A Rockford Mom And Her Story About Online Predators
We all have internet access, which now is included in gaming systems. For one Rockford mom, it was her worst nightmare.
For the protection of everyone, I will not be mentioning any real names. A woman named "Jane" sent us a message on Facebook. She wanted us to share her story about how online predators are for real. Here is what she said.
"For the last 24 hours I have learned all about how real online predators are. My son told me last night his "friend" was going to be in the parking lot after school. What he was referring to was this man he plays gta4 with. A man who told him he is a father with kids a sheriff in LA. Unknown to me they had taken communication off the game onto texts and phone calls.
With one inappropriate picture of meat sent it was still easy to read and see it was grooming. My son told me they talk about their days and "guy stuff" which he said was stuff they can't talk about with chicks so he couldn't tell me. My heart sank when I heart all this. I thought I had done a good job of monitoring online use, restricting access. But I have to admit I never thought of online gaming in all of that.
Well to end the story the local police were notified but not much could be done. My son now has to be picked up from school with person to person hand off to ensure his safety. Cause while he says he didn't tell him his address it wouldn't be hard for him to find him off of the school and such. The school is amazing in helping in his safety, the phone company to change the phone number not so much.
I know my son has special needs but Today has been a terrifying day for me and It is something I didn't need to go thru and I want to spread the word to help save other parents from going thru it too."
This happened in Rockford. He was very lucky that he told his mom what was going on. This is a simple case of "Grooming" or this explanation by Teen Safe:
"Grooming is the process by which a child predator gains the trust of a victim by building a relationship with the child and then breaking down his or her defenses."
Here are some tips to prevent this:
"Check the parental controls on the game console and restrict strangers from gaining access to your child’s profile.
From time to time, parents should play the game, too. Get a feel for the other people who your child interacts with, the language that they use, and whether or not your child is at risk of being groomed.
Talk openly to your children about privacy and why some information should never be shared with people that you don’t know.
Explain to children that even if they frequently talk to someone through a game, this person is still a stranger and should not be trusted with personal information."
This is a real subject that I wish I didn't have to talk about. Hopefully you will talk to your kids about this and educate them.