A parent should not ignore their instinct. And if a father or mother feels like something is wrong in their child’s life, they should inquire about it. But teenagers are hardly forthcoming with personal information, especially with their parents. That means sometimes parents should pry into their child’s lives a bit. Pull back the curtain and see what they’re up to.
One dad decided to look at his daughter’s iPad after feeling like something was wrong in her life. And after he did, he quickly learned that it was well worth the risk.
As a loving father of two daughters, Scott Jenkins noticed that his daughter Haylee was becoming more isolated. This change in behavior worried him, so he decided he needed to take action.
“She was becoming secretive and sneaky,” the concerned father told Scary Mommy.
While you might not think this behavior is worrisome, Jenkins knew it was not how his daughter usually acted. And he recognized the red flag for what it was before things got out of control.
Because he wanted to protect his daughters from strangers and predators, he monitored their online activity. He found few things that popped out at him. He did notice that Haylee seemed to delete some text messages and images.
But his intuition would not be ignored. When the bad feeling hit his gut, Jenkins checked Haylee’s iPad immediately. He needed to catch her off guard.
What he saw made him feel sick. It broke his heart.
His daughter was messaging a 15-year-old boy named Bruce. Bruce invited Haylee deeper into his online circles. She began to meet all sorts of strangers. Although Haylee thought she was talking to other children, Jenkins knew better.
While scrolling through her mobile device, Jenkins found a lewd picture. His daughter was sending pictures of herself to this stranger.
“The sexy pose set my red flag on fire,” Jenkins told the mom blog. “So my digging turned into a manhunt, checking everything in all her accounts.”
While Haylee was furious with her dad’s invasion of her privacy, he was doing it to protect his daughter from sexual predators and pedophiles.
Quickly, Jenkins realized that the “boys” she talked to were men. He turned over the evidence to the police.
The Portage Police Department put their Cyber Task Force on the case. Then seven months later, Jenkins got a chilling call from the police.
The police found that “Bruce” was part of a human trafficking scheme. Jenkins instinct had saved his daughter from a life as a sex slave.
“His (profile) was the first safe face that our children see,” Jenkins explained. “He was unknowingly luring young girls into his circle as prey for the men to pick and choose from. The circle of Bruce’s friend’s 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.”
Jenkins is grateful that he checked his daughter’s iPad that day. And he encourages other parents to monitor their children’s online activity because predators are out there looking for victims.