The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil,
but because of those who look on and do nothing.

~~~ Albert Einstein

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Making Friends

Since it seems like the MySpace 'fad' isn't going to go away anytime soon- and more than likely your child or a child you know has an account, there's a suggestion floating around that you might want to consider. We all know that online predators are out on the web in every one of the places that our kids will want to be- it's just in their deviant nature. But, more and more often local police agencies are popping up at those same places, hoping to bring a little online assistance to your kids. The suggestion is that you add a police department (local if possible, but any will do really) to your or your kids tops friends lists. It puts a direction connection to law enforcement in case of predators, or online bullies... making assistance just a few clicks away. There are dozens of them out there, available to 'friend' you or your kids, but just as a random sampling- here's a few to get you started.

And the article that popped this subject into my head tonight:

"Random people do send messages," said Sullivan. "It's kind of weird. You'll read it and it says hey, just want to see what's up. I'm 24. I'm 17 years old in high school. You shouldn't even be looking at my profile. It's just weird."

That's where the Herkimer and Mohawk Police Departments come in. They want to be your kid's number one friend on MySpace - hoping this patch with deter the bad guys.

"If the opportunity exists, you never know," said Officer Jody Wheet of the Herkimer Police Department. "But hopefully, we can stop it before it happens."

And if the patch isn't enough to keep the potential predators away, your kid will have easy access to the police, as another line of defense.

"They can send us an email, instant message; they can contact us if they run into a problem with a predator," Wheet said. "Somebody trying to approach them."

So what do teens really think of this top friend initiative?

"I'm sure that could strike enough fear into some predators, but some predators wouldn't even notice it," Smith said.

"It's for safety," Sullivan said. "So I'd do it."

It's a program that's just getting started, but police say they hope it takes off soon.

You can find these LE MySpace pages at or