Will You Be My Friend ?

This past week one of our large television stations in Ontario, did a story on the predators that surf the social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others.

While I knew this type of situation occurred I didn’t realize the enormity of it.

I am familiar with Facebook and not so much with the other ones. I know that weekly I receive requests from someone wanting to be my ‘friend’. However, if I don’t recognize the name of the person, I will go to their profile page just to ensure that for some reason I perhaps do know them but have forgotten because it was a long time ago that we had contact. If I find that I do not know them I of course ‘decline’ their invitation.

Unfortunately young people do not bother for the most part to do that. They blatantly accept any request. I think somehow it’s like a status symbol for many in that the more friends the better. When I checked three of my grand children’s sites, one had over 300, one over 500 and one over 800 ‘friends’.

In the story the mother of a 12 year old boy became suspicious when her son’s behavior became different than normal and so one day she decided to check his Facebook site, and questioned one of his ‘friends’. It seemed the conversation that had been going on was too explicit, and decided to call the police. She told her son and he was adamant that this friend was a 14 year old girl, and thought his mother was wrong in her belief.

When the police looked at his site, they knew that they were dealing with a predator right away and proceeded to ‘take over’ the boy’s account for the next month or so. They finally arranged so the other person wanted to meet the ‘boy’ and proceeded to do so. The investigation finally came to a conclusion and it was found that it was a 38 year old man who happened to be a teacher at the school that the boy attended. It also happened that several other students at the school were also interacting with the same teacher on Facebook.

I won’t go into all the facts, only that at the home of this man they found 18 computer hard drives, 9500 pictures and 2000 movies, many pornographic, of young people lured into compromising photos and videos. According to this special task force of the police department there are over 750,000 predators surfing the web in the various media sources.

The reason I wrote this was to just say that if you have children or know any young people, that perhaps it is a good idea to talk to them and monitor the information they provide to others on the computer.

My grandchildren are all young adults now, and so not quite so vulnerable but in any case I think I’ll have a conversation or two about the number of  ‘friends’ they have on Facebook!

19 thoughts on “Will You Be My Friend ?

  1. You hear about this all the time now, sad to say. My GS is not allowed to have a Facebook page or any other social site until he’s older, and Son still hasn’t decided how old that will be. When we lived in caves we worried about lions and other predators taking our children. During the Renaissance we worried disease and injury. Now we have to protect their emotional and physical being. And the predators out there have a whole new world to use to exploit children and our kids are far too vulnerable. We had become complacent, I think we’re waking up.

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  2. That is a really good idea about having the conversation with your grand kids. My nephew once had someone on his friends list I seen him on a post talking to his friends about “her” and new my brother his father was not one of his friends. So I took it into my own hands and checked “her” out and could tell as a adult that her profile was suspicious and even saw where she was friends with all his other friends. I called my brother up and he took over I am not sure what happened but I did see where she wasn’t on his sight anymore or where I could find her! Scary.

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  3. That story was scary! The boys teacher!? Creepy. My middle son has the gift of identifying “Stranger danger” from a young age. He is severely hearing impaired in both ears, so he can not hear, so he watches. One time, we were at the store, and I turned around to look at sun glasses. My son was watching this man, who was looking at my purse. My son grabbed my purse and came to my side and told me. Unfortunalely, we can’t see the creepo’s on the web. Thanks for sharing this story. Maybe it will heighten our awareness.

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  4. Thanks for the reminder, Diane. a parent really has to be vigilant about their children’s interactions these days and better yet, be well attuned to the behavior of their kids so they can tell when there is a problem developing somewhere.

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  5. This is quite remarkable and I suppose there is a rising consciousness about ‘protecting’ our on-line privacy parameters. In fact my current post titled ‘The Value of Privacy?’ is precisely about this aspect.

    Great post. Just goes to show how much could be achieved by just relying on one’s common sense. is it not?

    Shakti

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    • You’re absolutely right.. If we give our children the right to social media… we better be prepared to monitor them… I know my daughter does with her teenagers… actually she hasn’t yet even allowed them on facebook.. but she does watch their emails, texts on phone etc. and they are aware that this is part of the deal…. I’ll have a look at your post about privacy…. Diane

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