Kids and the Internet

I am probably one of the biggest fans of teens using technology, but have you ever heard that expression “Ask your parents’ permission before going online”?  Well that warning is hardly ever being enforced in today’s world.

The reason I’m writing this article is because yesterday I decided to list my iPhone on Craigslist, since I’d purchased a Blackberry for business purposes.  Soon after, some kid responded to my ad wanting to buy my phone, and asks when we can meet.

So this person tells me that she is eleven years old through our short sequence of emails.  I’m not all that concerned about this as long as I get my money, so I tell her my address to come pick it up.  Twenty minutes later, this small 5’1 girl shows up at my door with $450 cash, and guess what, she’s alone.

I asked her how she got here and she said she walked.  I asked if her parents knew what she was doing and she told me no, they’re at work.  So basically this eleven year old girl shows up to some random stranger’s house, with a large amount of money and no one else who knows what she’s doing.  I give her the phone, tell her to be careful, and she runs off.

There are so many problems with this I can’t even begin how to explain it!  First of all, she told me her age through the emails.  That’s a whoop-de-do moment for your garden-variety pedophile.  What if she was meeting someone much older than me, and also what if they had criminal intentions?  Imagine the look on a recently-paroled sex offender when he finds out that there will be an eleven year old girl showing up, alone, to his house?

There have been many incidents where kids who went to meet people on Craigslist were kidnapped, raped, and even killed!  I even get the urge to kill someone on CL when they’re aggressively trying to lower the price.

Second, this kid came to my house alone and doped up with money.  What kind of parents allow an eleven year old to go out on their own?  I certainly would not if I had a kid that young.  Also, this small, 5’1 girl was carrying more than $400 in cash around.  Dangerous to begin with.

Third, the little girl just paid me and ran off with the iPhone box I gave her.  Sure, there was the iPhone and accessories in it, but she didn’t even bother to check, much less test it.  She could’ve just handed a large sum of money to someone trying to scam her!

Fourth, where was this girl getting the money?  $100 is a lot of money to a teenager, and now an eleven year old shows up at my door with over four times that amount.

In conclusion, I think that teens as immature as that should stay away from Craigslist, much less stay off the Internet!  I guarantee you that girl will eventually get robbed, or worse!  I cannot believe I’m saying this but I think that parents should regulate Internet usage and monitor their children!  (And I thought my mother was hard on my Internet use!)

Craigslist is not a safe place for children to be on.

I’m not a hypocrite for using Craigslist myself, because I actually know how to use it and be safe with it!

So kids, be safe!  My advice, if you are using Craigslist then meet in a public place (e.g., a store or coffee shop), always go with your parents or at least someone who can defend you, and always let someone else know about it just in case something happens.

-Ryan

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