Our kids and their online vulnerability



Most of us are aware that the internet puts our kids at risk from online perverts and predators who pose as teenagers themselves to convince our youngsters to forward indecent photos or in the worst cases arrange to meet, with view to sexually assaulting them.

This is a story that we should all share with our kids about a vigilant police officer in the states who posed as a 14 year old girl online to expose how easy it is to manipulate even the brightest teenager into trusting someone they didn’t really know at all, with just enough information to make their move.

He befriended Karen a bright (top of her class) 14 year old student in high school in Kansas and made out that he was also a 14 year old female student called Catherine residing hundreds of miles away in New York.

He had obtained the school syllabus, so was able to interact with her study chat, and once he discovered she was a keen hockey player, he gave himself a crash course so he could hold his own with hockey chat too.

Within a period of less than a month this bright young girl had become comfortable enough to disclose that every Wednesday her mum and dad were our playing bridge and she was home alone until 11pm.

Our paedophile posing cop simply got her to divulge what position she played in her team, waited outside her school that she had previously divulged and subtlety followed her home to quantify her address.

Needless to say he was knocking on the door on the Thursday evening and introduced himself to Karen’s parents as Catherine her 14 year old pen pal (internet chat room friend) from New York. Once he explained to the shocked parents that he had not only obtained Karen’s address, but also the knowledge that she was vulnerable and home alone every Wednesday they obviously freaked out.

Karen was introduced to Catherine AKA detective Sergeant Roseburg and was notably shaken by the ease that he had pried the information he needed, from a teenager who considered herself to be very cautious with any information she disclosed to internet buddies.

In the USA officers like this tour the schools educating the kids of the risks and the devious tricks and deceptive methods regarding online vulnerability, by telling stories just like this. Unfortunately in South Africa it’s up to us to educate our kids.

This is a story that I believe our pc savvy kids need to hear.


Simon Rosamond CEO 1 Call Group