A couple of days ago my 13 year-old stepdaughter came to me all excited and wanted me to come see something, right now! I followed her to the computer where she had a message asking if the asker could be her boyfriend. My initial reaction was “You’re too young!” She said, “What do I say?” I looked closer at the screen and could see the broken english that was being used. I asked her if she knew this person. She said that she didn’t.
Okay, so pause here a second. In this day and age of so much computer technology I would have thought that she would understand not to “friend” someone she doesn’t know. She is only 13, so I have to understand that she is still young. However, I was a juvenile probation officer for almost 15 years. I have been to training after training on internet crimes. So my adrenaline went into overload!
Back to the story. I said, “This guy’s profile says he has been to college, and he lives in Pakistan! You tell him no. Not only no, but HELL NO!”
She dutifully wrote what I told her… and added “I’m sorry” to every line. *sigh! He wrote back that he was crying. (insert roll of my eyes here) I told her to unfriend him. She hesitated. I said, “NOW!” So she wrote to said creep, “My stepmom says I can’t be friends with you anymore. I’m sorry.” Then she unfriended him.
My mom was on the phone at the time so she was on the other end of the phone hearing all of this. She said, “You tell Eliza that if she ever does something like this again, Grandma is going to come kick her butt.” Eliza’s reaction was she can’t even kick high enough to kick my butt. I said, “But I can!”
So we went through some teenage, hormone anger for a few minutes.
The thing is, she is probably the perfect kind of person these creeps are looking for. Someone with some self-esteem issues, and flattered that someone, anyone was offering that kind of attention.
My heart is racing just writing this and thinking about it again!
My youngest child is 26 years old. Now I get to have more children and Eliza is one. She is half of my daughter’s age. I thought with the job I’ve had, and raising four kids that I was up on this stuff. It is just so amazing to me how quickly and how easily these slimeballs have access to our children. We have to be on our toes to protect our children!
The next day, lo and behold, he requested to be her friend again!
I know that he took her “I’m sorry” as a possible door to get back in. By the time she told me that he had requested to be her friend again, she had already declined the invite. I told her to report him! I tried to look him up but he has a very common name amongst Pakistani men, so I’m lost.
I am SO GLAD I was here when he first hit on her! I can’t even think about what could have happened if I wasn’t here. It is just frightening to think of how vulnerable our children are. Even with filters and software things can get through.
Please, please, watch your children. Make sure you have access to their accounts. Make sure you know who their “friends” are. Make sure you know what kind of pictures your children are receiving on their cell phones. Now we have a world where “sexting” is out there. I know I don’t want her getting anything obscene on her cell phone.
We can’t protect our children from everything, but there are some things we really need to.