I wanted to share with you what we have personally experienced this week with online predators.
One of our children had a roblox account that we thought was harmless. We have had countless internet safety talks. They have educated the kids at school about internet safety. We watch them. We had monitored it before to make sure it was solely just being used for gaming and safe. All was fine. She was following the rules.
I walked into the room on Tuesday and our child backed out of a screen quickly and set her phone down face down. This was a red flag- so I took the phone and searched what she could be hiding from me. That is when I found it. An online relationship with a “13 year old” on roblox chat. This had been going on for a few weeks. This person told her they loved her, wanted to marry her, had gotten her a ring, asked her how old she was/where she lived/her skin tone, made 10+ references to seeing her in real life. There was no sexual content- but it doesn’t matter. That is grooming, parents. This person would break up with her and upset her and our daughter would be begging them not to leave her… they had started manipulating her to think she needed them. This person started discussing hating their parents and asking her if she wanted to live with them.
Per a police officer friend- no laws had been broken. So I thankfully had a friend that works in human trafficking. She directed me to the national human trafficking hotline where I reported and opened a case. They, then, referred me to Centers for missing and exploited children to also open a case because they will initiate the investigation with their analysts and lastly our case will be forwarded to local state or federal law enforcement. The experts I talked to said what she experienced is text book grooming. Our daughter was upset and was seemingly grieving the loss of this person she thought she loved. She tried to get back on roblox even after talking to her about the seriousness of human trafficking and child predators because she still couldn’t believe it.
This very well could have turned out differently. It was on the cusp of manipulating her against us, talking her into seeing them… etc. we are forever grateful and blessed it was caught soon enough and we had the connections to find the appropriate places to report and take care of this of so no children are harmed by this person.
These are just a few shots from the conversation."
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