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Thursday, March 27, 2008

WEB|WISE|KIDS: Ambassador to Youth

Katie was only 15 when she met 22-year old John in an Internet chat room. Katie and John immediately began emailing each other several times a day. Before long, Katie was convinced they were in love.

A few weeks into the relationship, John told Katie that he was ready to meet her in person. While Katie was eager to spend time with her “boyfriend”, Katie’s parents were horrified by the idea of John coming to their home.

Katie’s father, concerned that Katie might leave home to be with John against her parent’s wishes, went to the police for help. An officer gave him a copy of the MISSING game and suggested that the family play it together.

After playing the MISSING game, Katie realized for herself that John was not a friend, but a child predator. Katie’s family notified the police of their suspicions and shortly afterward the San Francisco Police Department discovered that John was the primary suspect in the rape of a 13-year old girl. The younger girl had also met John in an Internet chat room. Without a doubt, John was planning for Katie to be his next victim.

Katie turned over all of the gifts, letters and computer files she had from John. She also appeared at John’s trial to present testimony about the method he used to try to seduce her — not surprisingly it was the same method he had used with his 13-year old victim. With Katie’s supporting evidence, John was sentenced to twenty years in prison.

MISSING reached Katie at her own level and caused her to re-evaluate her relationship with John in time to prevent disaster.

Ambassador to Youth

Katie is now the Ambassador to Youth for Web Wise Kids. She shares her powerful first-hand testimony with other young teens and parents to let them know that what happened to her and her family can also happen to them. She is sought after for television, radio and print interviews and has testified before state congressional hearings. Please contact us if you are interested in scheduling her speak.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Ammo for parents concerned about MySpace, Website for The Kim Komando Radio Show®, Kim's Tips

I've done my best to emphasize the dangers of social networking sites like I've written about it and talked about it a lot. It's one of the most popular sites among teens and claims well over 50 million members.

For the most part, parents get the message. But warnings may not be enough to convince the kids to be safe. I've received a lot of e-mail from concerned and frustrated parents who have tried talking with their children. Teens can be especially skeptical of parental advice.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

WGCU Gulf Coast Live: High Tech Bullying

High Tech Bullying

Mar. 19, 2008

While bullies have probably been around as long as people have, with the advent of the Internet and the prevalence of cell phones, bullying is being taken to a whole new level. Anti-bullying laws are being debated once again in Tallahassee. We’ll talk with FGCU professor Russ Sabella about a program he’s created to teach parents how to protect their kids from cyber bullying. He’ll also help us learn how to spot a child that’s showing suicidal tendencies brought on by bullying. Is this becoming a problem? Check Bullycide and decide for yourself. Learn more about Dr. Russell Sabella. Watch the Frontline special on kids Growing Up Online.

Or, listen to the show directly at mms://


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Parents. The Anti-Drug. -- E-Monitoring

TGIF, RSVP or even ASAP may sound familiar; however as computers have transformed communications a new dialect has emerged: Internet lingo. Acronyms or character symbols called Emoticons (mixing symbols to express emotions or moods) enable teens to communicate with others in a few keystrokes.  While often just a convenient and quick means of communication, many teens use these acronyms and symbols to warn their friends when parents might be present and even to discuss drug use in a code that parents can’t decipher. 

Instant messages, blog entries and text messages often look like Sanskrit to parents, but decoding this lingo used in digital communications is an important monitoring skill that should not be overlooked. Here is a quick guide to help you translate what teens are saying online and in their cell phone text messages. Keep in mind that, as with street names for drugs, these symbols and acronyms are subject to frequent change, particularly when those who use them suspect that others have figured out what they mean.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Phoenix Teen Admits Killing Father for Restricting His Use of MySpace

PHOENIX —  A Mesa teenager says he fatally shot his father last month because he wouldn't let him use the Internet, police reports show.

According to a Mesa police report released Wednesday, 15-year-old Hughstan Schlicker told a homicide detective that he considered committing suicide in front of his father after finding a 12-gauge shotgun and ammunition in the garage of their home, but decided to murder his father instead and then commit suicide.

Hughstan apparently surprised 49-year-old Ted Schlicker, who was standing in the kitchen when the boy approached him from behind, the police report said.

Read more >>>,2933,335496,00.html


A coalition of groups representing four million teachers in several countries is urging retailers to refuse to sell a controversial video game about school bullying, reports Jill Mahoney for the Globe and Mail (Canada). The game, "Bully: Scholarship Edition," features a shaven-head teenager who adjusts to life at a new boarding school by harassing others, which the organization says glorifies bullying. The group spearheading the call to ban sales says there is a link between violent video games and aggressive behavior in children, with some studies support this conclusion while others do not. However, calling for a ban is like "flailing at windmills" when it comes to actually confronting bullying, said Michael Hoechsmann, an assistant professor at McGill University and an expert on the role of violence in video games. "As tempting as it may seem, I'm not so certain that banning this will somehow result in a more peaceful and more loving school population," he thinks. In addition, Hoechsmann noted that he hasn't found any evidence suggesting that playing a violent video game results in violent actions.

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