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Tween Titans Tween Titans

Do You Check Your Tweens Online Activity?

Posted by on Apr. 15, 2012 at 2:43 PM
  • 15 Replies

Creepy 'Sextortionist' Reminds Me Why Moms Need to Check Their Kids’ Online Activity

Posted by Janelle Harris

Richard Finkbiner
Richard Finkbiner
My daughter thinks I’m overprotective—unnecessarily overprotective—but every day, I run across a story that reminds me how many freaks and weirdos really are running loose out here in the world. This guy is one of them: Richard Finkbiner, a 39-year-old alleged sexual deviant who apparently blackmailed underage boys by demanding dirty photos of them. If they didn’t send them, he threatened to spread the racy pictures that he already had in his possession.

"All I ask is for you delete it please im (sic) onlyh (sic) 14 please just do this to somebody else not me please," one of his victims pleaded in an email. How sad is that? What kind of heartless creep would make a kid beg to not have his nudie pics splashed across the world wide web? And even worse, what kind of jerk would solicit and take them in the first place?

Cops initiated a sting after one brave soul filed a criminal complaint against Finkbiner. When police searched his hard drive, they uncovered literally thousands of sexually explicit images and videos of boys in what attorneys estimate to be more than 100 underage victims. That would possibly make this the largest sextortion prosecution ever in the United States. Way to go down in the history books.

The pathetic criminal mastermind who threatened his teenage victims between November 2011 and February 2012 brought his perversion and extortion to a head when he met two 14-year-old boys online using video chat sites. He then found smutty images of the boys, told them that he'd post them all over gay websites if they didn't send him more sexually explicit photos, and bragged that he was above the law. "I won't get caught im (sic) a hacker I covered my tracks," he allegedly wrote to the victim who begged him not to leak his photos online.

But the long arm of justice was too savvy and thankfully, his prediction proved untrue. Finkbiner was arrested in his Indiana home, and investigators have released his photo in hopes of finding more victims. They’re encouraging kids who may have been solicited or badgered by him to come forward—victims and anyone with information are asked to contact the FBI at 877-542-8979—and I am, too. If Finkbiner gets the 30 years of hard time he’s facing, his conviction would start the healing process for many of the kids he’s exploited.

It’s just a reminder, though, that even though teenagers are smelling their independence and think they’re almost grown, they’re not above protective measures of their parents. Just to keep an eye on what’s going on, who they’re talking to, and any dangers they might be in.

I know moms and dads don’t want to encroach on their privacy but I feel like this right here: 1) everything under my roof is subject to search and seizure and 2) it’s for Teen Girl’s own good because, until she’s beyond the influences of peer pressure and the habit of impulsive decision-making—especially when it comes to what she says and does online, where pictures and videos and even statements live on forever and ever—it’s not a bad idea to catch bad behavior, talk about it, and punish her if need be.

We can’t keep an eye on our kids all the time, but I think we should take full advantage of the times that we can. This story just reminded me that homegirl is about due for a little review of her online activity, whether she thinks I’m overprotective or not. For her own safety’s sake.

Do you check up on what your tweens are doing online?

by on Apr. 15, 2012 at 2:43 PM
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Replies (1-10):
auroragold
by on Apr. 15, 2012 at 2:44 PM

I most certainly do - - and regularly too

psych_mom
by on Apr. 15, 2012 at 2:49 PM
My dh does. It's his computer and he checks it regularly.
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styler7
by on Apr. 15, 2012 at 4:48 PM
All the time!
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Lorelai_Nicole
by Lorelai on Apr. 15, 2012 at 5:13 PM
On occasion. Maybe once or twice a month. Luckily my oldest dd has a good head on her shoulders and knows better than to "chat" with people she doesn't know. When my other kids get their own computers, though, I will probably check more often.
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brandi185
by on Apr. 15, 2012 at 10:55 PM

my kids don't really do anything online outside of goodreads and my 10 year old has an email that only family can contact him thru.  we have a computer in the living room that the kids can use.  i am always in the room when they use it and they have to ask first.  the only other time they are online is on the xbox.  they play the online multiplayer stuff for certain games.  they know they can't talk to or become "friends" with anyone that they don't know in real life.  we have the family center set up for the xbox so i can check every thing they do on there.

Wyldbutterfly
by on Apr. 16, 2012 at 6:26 AM

Yes I do and quite often. She is now starting to mind that I do this, which,quite frankly is too bad!

cleanmoss
by on Apr. 16, 2012 at 10:25 AM

yes we do and since she into roll playing online with her online friends got to keep up with that, it hasnt been anything wrong ever, she a good girl, all it is that they do is one starts a story and then you add your parts in the story and then another person adds to it and then on and on, and then you can read what the story is like with every ones has to say, its kind of neat, my dd started doing this on her phone with a few girls so they have something to text about.

emilyrosenj
by on Apr. 16, 2012 at 10:33 AM

Yes, I was lax but I'm more vigilant now.  And my daughter's computer is coming out of her room back onto the porch/office where mine is.

mommyto3bees
by on Apr. 16, 2012 at 12:03 PM

my kids never go online or on computer except for the school sites at school.. 

M4LG5
by Valeri on Apr. 16, 2012 at 12:40 PM


Quoting mommyto3bees:

my kids never go online or on computer except for the school sites at school.. 

This except she had tried to go to youtube a few times because her friends told her to watch something.  I told her that anytime she goes on youtube I MUST be with her.  I had to explain that sometimes people put things on there that is not appropriate for young kids but still put a title like "Selena Gomez" on it.

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