Our first real world internet safety lesson

Because Saturday wasn’t messed up enough…
I get a call from The Zen Master’s sister Saturday night. I love her to death but she is a little bit ditzy and tends to overreact to stuff. So she is somewhat frantically telling me that her neighbor just stopped by because her friend just went to the police with Princess Punk’s “boyfriend” (seriously? SHE IS TWELVE) because some random person was texting him and apparently the Princess with inappropriate and increasingly threatening text messages. Now, let me first say, Princess Punk had been without her phone since Thursday due to being grounded for disappearing off the face of the earth for several hours while she went to said “boyfriend’s” house. At least his mom was home, but the Princess had turned off her phone so The Zen Master and I had a brief period of total panic while we tried to figure out just what in the f*** had happened to our eldest child. Anyway… Princess Punk’s phone had the following text messages since Thursday since she had suspisciously deleted eveything before her phone was confiscated…

“are you bisexual?”

“are you a boy or a girl?”

“do you have a boyfriend?”

Apparently her boyfriend got some similar messages plus a few warning said boyfriend to leave Princess alone or “I’ll kill you” as well as “She will be with me or I will kill myself”

Fantastic.

So I spent much af Saturday evening speaking with Princess Punk’s boyfriend’s mom and the local police as we tried to figure out whuck was going on. Eventually (after a visit to the police station) we found out the person sending the texts was a 15 year old in KY with some mental deficiencies who didn’t truly understand the gravity of the texts that he was sending. The police spoke to his parents and his phone was taken away and Princess Punk and her boyfriend’s phone numbers were erased from it’s memory.

This was a scary thing, but here’s the scarier part… Princess Punk apparently met this kid in a online chat room and gave him her phone number. Oh. My. God.

Are you a parent? If so, you might understand the cold terror that filled me in the moment I found out my precious child had given out her personal information to some random person on the internet. That horrible feeling that no matter what I teach this kid and how much I protect her, I can’t keep her from her own naivete and utter f***ing stupidity enough to keep her safe. It is bad enough that I worry about this 12 year old who has the body of a young adult and is starting to get second looks by men in their teens and 20’s but the added anonimity of the internet froze me to the core.

We have had the internet safety conversation many times before. In fact she had an entire class devoted to the subject this year. SO why on earth would she do something like that? The Zen Master and I reiterated how important it is to keep your private information privete on the internet. We tried to again impress upon her that people can pretend to be whoever they want online and you would have NO IDEA. It could have been some 40 year old perv in this town instead of a 15 year old in another state.

I think that this was an unpleasant enough experience that she may have actually grasped the gravity of our words.

I guess we’ll see right?

Or, say, a 45 year old pedophile…

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: *POOF* another weekend gone « newlifeinvermont

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