KANSAS (KSNT) — The FBI is continuing to develop its case against a 55-year-old man who met a 13-year-old Missouri teen online, and then abducted her to New Mexico.
Hannah Sue Kennish, was found safe Monday after disappearing following weeks of internet conversations with the man.
It’s a parent’s worst nightmare, finding out that their child has disappeared in the middle of the night.
Many times these incidents began with a relationship your child and their kidnapper started online.
“It is the wild wild west on the internet no doubt,” said Kate Hughes, an online internet instructor at the Shawnee County Topeka public library.
Google, email, Facebook. On your laptop, at your desk, on your smart phone.
As you already know the internet plays a huge role in your child’s daily life, but it also comes with danger.
“It’s scary, there are fake profiles. You never know who you are really talking to,” said Dora Neeley, a concerned parent.
According to a 2013 Pew Research Center Survey, 95 percent of teens aged 12 to 17 use the internet. 80 percent of those online teens use social media sites.
The survey found sites like Facebook and Twitter, are a breeding ground for pedophiles.
Hannah Sue Kennish, the Missouri teen that went missing over the weekend, met her online predator through a social media site. Under a fake account.
“Kids today are a lot smarter than most parents when it comes to the internet,” said Jim Driggers, owner of the Computer Store.
They know how to get around many of the parental controls, so this expert says go the next step, and get some sophisticated, often free tracking software.
“Net Nanny, there’s one called k-9, which is the one I use at home for my grandkids. Its free, but it helps your limit what they can see,” said Driggers. “The software it takes pictures of the screen and what that person is looking at sends you an email.”
For those who aren’t tech savvy with the internet, the best advice is get savvy.
“I’ve had parents come in and ask about privacy settings on social media,” said Hughes. “And the best way we can deal with that is one-on-one in our computer and gadget help session.”
Those who spoke with KSNT News say the best way to encourage online safety is to sit down and have a chat with your teen.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children says, one in every 25 children between the ages of 10 to 17 received an online sexual solicitation, where the predator then tried to make offline in-person contact.
To find out more on computer safety, as well as the help session at the Topeka library visit https://tscpl.org/events