There have been quite a few incidents of late in which, it would seem, if parents had been paying attention to their children's Internet activity, disaster could have been averted. For example:
DETROIT - A 16-year-old Michigan girl who flew to the Middle East to be with a West Bank man she met on the popular website MySpace.com returned home from Jordan on Friday after U.S. officials persuaded her to board a return flight.
Television news footage showed Katherine Lester waving as she walked across the tarmac at Bishop International Airport in Flint late Friday.
She was taken to a private area to be reunited with her family.
Don't we have enough men who fit the "redneck, wife-beating, non-child-support-paying" stereotype image for young women these days? Is there some reason why a 16-year-old girl would need to go to Amman, Jordan, to find her soul mate, and her future in a Burqa?
I mean, the girl is from Michigan. If she wants a Middle-Eastern man so bad, all she had to do was go cruising in nearby Dearborn, the Islamic center of the United States.
Now to my real point here. I wonder, where were her parents during the planning stage of this rendezvous? Sure, they noticed when she went missing, but what were they doing prior to that? Did they have any clue that she was talking with some guy in Jordan?
MySpace, Xanga, and other social meet-up sites have become the new "back allies" and "seedy places" of previous generations. Our youth are flocking to them like moths to a flame, and too many of them are getting burned.
The Internet is a godsend for child molesters and pedophiles. Not only can they target your children online, but then your children are naïve enough to post their phone numbers on the Internet, From that information, sexual predators can get a map right to your house via Google.
It's no secret that people misrepresent themselves on the Internet. I heard an ad making fun of the Internet dating scene the other day for that exact reason. This has worked both for and against the persons out to do harm to your children. There have been several episodes of Dateline that have illustrated how to catch Internet predators by luring them to a fictional teenager. For each one of those men caught via a sting, how many young women have been victimized by such men?
Parents, we need to be watching our children’s Internet activities far closer than we are.