(Editor's Note: Thanks to resident Joy Robinson, founder, Girls Support Network for sending in this story.)
I am very concerned about a girl who attends my daughter’s school. She is involved in sexual relationships with older boys, smokes pot, drinks alcohol, uses every curse word in the book, is often neglected by her parents, and has had thoughts of suicide. And she’s only 12 years old.
Did I mention that I’ve never actually met this girl? And that my daughter only knows her by name? So how is it possible for me to know so much about her private life?
She posts it all on Facebook. Ugh.
It starts out innocently enough. Facebook can be a great way to keep in touch with grandma or that cousin who lives across the country. But if not monitored closely, girls may end up accepting any “friend” request they receive, especially from other kids at school whose feelings they don’t want to hurt by ignoring their requests. Once connected, these girls are exposed to everything their “friends” post and link on their accounts.
And how about all the stories of girls connecting with strangers online who claim to be innocent young boys that turn out to be dangerous adult predators? Or all the cyber bullying cases, many of which end up with the bullied child committing suicide, like the recent Amanda Todd case? Not to mention all the regular girl drama that now takes place in front of an online audience instead of just at school.
Kids must learn how to use the internet and social media safely and properly before being allowed to use it. And it’s a parent’s job to teach them. Would you give your kid the key to your car without first teaching them how to drive?
Please join us as Girls Support Network hosts the OC Sheriff’s Department’s very own Cyber Cop, Deputy Quyen Vuong, as he gives a presentation on Internet Safety on Friday, Nov. 16 at 7-8:30 p.m. in the Sanctuary at Mission Lutheran Church in Laguna Niguel, 24360 Yosemite. This event is free, open to the public, and is for adults only. No children allowed.
The OC Sheriff’s Department works tirelessly to keep up with the latest online trends and pitfalls for kids, and updates their presentations regularly. This is a must see for all parents.
And let’s hope that the parents of the 12-year-old girl wake up and join us. It could save her reputation. Or even her life.