Teens running off with Internet weirdos

I was ranting on a completely different issue over at Alternageek when the news started a story about a missing teenaged girl. Apparently she met an older man on MySpace, talked to him on the family phone a number of times, skipped school to meet him and never came home.

Having your children go missing or anything bad happening to your children is a parent’s worst nightmare. As a mother of four I am on constant alert and I realize I cannot keep an eye on everything going on at all times especially as they get older and become more independent. However, when it comes to what is going on in my home, darn tootin’ I know what is going on.

Internet access? Monitored via a proxy and firewall, all accesses are logged into a system log, AND the computer is right where I can see it. Even if all the technology blocking and logging fails I am still there to monitor the activities on the computer. If they go to friends houses? Yeah, I talk to the parents to ensure that the computer policies are the same as in my home, if not there will be no computer access while my children are visiting and if they should ever think that is ridiculous then I don’t want my kids there to begin with. Same goes with any other policy such as phone, TV, movies, video games…

What amazes me is that this man called this girl’s house and talked to her on the phone. Her mother thought it was just a classmate. Either this child is a REALLY good liar or something failed here. I know, parent’s are busy people! They don’t have time to stay on top of everything, right? Let me put it this way, my children are more important than ANYTHING else. Period. I want to know who people are when they call. I want to meet them, I want to talk to their parents if it is someone who they have talked to in more than just passing.

Take precautions when it comes to the internet just like you would your home. If you lock your door, subscribe to caller ID, install security systems on your property then for all that is holy, why do you leave your internet unsecured and unmonitored? Bad people on the internet isn’t new and it isn’t hard to monitor your family when they are on the computer. The software is free from most ISPs and the best prevention is to keep the computer screen so that it faces you in a common area when you children are using it.

/end rant