This story really caught my eye. My kids are only 2 and 4, but my dh and I have already had some pretty heated discussions about what we will or won’t allow our kids to do on the Internet. Its tough to plan too much, since we have no idea what the technology will be like by then, but its still good to think about.
So this 16-year-old “tricked” her parents into getting a passport and tried to fly to Israel to meet a man she met on myspace. His profile claims that he is 25 years old. The FBI traced her to a flight on its way to Jordan and convinced her to return home.
I have a lot of questions here, and I really want to learn from her parents mistakes.
When I was a teenager, I had several adult men who met me online. I was foolish and gave out too much information (my work, my high school, my name) and some of them found me. One started stalking me at work and around town. He’d email me about what I was wearing, and I had no idea what he looked like. I ended up meeting him because we had a common friend, and he was almost 30 when I was 17. It was stupid.
I had another online friend in college, and another one who was a youth pastor (near 30). I met the youth pastor at a concert by chance, and I sent pictures to the college student. I don’t know what (if anything) my parents should’ve done. The internet was very new, but they did most things right – the computer was in the family room, they checked my email they asked who I was talking to. I wonder what I can do to protect my children so something similar doesn’t happen to them.
I know my parents never would’ve gone for getting me a passport at 16 I was a high-school graduate and in college by that point, but they still wouldn’t have done that. I did get my passport at 17, just before my junior year of college, to go to Ireland on a mission trip, but I think that’s different since I had already been living on my own.
Even though it made me mad when I was a teen, I think I’ll probably snoop on my kids like my parents snooped on me I’m about to read (and hopefully discuss on here) Protecting the Gift by Gavin De Becker, so I hope it’ll help me flesh out my ideas