We’ve covered the inequity of our legal system, the perils of pedophiles using the furry fetish movement to cop feels, using religion to sexually exploit children, the corporate predator and pub predators. It’s been a busy week.
My post today is only meant to serve as a warning, if not for you fine reader, then for your children. I want to discuss online predators, but first let me set the stage…
A man sat hunched over a cluttered desk, eyes glued to a computer monitor. His right index finger moved rhythmically as he clicked his way through a barrage of web pages. He was searching for something special, something he craved in a way he was sure no one else in the world could fathom. His desire grew from a whisper at the back of his thoughts to a scream demanding to be acknowledged and acted upon. It had been weeks since last he played the game. His resolve all but gone, it was time to feed the beast that lurked within the shadows of his mind.
He paused on web page displaying the profile of a perky twenty-something. She had strawberry blonde hair that hung to her shoulders, dark eyes, and her full lips were drawn into a playful pout. He leaned even closer to the screen and ran his finger across her picture, tracing a line around her cheek.
“Ah, there you are, my pretty,” he whispered huskily. “Do you want to come and play with me?”
He tore his gaze from her photograph, quickly scanning through her personal info.
“Hello, Maggie Dugan. Did you use your real name on here?” He harbored a near certainty that she did as he read on. “Broomfield, Colorado. Interesting… How can a woman as young as you afford to live in a place like that? Do you live with your parents? Are you bored? I bet you would love to have a little excitement in your life.”
He quickly scrolled down the page and let out a low chuckle that almost sounded like a growl. “Only twenty-five and yet so alive. Single and looking, what a coincidence.”
He licked his lips in anticipation as he clicked on the link to add her to his “friends list”. If she accepted, he would begin the process of winning over her heart, mind, and eventually, her soul.
“Oh, Miss Maggie, please don’t keep me waiting for long.”
He exited her page and resumed his search, clicking through profile after profile. There was always the chance that Maggie wouldn’t take the bait, and he still had a ravenous hunger to sate after all.
I’m sure you get the picture and I’m also sure you know all of the warning signs that the person wooing you over the internet owns stock in duct tape and loam. The big question is… does everyone in your family know?
When my book The Dance was accepted for publication , I thought it would be a fun idea to create Myspace pages for my hero and villain. It is the page for the villain (Kyle) that brings me to my point. I created a dark themed page and listed his interest as:
Music, sharp objects, duct tape, fishing wire, killing, becoming immortal, fear and let’s not forget the screams. I live for the sweet song of terror realized.
I went on and on about all of the wickedness that made up the character. I even listed his occupation as serial killer. Kyle is a really big, muscular guy. So, I found a picture of bodybuilder that matched the physique I had in my minds eye and posted it as his default picture.
I set him up with a couple of dozen friends, made a few comments and left him alone for a bit. Before long, friend requests were coming in on a fairly regular basis. The vast majority were from girls between the ages of 16 and 21.
It wasn’t long before he was being propositioned by these young women. I would kindly ask them to go back and read over the page again. This was usually enough. Some still persisted until I finally broke down and told them that Kyle was a character from a book.
One particularly eager teenager wrote back and said,” So, you’re into sharp objects, what’s the big deal? Hey, my parents are going away this weekend. How long do you think it would take me to drive from Dallas to Tulsa? Maybe you could teach me how to dance.” Without going into too much detail, Kyle’s definition of a Dance and hers weren’t exactly the same.
She was clearly blinded by biceps.
My point? The predators are out there and unlike Kyle, they’re more than willing to meet with unsuspecting victims. So, parents watch your children. You never know who is really on the other end of that IM or text message.