With the prominance of social media in all our lives, it is a small feat for parents to supervise their kids use of the internet. The online world can serve as a mask to those with less than the best intentions toward our children.
Scott Jenkins, father to two daughters, thought he was supervising his own kids’ use of the internet enough, but learned that even vigilant parents can miss important things. One day, Scott noticed changes in his daughter’s behavior. Haylee was “becoming secretive and sneaky,” he said.
Scott had checked her electronics before but had a strange feeling one day. He found a message on an online group with a “provocative” picture of Haylee.
“It began with a picture, a questionable, inappropriate image for a girl her age, and the sexy pose set my red flag on fire. So my digging turned into a manhunt, checking everything in all her accounts.”
After some investigation, Scott discovered that several of the “friends” on the online group his daughter used were adult men. He immediately went to the Cyber Task Force of Portage Police Department.
Some time passed. Several months later he got a phone call, asking for he and his wife to go to the police station. There Scott and his wife discovered that one of these “friends” who his daughter had thought was a teenage boy, was actually the leader of a ring of men involved in human trafficking. “My beautiful girl was prey for these monsters, she was quickly approaching a meetup (in her words), and I fear that I may have never seen my daughter again,” Scott said.
Many teenagers are innocent and see the world innocently, not realizing that the internet is a haven for people who are looking to harm others. Scott has publicly urged parents to be extremely vigilant about their online activities. He has spoken out publicly about this scary incident, in order to warn about the very real dangers of children’s use of the internet.