After reading a report of an arrest in Berkeley County of an individual who was arrested and charged with soliciting a minor via computer, I find myself re-evaluating the supervision in my own home of computer usage. Having two young daughters in my home who constantly want to communication via Facebook, I must admit that my mind does not always focus on watching what they do.
While parents, I know, have rules on computer usage; or they should; do they really monitor closely enough what is going on with their kids?
The arrest report showed that the individual in Berkeley County knew he was communicating with a minor and he then was to go and pick her up to take to his residence. That is when the arrest happened.
While we must not cave in to constant pressure or fear to take advantage of advances in technology and social media, we must also maintain standards of usage and follow through with them. We need to educate our children about the kind of individuals who prey on those on the internet and instruct them on how to avoid those types of individuals.
To see how scary the truth really is in our area as far as those who would do harm to our youth, I made a visit to the West Virginia State Police site of registered sexual offenders. There are 65 listed for Jefferson County and 152 for Berkeley County. Those numbers are high enough to cause concern, at least to me, and those are individuals who have been caught, convicted and registered. It leads one to wonder how many are out there who have not been caught.
Be mindful of what your children view on the web. Check their facebook pages and their "friends" lists. Make sure their sites are private and can be seen only by those who are approved. Limit the personal information they share as well as the photographs posted. Strictness, although making you lose the label of 'cool parent' can often be the safest course of action. In a time when "anything goes," those precautions may save future grief or even disaster.