you give out information about yourself to someone you do not know
on the Internet be sure to read the following story.
could hear the footsteps behind her as she walked toward home. The
thought of being followed made her heart beat faster.
"You're being silly," she told herself, "no one is
following you." To be safe, she began to walk faster, but
the footsteps kept up with her pace. She was afraid to look
back and she was glad she was almost home. Shannon said a
quick prayer, "God please get me home safe."
She saw the porch light burning and ran the rest of the way to her
inside, she leaned against the door for a moment, relieved to be in
the safety of her home. She glanced out the window to see if anyone
was there. The sidewalk was empty. After tossing her
books on the sofa, she decided to grab a snack and get on-line. She
logged on under her screen name ByAngel213. She checked her
Buddy List and saw GoTo123 was on. She sent him an
Hi I'm glad you are on! I thought someone was following me
home today. It was really weird!
LOL You watch too much TV. Why would someone be following
you? Don't you live in a safe neighborhood?
Of course I do. LOL I guess it was my imagination
cuz' I didn't see anybody when I looked out.
Unless you gave your name out on-line. You haven't done that
Of course not. I'm not stupid you know.
Did you have a softball game after school today?
Yes and we won!!
That's great! Who did you play?
We played the Hornets. LOL. Their uniforms are so
gross! They look like bees. LOL
What is your team called?
We are the Canton Cats. We have tiger paws on our uniforms.
They are really kewl.
Did you pitch?
No I play second base. I got to go. My homework
has to be done before my parents get home. I don't want the
mad at me. Bye!
Catch you later. Bye
went to the member menu and began to search for her profile.
When it came up, he highlighted it and printed it out. He took out a
pen and began to write down what he knew about Angel so far.
Her name: Shannon Birthday: Jan. 3, 1985 Age:13 State where
she lived: 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. every afternoon until 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 seventh grade at the Canton
Junior High School. She had told him all this in the
conversations they had on-line. He had enough information to
find her now.
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, Shannon 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 fence behind first base and he smiled when she
looked at him He didn't look scary and she quickly
dismissed the 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 Shannon's 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 Shannon's house. He drove to a fast
food restaurant and sat there until time to make his move.
was in her room later that evening when she heard voices in
the living room. "Shannon, come here," her father
called. He sounded upset and she couldn't imagine
why. She went into the room to see the man from the ballpark
sitting on the sofa. "Sit down," her
father began, "this man has just told us a most interesting
story about you." Shannon moved cautiously to a
chair across from the man. How could he tell her parents
anything? She had never seen him before today! "Do
you know who I am Shannon?" The man asked.
"No," Shannon answered. "I am a police officer
and your online friend, GoTo123." Shannon was
stunned. "That's impossible! GoTo is a kid my
age! He's 14 and he lives in Michigan!" The man
smiled. "I know I told you all that, but it wasn't
true. You see Shannon there are people on-line who
pretend to be kids; I was one of them. But while others do it to
find 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 how dangerous it is to give out too much
information to people on-line. You told me enough about
yourself to make it easy for me to find you. Your name,
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." Shannon 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?" She nodded. "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 on-line. The wrong people trick you into giving
out information a little here and there on-line. 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."
"I won't," Shannon promised solemnly. "Will you
tell others about this so they will be safe too?"
"It's a promise!"
night Shannon and her dad and Mom all knelt down together and
prayed. They thanked God for protecting Shannon from what could have
been a tragic situation.