We all hear of stories these days of children being lured by adults on the internet by pretending to be teenagers their age. They gain the trust of the child and that is when they make their move.  This is why parents are encouraged to keep an eye on their kids when they get on the computers. It is a place where they are not always safe unless they are taught specifically not to believe everything they hear or read online. They need to be taught that everyone you talk to online are not always who they claim to be.

A good example of this would be the Megan Meier suicide case, where she talked to someone online thinking it was a guy interested in her only to find out it was an ex-friend’s mother pretending to be a boy. This devastated Megan which led to her taking her own life after.

A 13 year old girl in Toronto learned a lesson about this very thing when she met a man on a MSN chatline one night and then she agreed to meet him at a location the next day close to her home.

She told her mother she was going outside to shovel the driveway when she slipped away to meet the man. After a while her mother went looking for her and when she wasn’t out there like she said she would be, the mother followed the foot prints in the snow which led her to the car in which the man had her daughter in. When she looked inside she saw him attempting to sexually assault her daughter.

The man took off in the car with her daughter but the mother called 911 according to Toronto Police. The girl was dropped off but the man was caught by police responding to the 911 call.

Police believe this was just an isolated incident and no other victims have been involved with this same man. Salman Masood, 23 of Brampton, is now being charged with sexual interference and sexual assault.

Constable Curtis Quesnelle called the incident a cautionary tale for all families. When speaking of this press release he said, “That’s why we put out that press release to alert the public on how these things can happen so quickly, especially for the parents to keep an eye on their children and what they are doing on the internet.”

I know a lot of people that I have met on the internet, in fact that is how I met my husband but I have been lucky to have met a lot of good people but I do know there are a lot of sick people out there looking for a cheap thrill. I have been lucky so far. Not everyone can be though so be sure to teach your children to never give out any personal information online. It could very well save their lives.

Jan Barrett

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