While teenagers want privacy, especially from their parents, because they’re still children they need to be protected. And while having privacy is an important part of becoming an adult, parents need to be careful about giving their teens too much privacy. When parents are not watching them closely, they can get into all sorts of trouble. And as the world continues to get more connected via the internet, parents need to know how to help protect their children from getting caught in the grips of an online predator.
While parents do not always want to get into arguments with their children about what they view on the internet or who they talk to, sometimes they need to brave the un-comfortableness and just do it for the sake of their teen’s wellbeing.
Scott Jenkins has been a role-model father. He loves his two daughters, and although he trusts them, he doesn’t presume to trust everyone they know.
And when Scott started noticing his teenager daughter Haylee acting differently, he knew he needed to be wary.
“She was becoming secretive and sneaky,”
Scott told Scary Mommy. Although this might not seem like something to be worried about, Scott knew that this was abnormal for his daughter. But since she was a teen, he knew this kind of thing was to be expected.
He had made it a habit to monitor routinely is daughters’ online access. And he would often notice things that were deleted before he saw them. But that didn’t bother him much. Haylee was just protecting her privacy.
But then one day his fatherly intuition started sounding an alarm.
He ran into his daughter’s room and snatched up her iPad immediately. And what he saw broke his heart and left him terrified.
His 15-year-old daughter Haylee was messaging a boy named Bruce. Then he saw a nearly nude picture of his daughter. He felt sickened.
“The sexy pose set my red flag on fire. So my digging turned into a manhunt, checking everything in all her accounts.”
And what Scott found ended up rescuing Haylee from a horrible fate.
Scott discovered that many of the “boys” following her on Instagram were actually grown men pretending to be her age. When he learned about this, Scott turned to the police.
The Cyber Task Force obtained all his family’s online data and started scouring it for sexual predators.
Seven months later, they called Scott. And he nearly dropped the phone.
Bruce was a cog in an elaborate human trafficking scheme. And he had been zeroing in on Haylee – until Scott’s dad radar went off and he saved her.
“(Bruce’s) was the first safe face that our children see,” Scott said. “He was unknowingly luring young girls into his circle as prey for the men to pick and choose from. The circle of Bruce’s friends’ list reached the globe, and his over 2,000 followers were nothing more than a smorgasbord of young, unaware children whom these men were chatting with. Our children.”
If you don’t monitor your teen’s internet usage, you should probably start doing it.