Online predators can pretend to be anyone. They target one-in-every-ten teenagers through social networks, mobile apps and gaming systems. Young victims are just a click away and what begins as an online relationship, can quickly move offline. 16-year-old Brooke thought she found her first love online, but instead what she found was a very dangerous man posing to be a 16-year-old. Her mother, Diane Sabatino Williams, joined us to discuss Brooke’s story.
“She didn’t want anything like this to happen to anybody else.” –Diane Sabatino Williams
So who are these people who prey on our kids? And what lessons can we learn from them? Katie sat down with three convicted online predators to get inside their minds and find out how and why they do what they do. The men asked to have their faces blurred and to have their therapists present for the interview.
“Her being 17 was part of the thrill.” -Bill, “Online Predator”
# @katieshow I’m blown away by these stories. I’m a Council Woman in my city.I Definently will be informing my community!
— Jamila Odom (@JamilaOdom7) October 10, 2012
These three online predators are currently undergoing treatment. But can they be cured and is there any way to predict who is a potential threat? Dr. Anna Salter is a psychologist and author who has spent three decades studying sex offenders.
“There isn’t a common thread.” -Dr. Anna Salter
Manny is an online predator who was just a 22-year-old college student at the time of his arrest. He created a website, claimed to be a woman and tricked girls into sending him illicit photos. Here is what he wants you to know about people like him.
“You can’t put the burden on the children.” -Manny, “Online Predator”
@katieshow thanks for sharing. Will forward to our school. Just spoke to PTA last night about monitoring tween/teen online presence. Thanks
— Heather H(@CafeSmom) October 10, 2012
A sexual predator can be a teacher, a doctor, a judge, even your own husband. Jami Kay was absolutely shocked when she discovered that her husband of two months was an online predator, posing as a teenage girl to solicit photos from young boys.
“He was completely two different people… I was completely shocked.” -Jami Kay
With more than 80% of teens using social networking sites, the Internet has made it easier than ever for predators to bypass parents and connect with kids. Trooper Samantha McCord is a Connecticut State Police Detective and part of a unit responsible for handling Internet Crimes Against Children. Throughout the show, she had been conducting a live sting operation to demonstrate how often this happens.
“As parents, we need to be engaged.” -Parry Aftab, Cybersafety Expert
— Kim-Marie(@LuxuryTravelMom) October 10, 2012
What can we do as parents to help keep our kids safe online? And what can — and what should — our schools do to help spread the message of Internet safety?