However, in that rant, I neglected to point out the obvious truth that there are some sick people running around the world wide web. They're few and far between (though the media LOVES to point them out and make it seem like they're everywhere), but yes they DO indeed exist. So I'd like to take the time today to tell parents what they can do to TRULY protect their kids from any dangers online. And, kids, this'll be the best advice I can ever give you if you're worried about this too.
But let's start off with a story. This is a true story about a victim of an online predator. It's the story of a 13yo girl named Alicia Kozakiewicz who, on New Year's Day of 2002, met up with an online friend named Scott Tyree. Scotty, as it turns out, was a sick fuck. He kept Alicia locked in his basement where he would beat her, rape her, and put pictures of these things online. Yesterday, Alicia (who is now 19) testified before Congress about her horrifying experience and had this to say.
"I walked out the front door and found that the boogey man is real, and he lives on the Web. He lived in my computer – and he lives in yours… While you are sitting here, he is at home with your children."
Now, I want to make it clear that I dearly feel for this girl. She went through a terrible ordeal that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. I wish her nothing but the best and I hope she can somehow put that nightmare behind her and move on with her life.
That being said... Ladies and gentlemen, Alicia Kozakiewicz is a fucking moron. Not that she could be blamed. It's a parents job to teach their kids not to be so fucking stupid and her parents obviously failed at that task.
What am I saying? How could I attack the victim here? Well, I'd like you to sit and think for just a moment. Ask yourself, is there perhaps anything that Alicia or her parents could've done to prevent this tragedy from ever happening? Is there, just maybe, one bit of common sense that might've saved her from the fate she suffered?
Oh, there is indeed. You see, when I was a little boy, my grandfather was an old CB guy. He was all into CB radios and passed that love on to me. I would get on the radio and talk to truckers and various other people all across the country. To this day, I still remember the very first lesson that both my parents and grandparents taught me about that CB radio: Anyone with a radio can hear you. Don't ever tell anybody your real name, where you live, how old you are, or even your phone number.
This is a simple rule and it may have saved me from being kidnapped by some sick fuck trucker. One has to wonder, if Alicia had followed this simple rule on the Internet, might it have saved her as well?
And that, parents, is what you can do to keep your children safe. Kids, that's it; that's ALL you need to do to stay safe! DON'T GIVE OUT YOUR FUCKING PERSONAL INFORMATION!!!
Alicia Kozakiewicz walked out her front door and found the "boogey man" but she had to actually walk out of her front door to find him! And before that, she had to let him know where the fuck her front door was located! This is a MAJOR point that the media and scare-tactic politicians seem to overlook all the fucking time! Online predators can't reach through the goddamn computer screen and kidnap your child! Scott Tyree may have forced himself on Alicia Kozakiewicz in a lot of ways, but first and foremost, he did not force himself into her life. She invited him into her life!
And that's how it happens, guys! Honest to God, that's how it really works! There is no possible way that anyone can harm your children over the Internet. It's impossible. A collection of pixels on a monitor can't harm someone. A sicko pervert can't magically reach through the screen and fuck your little boy or girl. They also can't magically force your child to give out their personal information!
Parents, LISTEN TO ME! There is one rule and only one rule regarding Internet safety. It will protect your children from absolutely everything that could possibly happen to them as a result of meeting some sick fuck online.
THAT'S ALL! The money you spent on monitoring software and porn blockers and all that kinda shit? You wasted it. NOTHING can stop your kids from getting to the bad shit online and NOTHING can stop sickos from talking to your kids if they really want to. However, there is NOTHING that those sick assholes can actually DO to your children *if they follow the fucking rule* and just LIE about their identity!
The Internet is an awesome place. You can totally make up your own identity and be whoever you want to be. My little girl, Meg, for example. Online, she's a few years older, lives in a different city, and even has a completely different first and last name. Yeah, she has a MySpace page even though she's too young to be allowed to have one, by MySpace's policy. And yeah, she has her picture up there. So what? She has the wrong name, the wrong age, and the wrong city listed. Any pervert attempting to track her down would hit a dead end rather quickly. And if she talks to people online, she knows to stick to her fake persona, no matter how nice someone is. She knows that NOBODY is nice enough to deserve to know who you really are online.
The one rule, really, can be broken down to be even more simplisitic. Parents, kids, teachers, everybody, listen up. There is only ONE rule about how to represent yourself online. Only one rule and it's only one word: Lie.
Parents, that's the only rule you need. If your kids can follow that one rule, you don't have to worry about them. They may see some naughty stuff, they may encounter some people who will say naughty things to them, but they will NEVER get hurt by any of it. Follow the rule, and nobody can ever find you. Nobody can ever meet up with you. Nobody will ever be able to have you walk out of your front door and meet up with a boogey man. If Alicia Kozakiewicz's parents had taken ten fucking minutes to have a serious talk with her about this rule and make sure she understood how dangerous it is to break it, maybe she wouldn't have lost the last of her childhood to some disgusting fucktard.
So yes, parents, please do keep your kids safe online. You can do that by teaching them how to protect themselves. Keeping their big fucking mouths shut about who and where they really are is all it takes. That's common damn sense and it's all you need to know.