they met online

The alleged victim in the case is a 14-year-old girl from the West End of Monroe County.
Police claim that both men met the girl in an Internet chat room last year when she was 13 years old.
Each man arranged to meet the girl in person and established a relationship with her that eventually became sexual, police said.

In the previous news stories, there were a couple very important points made that should make parents think a bit more. "Investigators later found e-mails and Internet chat room files on the girl's computer " and "both men met the girl in an Internet chat room last year" The 13 year old girl was chatting with these men for a year with the parents not knowing? Enough said. Let's take a little gander at the events of August 2004:

Georgia man admits sexually exploiting Montana girl

A Georgia man talked a Montana girl he met through the Internet into disrobing before a web cam so could see her genitalia. The man and the juvenile girl, who was 13 years, met in March 2002 on-line through a computer game. During a chat session, the man got the girl to again take off her shirt. When he requested the girl to go further, she eventually showed him web cam images of her genitalia for 10 to 15 minutes before a relative of the girl's walked into the room.

Man Charged With Raping Girl He Met Over The Internet

An Alabama man is behind bars, charged with raping a young Louisville girl. Police say the man met the 12-year-old girl over the Internet, then drove to Louisville and took her to an area motel.
When sexual predators travel to meet children they've met over the Internet, often times, they have police detectives waiting for them at the designated spot. But police say this time the alleged suspect had a 12-year-old victim waiting for him.
Police say this should be a wake-up call for parents to do all they can to prevent Internet predators from reaching their children.

The first story is a bit unusual in that the man actually got the girl to undress for him in front of her web cam. Do your kids have a web cam? Apparently this shows how curious and trusting a 12-year old can be. Wouldn't you want to know just how curious they are getting and have some control over their curiosity? Parents can have that control. Here are a couple more headlines from September of 2004:

Missing girl found alive, Fircrest man charged with sex crimes, kidnap

In an upstairs bedroom, the 14-year-old girl curled in a fetal position, wearing nothing but a plaid skirt. In another bedroom draped in black plastic, officers found a bench, chains, sex toys and a video camera.
Court documents allege Sadler picked up the girl in Clark County after meeting her in an Internet chat room.

Physician charged with sexual assault

A 31-year-old doctor faces a felony sexual assault charge involving a relationship with a 14-year-old Warwick girl he met in an Internet chat room.
Police say the doctor arranged his first meeting with the girl at the Warwick Public Library. Police said a consensual sexual relationship began in early September last year and continued for several months.

Do you still think kids are safe on the Internet? You can't trust doctors or teachers or the person next door. These headlines all start sounding the same after awhile. That's because the bottom line is that they are. They all stem from an Internet meeting between a child and an adult and none of them have a very happy ending. Here some more from October 2004:

Man used Internet to lure girl, 14

A 32-year-old man moved from New York to New Holstein for a relationship with a 14-year-old girl he met on the Internet. He was arrested last week after he went to New Holstein High School, applied for a job and asked permission to take the girl to the homecoming dance.

British Man Charged With Assault

The 36-year-old man met his alleged victim, a 15-year-old Austin girl, through an Internet chat room in which they communicated for two and a half years.
Austin Police alleges the man flew to the U.S. and drove from Denver to Austin in a rental car in July.
He allegedly met his chat room victim at a park in her southwest Austin neighborhood and sexually assaulted her in the rental car. Court papers say there were several assaults during his visit.
At the attorney general's office, they tout 53 undercover arrests in the last year and half.
"Those could have been 53 real victims," they said.
But they also urge parents to check their kids' online activity.
"What types of information are the exchanging? Are they talking about music and movies or are they exchanging personal information about where they actually live, or where they actually go to school?" Boatright said.
In the Austin sexual assault case, police say the 15-year-old girl had been Internet chatting with the suspect since she was 12.

These stories show the persistence of these online predators. The first one actually moved and applied for a job to be with his victim. The second one, talk about persistence, chatted for two and a half years before actually flying to the U.S. to meet his victim. They need to be stopped. There's more, let's see what happened in November 2004:

Online Predator Issues Warning

A man who is currently serving a six-year term for molesting a teenager he met over the Internet issued a warning for anyone whose child spends time on the Internet, saying there are plenty of others still out there who are just like him.
"I was taking advantage of the fact that I was older and, you could say, wiser if you want," he said. "I took a confusing time in a young girl's life and made it even more confusing and more difficult."
Eventually, he traveled to Metro Atlanta where his relationship with the teenager got physical. It ended when police found out.
"This is a dangerous thing, they're stealing the innocence of children and parents need to know this. They need to get current with what's going on the computer," said Peachtree City Police Chief.

I think that says enough. These predators are sick and your children just can't be trusted on the Internet alone or unmonitored. Now let's see what happened in December 2004:

Doctor admits sex with underage girl

'Last Fling' PC Accused of Sex Attacks

Man lures girl to car park via chat room

Those are only some of the headlines from December. Looks about the same as any other month, there was a Doctor, a Police Constable and an ordinary man. It doesn't matter what month it is, or what the occupation, or what part of the world, these people are out there and they are looking for unsuspecting innocent children to groom through an Internet chat room. Don't let that child be yours.

The only other thing most of these stories have in common is the fact that they are news stories and that means that the predators were caught. What about the ones out there that weren't caught? How many missing children are there in the world? Would you want to read about your child in the news or would you want to find out what they are doing beforehand? The only way to know exactly what your children are doing while they are on the Internet is to get an Internet monitoring program. You have a right to know what they are doing.

You can find out more about computer monitoring programs here. Don't let your child become a news story.

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