Shannon could hear the footsteps behind her as she walked toward home. The thought of being followed made her heart beat faster. 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 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 go on-line.
She logged on under her screen name ByAngel She checked her Buddy List and saw GoTo was on. She sent jichigan an instant message: ByAngel Hi.
I'm glad you are on! I thought someone was following me home today. It was really weird! Why would someone be following you? Don't you live in a safe neighborhood?
ByAngel Of course I do. GoTo Unless you gave your name out on-line. You haven't done that have you? ByAngel Of course not.
Rom not stupid you know. GoTo Did you have a softball game after school today? ByAngel Yes and we won!! GoTo That's great! Who did you play? ByAngel We played the Hornets. Their uniforms are so gross!
They look like bees. ByAngel We are the Canton Cats. We have tiger paws on our uniforms. They are really cool. GoTo Did you pitch? ByAngel No I play second base. I got to go. My homework has to be done before my parents get home. I don't want them mad at me GoTo Catch you later. Bye Meanwhile GoTo 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. Besides this information, he knew she lived in Canton because she had just told him. He knew she stayed by herself until p. Her favorite 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. Shannon 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 rroom from the softball games. Parents were always overreacting and hers were the worst. It made her wish she was not an only.
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. Shannon was in her room later that evening when she heard voices in the living room. 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. How could he tell her parents anything?
She had never seen him before today! GoTo is a kid my age! He's 14 and he lives in Michigan!
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 jichigan ball team and the position you played. The and name on your jersey just made finding you a breeze. It made you feel safe to think I was so far away, didn't it?
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" "Tell others about this so they will be safe too?
This world we live in today is too dangerous to even give out your age, let alone anything else. Please pass this on to all your friends, with or without kids