In Southern Florida (Hollywood, to be exact), a 32-year old Ansen Brown met a 15-year old girl from California on MySpace (gee, there’s a shocker). He claimed to be a music producer and told the girl he could jump-start her career; he told her they would write songs together.
That’s all it took. Brown then bought the girl a plane ticket… she went to the airport and flew to Florida to meet him.
Then, of course, he took her to an apartment – not a music studio – where he took her identification away, gave her new ID cards and told her to adopt a new identity. Then he molested her.
Fortunately, and they don’t say how it was discovered just yet, the cops in California called Hollywood police saying they were looking for a missing teenager, and presented Ansen’s information. By then, Ansen had left the girl at the apartment and was on the run… they caught him in Greenville, SC.
You can read two articles on this here:
OK, so, for all those that downplay the dangers of Internet predators and the dangers of social networking – there you go. But I’d like to add that: if you wish, fine, dismiss the Internet predators – let’s just be reminded here of the immaturity and ignorance of your average mid-teenager.
See, teenagers today don’t know a world without the Internet. They think it’s just there to connect them to friends, and that everyone is nice and correctly identifying and representing themselves online. That is simply not the case. And parents who think that nothing could happen to their kid are just as irresponsible and ignorant as their teens.
It’s harsh I know, but I am making it my mission to get parents to wake up. This is not your pen pal letters or telephone calls or lock-and-key diary or even cruisin’-‘round-town of generations past. This is a whole new battlefield that parents must maneuver to keep their kids safe. Rule #1 is having knowledge. If you don’t want to use monitoring software like our PC Pandora at least be educated and know full-well what your kids is really doing online. (e.g. that is where PC Pandora comes in as a valuable aid)
Don’t try to play the “it’ll never happen to my kid; they are too smart” card. That’s just plain ignorance and laziness. Technology has changed, so should the rules of parenting.
Be smart. Be a parent, not a buddy.