“Don’t Talk to Strangers” Isn’t Such Old-Fashioned Advice After All

In March, Ashleigh Hall’s name was splashed across newspapers everywhere after her body was found in a ditch. The 17-year-old had done something that a worrisome number of teens do: made a new friend on Facebook and gone to meet him.

A 2006 survey commissioned by Cox Communications with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children reported that:

  • 71% of teens reported receiving messages online from someone they don’t know
  • 45% have been asked for personal information by someone they don’t know
  • 30% have considered meeting someone that they’ve only talked to online
  • 14% have actually met a person face-to-face that they’ve only talked to on the Internet (the figure for teens ages 16 and 17 jumps to 22%)

In Ashleigh’s case, her new friend was a predator who had lied about his identity, posing as a 17-year-old boy. Many were quick to point fingers at Facebook: can’t they do more to prevent people from lying about who they are online?

Check out www.kidsafe.me/blog for the rest of this article and practical tips for helping you educate, engage and protect your children.

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Tim Woda is a passionate advocate for protecting children from today’s scariest digital dangers – cyberbullying, sexting and predators. He co-founded KidSafe, is the author of Keeping Kids Safe: A Guide for Parents of Social and Mobile Children and is a frequent public speaker on the topic.

Copyright © 2009 Tim Woda

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Categories: Facebook, General, Predators, Social Networking, Web 2.0

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3 Comments on ““Don’t Talk to Strangers” Isn’t Such Old-Fashioned Advice After All”

  1. May 26, 2011 at 11:04 pm #

    exactly! I also really recommend the book Off Limits written by Feather Berkower. It’s so helpful in teaching kids body safety rules, not just regular safety rules.
    http://imaginationsoup.net/2011/05/have-you-forgotten-the-most-important-safety-rule/

  2. June 25, 2013 at 4:56 am #

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  3. June 29, 2013 at 1:27 am #

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