We need to be paying attention.
There are so many reasons to pay attention to what your kids are doing online.
We’ve all seen it and many of us have been guilty of it — just letting your kids pop on an internet-capable device and then go about your day. You see it at ballgames, in the park, at church and even at home.
As parents we’re all stressed out, trying to keep up, constantly moving and constantly working.
And that is how our kids can fall down a rabbit hole into some pretty dark places.
We’ve seen the arrests of men who’ve come here to meet up for sex with a person they thought was underage.
The warrants usually read something like this: (enter name here) came to have sex with a person he believed was 14 years old. (Enter name here) asked for or provided explicit photographs to a person he believed was a minor.
This is actually the best possible scenario, by the way. In these sting operations, the suspect never victimized a child — they chatted with a police officer.
But these are the ones that got caught. There are so many other children who fall prey to predators in many forms.
They could be teenagers who don’t feel appreciated or loved falling prey to extremist ideas.
That’s when online fantasies of grandeur become real. Without that online connection and encrypted chatrooms, would they have connected with others? It’s hard to say. It certainly has happened in the past.
In other cases, it could be a kid who is coerced into running away with a person they believe cares about them — only to find out that person is ready to sell them to the highest bidder.
The horrors of the street take place every day on the internet while parents are too busy to pay attention.
We need to pay attention.
An editorial from the Rome News-Tribune, Georgia.