Younger You

The Knot

THE TEEN YEARS

How To Outwit Your Teenager

THE TEEN YEARS header image 1

Facebook Stalking

May 14th, 2010 · 1 Comment

missing teen
Above: Nona Belomesoff, 18, of Cecil Hills is missing after meeting up with Facebook strangers. Source

A teenage girl disappeared on Wednesday, May 12 after meeting up with two men she was introduced to on Facebook, according to news reports. Nona Belomesoff allegedly met her new Facebook friends at Leumeah in Sydney’s south-west and hasn’t been seen since.

With the majority of teenagers regularly accessing Facebook on some level, it’s hard not to put your child in Nona’s shoes. Would you know if your child was meeting new people on Facebook? Most parents view it as a social setting for their child’s group of friends. We allow them to be on Facebook because all of their friends are there and we wouldn’t want them to be the odd one out.

I don’t know about you but when I was a teenager I don’t recall having 448 friends. So who are the other 438 that have only ever visited your home via the internet?

My sons call me a stalker because I regularly check up on their Facebook accounts, even though the 16-year-old has done everything he can to block me. I don’t do it for kicks, or because I don’t have faith in their judgment. I do it because of the nutters that lurk around in cyberspace, pretending to be attractive teenage boys and girls, luring in our young and vulnerable.

I was at a coffee morning a few months ago with a group of mothers of teenagers. One of them expressed horror that I was checking up on my sons on Facebook. “It’s like reading their personal diary,” she suggested.

“Yes, except there’s nothing private about Facebook,” I countered. And that’s exactly the point.

My sons and their friends naively and innocently express themselves via the most public of forums. I think it’s reasonable for a parent to want to see what complete strangers are able to access about their child. And also to see what strangers they are interacting with.

My son recently found himself chatting with a stranger on msn messenger and then messaged his friends on Facebook to find out if they were pretending to be the person who was “acting like a pedo” that he was talking to. When I read that, my emotions surged from fear to relief, and then back again.

Was my son in conversation with a dodgy stranger? FEAR!

He recognised the person was a dodgy stranger and not only backed out of the conversation but went on Facebook and alerted his friends. RELIEF…

You can see why Facebook stalking my kids has become a way of life.

Tags: Media · Strangers · social media

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 admin // May 16, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    Update: The day after I wrote this article Nona’s body was discovered in Sydney’s south-west, a tragic wake-up call to the dark side of social media.

Leave a Comment