Saturday, April 21, 2007

~Everyone needs to read this!~


After tossing her books on the sofa, she decided to grab a snack and get on-line. She logged on under her screen name ByAngel213. She checked her Buddy List and saw GoTo123 was on. She sent him an instant message:

Hi. I'm glad you are on! I thought someone was following me home today. It was really weird!

LOL You watch too much TV. Why would someone be following you?
Don't you live in a safe neighborhood?

Of course I do. LOL I guess it was my imagination cuz I didn't see anybody when I looked out.

Unless you gave your name out on-line. You haven't done that have you?

Of course not. I'm not stupid you know.

Did you have a softball game after school today?

Yes and we won!!

That's great! Who did you play?

We played the Hornets. LOL. Their uniforms are so gross! They look like bees. LOL

What is your team called?

We are the Canton Cats. We have tiger paws on our uniforms. They are really cool.

Did you pitch?

No I play second base. I got to go. My homework has to be done before my parents get home. I don't want them mad at me. Bye!

Catch you later. Bye

Meanwhile......GoTo123 went to the member menu and began to search for her profile. When it came up, he highlighted it and printed it out. He took out a pen and began to write down what he knew about Angel so far.

Her name: <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Shannon
Birthday: Jan. 3, 1985
Age: 13
State where she lived: North Carolina

Hobbies: softball, chorus, skating and going to the mall. Besides this information, he knew she lived in Canton because she had just told him.  He knew she stayed by herself until 6:30 p.m. every afternoon until her parents came home from work. He knew she played softball on Thursday afternoons on the school team, and the teamwas named the Canton Cats. He r favorite number 7 was printed on her jersey. He knew she was in the eighth grade at the Canton Junior High School . She had told him all this in the conversations they had on-line. He had enough information to find her now.

Shannon didn't tell her parents about the incident on the way home from the ballpark that day. She didn't want them to make a scene and stop her from walking home from the softball games. Parents were always overreacting and hers were the worst. It made her wish she was not an only child. Maybe if she had brothers and sisters, her parents wouldn't be so overprotective.

By Thursday, Shannon had forgotten about the footsteps following her.

Her game was in full swing when suddenly she felt someone staring at her. It was then that the memory came back. She glanced up from her second base position to see a man watching her closely.

He was leaning against the fence behind first base and he smiled when she looked at him. He didn't look scary and she quickly dismissed the sudden fear she had felt.

After the game, he sat on a bleacher while she talked to the coach. She noticed his smile once again as she walked past him. He nodded and she smiled back. He noticed her name on the back of her shirt. He knew he had found her.

Quietly, he walked a safe distance behind her. It was only a few blocks to Shannon's home, and once he saw where she lived he quickly returned to the park to get his car.

Now he had to wait. He decided to get a bite to eat until the time came to go to Shannon's house. He drove to a fast food restaurant and sat there until time to make his move.

Shannon was in her room later that evening when she heard voices in the living room.

"Shannon, come here,"
her father called. He sounded upset and she couldn't imagine why. She went into the room to see the man from the ballpark sitting on the sofa.

"Sit down,"
her father began, "this man has just told us a most interesting story about you."

Shannon sat back. How could he tell her parents anything? She had never seen him before today!

"Do you know who I am, Shannon ?"
the man asked.

Shannon answered.

"I am a police officer and your online friend, GoTo123."

Shannon was stunned. "That's impossible! GoTo is a kid my age! He's 14. And he lives in Michigan !"

The man smiled.
"I know I told you all that, but it wasn't true. You see, Shannon , there are people on-line who pretend to be kids; I was one of them. But while others do it to injure kids and hurt them, I belong to a group of parents who do it to protect kids from predators. I came here to find you to teach you how dangerous it is to talk to people on-line. You told me enough about yourself to make it easy for me to find you. You named the school you went to, the name of your ball team and the position you played. The number and name on your jersey just made finding you a breeze."

Shannon was stunned.
"You mean you don't live in Michigan ?"

He laughed.
"No, I live in Raleigh . It made you feel safe to think I was so far away, didn't it?"

She nodded.

"I had a friend whose daughter was like you. Only she wasn't as lucky. The guy found her and murdered her while she was home alone. Kids are taught not to tell anyone when they are alone, yet they do it all the time on-line. The wrong people trick you into giving out information a little here and there on-line. Before you know it, you have told them enough for them to find you without even realizing you have done it. I hope you've learned a lesson from this and won't do it again. Tell others about this so they will be safe too?"

"It's a promise!"

That night Shannon and her Dad and Mom all knelt down together and thanked God for protecting Shannon from what could have been a tragic situation.


my78novata said...

yes its too easy to figure stuff out now days on the net

pharmolo said...

Only too true, Lisa, thanks very much for posting that reminder.

kamdghwmw said...

This is why I do not allow my children to chat on line. We check everything!

lisa41076 said...

Lisa, thank you for posting this !!!!!!!!!! You are an angel, Hugs Lisa

lanurseprn said...


astoriasand said...

I feel this can happen to adults too,not just kids.How does anyone know who they are chatting to or corresponding with if we are blind to it all,without each having a webcam.Even adults trust people they chat with,sometimes this is not quite enough though in todays world. I suppose we all take risks every day.The posting is very good advise to all who read your journals I must admit.Especially to parents with young kids,us adults are a lot wiser I hope .Take Care God Bless.
Astoriasand htp://

inafrnz247 said...

::heavy sigh::  This is so frightening...  I can't get my daughter to understand.  She is 13, and she and her friends all have "locked" myspaces, mulitple IM options, and now a penpal sight has hooked her up with a supposedly young girl her age from another state.  She is trying to say she deserves privacy.  That it's all fine and dandy.  I explain to her that an online penpal site is exactly where a preditor will go to look for a young girl.  She thinks I'm crazy.  I will be showing her this entry, and maybe she will see a little more clearly what I have been trying, unsuccessfully, to make her see.  What I tell her, bottom line, is this:  We are not discussing your friends lives, we are discussing your's.  I WILL know what you are doing online, and your privacy is awaiting you at the age of 18.  For now, it's my rules, and what I say goes.  End of discussion."

Thank you for posting this.


hebenum1 said...

This is every parent and grandparents nightmare......
If it is ok, I would like to pass it on... Too many
people think this can't happen to them....And, it does.

Thank you for sharing and may God continue to
protect.  There must have been a guardian angel
at work here....

gehi6 said...

An usettling story.  It behooves all young kids especially to be more cautious.  Seems like there is a lot of stranger danger now days.  We have certainly witnessed that in the tragic events that unfolded at Virginia Tech.  You posted this story well with big letters  I hope journalists show it to their kids who love online activity. Adults pay heed, too! Gerry

ndnhunny30 said...

Scary stuff now days!! I have many many conversations with all of my kids on a regular basis about it. All of my kid's AOL accounts are monitored and I read the reports nightly where they visited, how many IM's are sent out and recieved, emails, ect. We actually had a scary situation here last summer with a man following my daughter and her friend after sitting in his car at the park watching them. They noticed him and got scared and ran up the path to the closest neighbors house and called us. The neighbor let them stay with him until we were able to go bring them home. After that she is not allowed to go to the park (that is only half a block away) without walkie talkies. Last week 6 different kids in our district were also followed by the same man in a red car. The schools sent letters out to the whole district about it! We also live in a very upper class area and city and it is still a huge concern!! Always pay attention! Thanks for the story!

dca721 said...

Hi Lisa,
I am printing this out for my son.
He came home from school on Friday and they had an assembly about predators that really made him think.
This will too.

merry1621 said...

Really good entry and something to think about, LIsa!  Thanks! We ALL love ya!