A 12-year-old girl from Stephenville who was reported missing last Saturday was found hundreds of miles away in San Antonio with an 18-year-old man she reportedly met online.
The terrifying situation led the Glen Rose Reporter to reach out to a local law enforcement official to talk about ways parents can keep their children safe from online predators.
Glen Rose Police Chief Buck Martin said he monitors his children’s activity online.
“I know you can’t be looking over their shoulder 24/7, but I didn’t just let them go in their room and shut the door. Keep the computer, laptop or phone where you have access to it, where you can get it and look at it,” Buck said.
He also advises parents to talk to their kids about the potential online dangers of talking to strangers who can pretend to be anyone.
“I told my kids unless you know them, don’t ever agree to meet with them or tell them any information about your school or where you live," he said.
Cell phone companies have apps that make it easier for parents to monitor their child’s location and restrict their online access, but keeping up with the changing technology can be daunting.
Along with talking to your children about the dangers of online predators, Buck suggests educating kids about drugs and sex so that they won’t turn to online chat rooms for information.
"Just talking to your kids, just saying, ‘Hey, if you have questions, about age appropriate topics like drugs and sex, let's talk," he said.