Today in the news a 41 year old man was charged with abduction, when police found him with a 14 year old girl. They had met on a chat site on the internet. The girl was voluntarily running away with this man.
The key to this situation: parental education and involvement. The RCMP had noted that parents need to be educated about the internet and need to be aware of what their children are doing. If you need to know whats available or what kids are into these days, ask teenagers whats on the internet, they will gladly tell. Every generation seems to know more and more about the different tools on the web. Cindy has created a great parental wiki for our final project with information for parents. Even though, we have seen less or have heard less of these certain types of cases, the need is still there to educate the children about internet safety.
This situation reminded me of the parental concerns that I had when I set up my classroom blog. One of the comments was, “I teach my children not to talk to strangers and now you (the teacher) says it’s ok.” This conversation was in regards to blogging with U of R students. I responded by saying this type of blogging is very controlled. I have personally gone to meet with the students and they all have had criminal record checks. The purpose of the U of R students blogging with my students was to help with their writing and to give them an audience. I have also educated my students about talking to others, that we don’t give out any personal information, etc. I can definitely see where parents are coming from and the key to address some of these issues is through education.