Parents Discuss Fears of Teens' Internet Use

Share
Copy

The news is filled with frightening stories about Web sites where teens post their pictures and personal information, raising parents' fears that their kids are putting themselves at risk. To explore the issue further, "Good Morning America" spoke to three mothers and their daughters, ages 13, 15 and 16.

The moms were most concerned about public access to the sites.

"I'm worried about sexual predators," said Charmaine Adams, whose daughter, Jordan, had a MySpace account. "I'm worried about them viewing my daughter's site, seeing where she lives, where she's at."

Adams was frightened when she saw how much personal information was on Jordan's Web site.

"I went on there and discovered her photo, her hometown information, what school she's going to. Pretty much anything you wanted to know about her, you could find out just from looking at her home site," Adams said. "She had some photos on there that were just not appropriate."

Though Adams considered Jordan's photos inappropriate, the mother said the site was angelic compared to other kids' profiles.

"These other kids that are on there that are standing with nothing but a washcloth in a certain location, and pictures of them doing drugs, pictures of them claiming to be a lot older than they are," Adams said.

Nikita Dickerson went "ballistic" when she discovered that a grown man was speaking to her teenage daughter inappropriately on her MySpace Web site.

"I probably went like 30 on a one-to-10 [scale], but my husband went even higher than that," Dickerson said. "That's his little girl, you know. You don't want anybody talking to your child like that, 13-year-old or 30-, 40-year-old."

Wendi Lichwiarz started looking at her daughter's Web site when her daughter asked for her opinion of her profile.

"As I was reading through her blogs, I noticed that she was talking to her friends and they were making plans to go to the movies that night," Lichwiarz said. "And that's when I went ballistic because she didn't understand or realize, I guess, how the Internet works as a whole. I believe that this type of blogging and the type of site gives kids this false sense of security, as if they're only talking to their four or five friends."

Upon further investigation, Lichwiarz made another disturbing discovery -- someone had created a site about dumb blonds by compiling the MySpace profiles of girls with blond hair, and Lichwiarz's daughter, Elizabeth, was included.

Lichwiarz insisted Elizabeth take down her profile.

"I was pretty mad, 'cause that's the thing to do," Elizabeth said. "You have MySpace, and it got taken away from me. You kind of get obsessed with it. … I don't know why you do, you just do."

All three moms say they now monitor their children's Internet activity.

"I think that that probably is the first line of defense, trying to educate the parents, even teaching them how to go onto the computer so that you can see where the kids -- what site they're visiting and all of that," Lichwiarz said.

Adams agreed.

"What we're doing is looking out for her," Adams said. "We're not trying to be the mean parents keeping her from having fun. We know what it's like to be young."

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...