Chat Room Dangers: How IM Sleuths Can Find YOU!
Hi Girls! This is your BeingGirl Expert. Just recently, I’ve found quite a bit of personal information being shared on Girl Talk. Even though girls are warned about chat room dangers, there are so many IM nicknames, URLs, and email addresses being posted on Girl Talk, that I am reprinting a warning message that has been circulating around the Internet about chat room dangers. I can’t vouch for its authenticity...but I can tell you that the chat room dangers this article addresses are absolutely possible! Subject: CHAT ROOM DANGERS After tossing her books on the sofa, she decided to grab a snack and go online. She logged on under her screen name IJP928. She checked her Buddy List and saw ICU66 was on. She sent her an instant message: IJP928: Hi. I’m glad you’re on! I thought someone was following me home today. It was really weird! ICU66: LOL. You watch too much TV. Why would someone be following you? Don’t you live in a safe neighborhood? IJP928: Of course I do. LOL. I guess it was my imagination cuz’ I didn’t see anyone when I looked out. ICU66: Be cool. Who would be following you? Unless of course you gave your address out online. You haven’t done that have you? IJP928: Of course not. I’m not stupid you know! ICU66: Did you have your softball game after school today? IJP928: Yes...and we won! ICU66: That’s great! Who did you play? IJP928: We played the Hornets. LOL. Their uniforms are so gross! They look like bees. LOL ICU66: What is your team called? IJP928: We are the Canton Cats. We have tiger paws on our uniforms. They are really cool. ICU66: Did you pitch? IJP928: No. I play second base. I got to go. My homework has to be done before my parents get home. Don’t want them mad at me. Bye! ICU66: Catch you later! Bye Then...ICU66 went to the member menu and began to search for IJP928’s profile and printed it out. Here is what found: HE Her name: Iris Birthday: September 28, 1993 Age: 14 State: North Carolina Hobbies: softball, chorus, skating and going to the mall. Besides this information, he knew she lived in Canton because she had just told him. He knew she stayed by herself until 6:30 p.m. when her parents came home from work. He knew she played softball on Thursday afternoons on the school team, and the team was named the Canton Cats. Her favorite number 7 was printed on her jersey. He knew she was in the eighth grade at the Canton Junior H.S. She had told him all this in the conversations they had online but didn't think about chat room dangers. He had enough information to find her now.
Iris didn’t tell her parents about the incident on the way home from the ball park that day. She didn’t want them to make a scene and stop her from walking home from the softball games. Parents were always overreacting; and hers were the worst. It made her wish she was not an only child. Maybe if she had brothers and sisters, her parents wouldn’t be so overprotective.
By Thursday, Iris had forgotten about the footsteps following her.
Her game was in full swing when suddenly she felt someone staring at her. It was then that the memory came back. She glanced up from her second base position to see a man watching her closely.
He was leaning against the fences behind first base and he smiled when she looked at him. He didn’t look scary and she quickly dismissed the sudden fear she had felt.
After the game, he sat on a bleacher while she talked to the coach. She noticed his smile once again as she walked past him. He nodded and she smiled back. He noticed her name on the back of her shirt. He knew he had found her.
Quietly, he walked a safe distance behind her. It was only a few blocks to Iris’ home and once he saw where she lived, he quickly returned to the park to get his car.
Now he had to wait. He decided to get a bite to eat until the time came to go to Iris’ house. He drove to a fast food restaurant and sat there until time to make his move.
Iris was in her room later that evening when she heard voices in the living room.
"Iris, come here," her father called. He sounded upset, and she couldn’t imagine why.
She went into the room to the man from the ball park sitting on the sofa.
"Sit down," her father began, "this man has just told a most interesting story about you."
Iris sat back. How could he tell her parents anything? She had never seen him before today!
"Do you know who I am, Iris?" the man asked.
"No," Iris answered.
"I am a police officer and your online girlfriend, ICU66."
Iris was stunned. "That’s impossible! ICU66 is a girl...my age! She’s 14 and she lives in Michigan!"
The man smiled. "I know I told you all that, but it wasn’t true. You see, Iris, there are people online who pretend to be kids; I was one of them. But while others do it to injure kids and hurt them, I belong to a group of parents who do it to protect kids from predators. I came here to find you to teach you about chat room dangers. You told me enough about yourself to make it easy for me to find you. You named the school you went to, the name of your ball team, and the position you played. The number and name on your jersey just made finding you a breeze."
Iris was stunned. "You mean you don’t live in Michigan?"
He laughed. "No, I live in Raleigh. It made you feel safe to think I was so far away, didn’t it?"
"I had a friend whose daughter was like you. Only she wasn’t as lucky. The guy found her and murdered her while she was home alone. Kids are taught not to tell anyone when they are alone, yet they do it all the time online. They don't realize the gravity of chat room dangers. The wrong people trick you into giving out information a little here and there online. Before you know it, you have told them enough for them to find you without even realizing you have done it. I hope you’ve learned a lesson from this and won’t do it again. Tell others about this so they will be safe, too."
"It’s a promise, now that I've learned about chat room dangers!"
Can you keep a promise? You promise not to share personal information every time you sign on to Girl Talk. I’m holding you to that promise.
Thanks for reading this....
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