her books in the lounge, 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 instant message:
ByAngel213: Hi. I'm glad you are on! I thought someone was following me home today. It was really weird!
GoTo123: LOL You watch too much TV. Why would someone be following you? Don't you live in a safe neighbourhood?
ByAngel213: Of course I do. LOL I guess it was my imagination cos' I didn't see anybody when I looked out.
GoTo123: Unless you gave your name out on-line. You haven't done that have you?
ByAngel213: Of course not I'm not stupid you know .
GoTo123: Did you have a basketball game after school today?
ByAngel213: Yes and we won!!
GoTo123: That's great! Who did you play?
ByAngel213: We played the Hornets. LOL. Their uniforms are so gross! they look like bees.
GoTo123: What is your team called?
ByAngel213: We are the Top Cats. We have Tiger paws on our uniforms.They are really cool.
GoTo1 23: Did you score?
ByAngel213: No I play defence. I've got to go. My homework has to be done before my parents get home. I don't want them mad at me. Bye!
GoTo123: Catch you later. Bye
Meanwhile.......GoTo123 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
State where she lived: New South Wales
Hobbies: Basketball, chorus, skating and going to the shops.
Besides this information, he knew she lived in Charlestown 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 basketball on Thursday afternoons on the school team, and the team was named the Top Cats. Her favourite number 7 was printed on her jersey. He knew she was in the eighth grade at the St Marys 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 park that day. She didn't want them to make a scene and stop her from walking home from the ball 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 position to see a man watching her closely. He was leaning against the fence behind 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 bench 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.
'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 park sitting on the lounge.
'Sit down,' her father began, 'this man has just told us a most interesting story about you.'
Shannon sat back. 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 Sydney !'
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 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 how dangerous it is to talk to people on-line.
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.'
Shannon was stunned. 'You mean you don't live in Sydney ?'
He laughed. 'No, I live in Taree 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 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 realising 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?'
EVEN FORWARD THIS TO PEOPLE WITHOUT KIDS SO THEY CAN SEND IT TO FRIENDS THAT DO HAVE CHILDREN OR GRANDCHILDREN