Myspace can be dangerous for kids…

After tossing her books on the sofa, she decided to grab a snack and get on-line. She logged on under her screen name ByAngel213. She checked her Buddy List and saw GoTo123 was on. She sent him an instant message:

ByAngel213:
Hi. I’m glad you are on! I thought someone was following 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 my imagination cuz’ I didn’t see anybody when I looked out.

GoTo123:
Unless you gave your name out on-line. You haven’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 are so gross! They look like bees. LOL

GoTo123:
What is your team called?

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

GoTo1 23:
Did you pitch?

ByAngel213:
No I play second base. I got to go. My homework has to be done before my parents get home. I don’t want them mad at me. Bye!

GoTo123:
Catch you later. Bye

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

Her name: Shannon
Birthday: Jan. 3, 1985
Age: 13
State where she lived: North Carolina

Hobbies: softball, chorus, skating and going to the mall. Besides this information, he knew she lived in Canton because she 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 she played softball on Thursday afternoons on the school team, and the team was named the Canton Cats. Her favorite number 7 was printed on her jersey. He knew she was in the eighth grade at the Canton Junior High School . 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 the incident on the way home from the ballpark that day. She didn’t want them to make a scene and stop her from walking home from the softball games. Parents were always overreacting and hers were the worst. It made her wish she was not an only child. Maybe if she had brothers and sisters, her parents wouldn’t be so overprotective.

By Thursday, Shannon had forgotten about the footsteps following her.

Her game was in full swing when suddenly she felt 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 her closely.

He was leaning against the fence behind first base and he smiled when she looked at him. He didn’t look scary and she quickly dismissed the sudden fear she had felt.

After the game, he sat on a bleacher while she talked to the coach. She noticed his smile once again as she walked past him. He nodded and she smiled back. He noticed her name on the back of her 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 she lived 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 fast food 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. He sounded upset and she couldn’t imagine why. She went into the room to see the man from the ballpark sitting on the sofa.

‘Sit down,’ her father began,‘this man has just told us a most interesting story about you.’

Shannon sat back. How could he tell her parents anything? 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.’

Shan non was stunned. ‘That’s impossible! GoTo is a kid my age! He’s 14. And he lives in Michigan !’

The man smiled. ‘I know I told you all that, but it wasn’t true. You see, Shannon , there are people on-line who pretend to be kids; I was one of them. But while others do it to injure kids and hurt them, I belong to a group of parents who do it to protect kids from predators. 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 it easy for me to find you. You named the school you went to, the name of your ball team and the position you played. The number and name on your jersey just made finding you a breeze.’

Shannon was stunned. ‘You mean you don’t live in Michigan ?’

He laughed. ‘No, I live in Raleigh . It made you feel 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 she was 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 into giving out information a little here and there on-line. Before you know it, you have told them enough for them to find you without even realizing you have done it. I hope you’ve learned a lesson from this and won’t do it again.

As you can clearly see by this email and post we need to be-careful as parents. It is our kuleana to keep them safe from things that will harm them. As the net and sites like Myspace become ever more popular, we as parents must monitor what is going on in our children’s lives. If my child acted the way this kid in the video did for any reason, he/she would have some serious consequences to deal with. Parenting is hard enough as it is. Can it possibly get any worst in the years ahead? What ever happen to playing paper wot war (rolled up pieces of paper shot with a rubber band) ,playing war with rubber-band guns ( a piece of broom stick, a clothespin, a nail, and some rubber bands), paper airplanes to see whose can stays in flieght longest and making paper boats after the rain (so you can watch then float down the street to the nearest gutter)? Times have truely changed as you all could see by the video’s about how far skateboarding, hip hop, and graffiti have come. What new dangerous face our children in this crazy world we live in?

If only it could only be as BIGGIE Said, Its all good baby baby, It was all a dream, i used read Word-up magazine, Salt & Pepper and Heavy D up in the limosine, hanging pictures on my wall, every Saturday rap attack Mr Magic Molly Mol, i let my tape rock till my tape pop, smoking weed in bamboo, sipping on private stock, way back when i had the red and black lumber jack with the hat to match…. Way Back     IS IT ALL GOOD?  If you don’t know now you know NIGGA…

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One Response to “Myspace can be dangerous for kids…”

  1. sailorattitude Says:

    I do think that it is good that there are more people out there who are aware that this type of internet scam does happen. At the same time, it’s really scary that people are trying to make people aware by proving that it can happen. This is a catchy story and does make you want to read all the way through, so that’s a good thing. Reading a bad thing for a good purpose is a little bitter-sweet because it is so sad and at the same time so necessary.

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