MAKING THREATS ONLINE - IT's NO JOKE
Six middle school girls, ages 12-13, who were described by their teachers as "good students" and who either held leadership positions in the school and/or had "top grades", were arrested in Nevada after they set up a Facebook page and invited other students to "Attack A Teacher Day". The students insisted it was a "joke", but after Columbine and Virginia Tech and other school shootings, every potential threat must be taken seriously.
You've Got the Whole World In your hands - Be CAREFUL!
A 15 year-old girl in the UK decided to have a party and sent an invite on Facebook to 15 of her closest friends - or so she thought. The problem is, she didn't uncheck the box on the event page that says: "Anyone can view and RSVP (public event)". On Facebook, the default setting is always public. 21,000 people RSVP'd to her party. Police protection was required for her house. And because she'd put her address and phone number, her parents had to change her Sim card, because she was constantly getting calls from strangers. The same thing happened recently to a 16 year old girl in Germany. After 15,000 people confirmed they were coming, her parents cancelled the party and she had to go into hiding. Her parents had to call the police and a hire security firm to protect their house. Not such a happy birthday.
People you "meet" online may not be who you think they are
A woman who ran an anonymous sex advice blog for teenagers was outed as a middle-aged male pedophile. Posing as "Cathy" he would encourage teens who were exploring their own sexuality to post semi-nude pictures of themselves. Here's what happened to one of them:
"I once felt that Cathy's forums was a huge part of my understanding of my own sexuality, and Cathy herself an orchestrator of how I felt about myself. I was confident and happy and felt safe about showing my body to my friends on this forum. Now I know that the one person I thought of as the safest of all was the one lying about everything – well, I no longer feel very happy with myself. I feel sick and ashamed and terrified that these incredibly intimate, private photos are out there somewhere. I will never again have the confidence in my own sexuality that I once had because of this man, and my trust in people is shattered. I used to want to be like Cathy and tried to feel as sexually liberated as she did. Well now I feel the least interested in sex I have ever felt, because I've lost my own understanding of how I felt about it."
"SexTortion" - When one bad decision leads to another
In June 2010, the FBI charged a man from Santa Ana, CA with remotely downloading malware onto the computer of teens and adults, recording them with their own webcams, and then threatening to expose the images and videos if they didn't send him X-rated videos of themselves. Don't let one bad choice lead to a worse one. Tell a responsible adult so the authorities can do their job.