The Secret Lives of Teens Part 3: Internet Predators

The Secret Lives of Teens Part 3: Internet Predators
By: CJ Cassidy

There's clearly a dark side to the Internet.
Local investigators say it's like the war on drugs.  Predators will always look for new ways to lure your children.
That's why police say they want you to educate your kids, so they can stay one step ahead of predators on the prowl.
The Glastetter home sits off the beaten path, on a country road in Scott County.  But the computer inside links the family to the outside world, and the dangers that come with it.
"I've seen stories of what's happened, and how bad it can get," said 14-year-old Kaitlin.
She and her twin sister Haley have their computer in the family room.  They're online often, but their mother is never too far away.
"We've told them you could talk to someone, and think they're a 14-year-old and it's a 50-year-old man trying to talk to you to get information," said the twin's mother, Ruth.
That rings true for investigators with the Cape Girardeau County Sheriff's Office.
In 2004, they arrested 51-year-old William Greiner who showed up at a convenience store in Jackson with condoms in his pocket to meet who he thought was a 13-year-old girl.
Turned out, this profile was fake, an undercover officer posed as the teen.
Greiner's arrest became Cape County's first real Internet sting.
Lt. David James says since then, they've realized the problem is even bigger than they thought.
"A lot of kids have problems at home and in their lives, so they're seeking out companionship and someone to care about them.  That's what predators strive to do," he said.
Back at the Glastetter home, the twin's mom says she won't stop her kids from getting online, but she will draw the line when she has to.
"One of their brothers gave them a webcam for Christmas.  Shortly afterwards, I read a story about a boy who had a webcam, where people talked him into doing stuff online.  I said I don't want that webcam, get rid of it," Ruth said.
Police advise parents to try and get up to speed on computer lingo, like abbreviations, so you know what someone could be telling your child.
They also suggest you talk to your children about the very real dangers they could face if they ever met a stranger from online in real life.