Strangers still a real threat

Published 11:25 am Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Many of us were taught never to talk to strangers when we were very young.

It is a lesson that parents still teach their children, but now is more important than ever.

The word “strangers” used to refer to unknown people at the park or mall, people walking or driving down the street — people who were in close proximity, people you could see.

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Now, the word “stranger” has a whole new meaning. With the click of a button, anyone can let a stranger into their home through a variety of websites and forums.

This week, a 9-year-old girl in Lawrence County did just that when she accepted a friend request from a man she did not know.

The man allegedly sent the girl explicit messages and photographs.

Luckily, the girl knew the exchange of graphic material was wrong and she told her parents. Her parents subsequently called police and the man was arrested.

But you can see just how easy it can be to let a predator into your home. It took one click to accept a friend request.

These days it is more important than ever for parents to teach their children how to responsibly use social media and the Internet. Simply denying children access is not the answer.

Society is very much Internet-centric and children should know that there are very real dangers lurking and how to spot them.

While we are very concerned this 9-year-old girl allegedly witnessed some photos and messages not appropriate for a young mind, we applaud her for doing the right thing by telling her parents.