Some websites make it easy for predators to chat with kids

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Normal Some websites make it easy for predators to chat with kids

Post by Wrapitup on Sun Dec 18, 2011 6:55 pm

By Kerry Tomlinson KATU Problem Solver and KATU.com Staff Published: Dec 12, 2011 at 8:43 PM PST

'Kyrsten did not run away, she ran to someone'  

PORTLAND, Ore. - After a 15-year-old Gresham girl disappeared last week, possibly lured away by an older man she met online, the KATU Problem Solvers looked into how easy it is for kids to chat with predators on the Internet.

Kyrsten was last seen Wednesday at a coffee house across the street from her school. A friend said she saw a man in his 20s drive by and pick her up.

Michelle, Kyrsten's mother, said that her daughter's 12-year-old brother saw Kyrsten video chatting with adult men online before she disappeared.

Kyrsten's Internet history may give clues about her disappearance, and the KATU Problem Solvers found children can quickly and easily open an account and chat with strangers.

For example, Otakuzone.com is not just cartoons. Teens who feel they don’t fit in look to belong go to the site.

"This looks like a website where a predator might go to because of the kinds of kids that would go to that website," said Detective Gary Wright, with the Intercept Task Force. He investigates Internet crimes against children.

He says parents should find out which sites their children are visiting and take a closer look. He says parents should look for screen names that could be risky. For example, the Problem Solvers found one screen name called "Absolute Boyfriend."

"If I'm a 14-year-old girl, I'm seeing that and thinking, 'Here's a guy who not only is going to like me for who I am, but he's going to be around for a long time,'" Wright said.

Parents can also check to see what kind of stuff the site lets their kids see. For example, Otakuzone.com leads to porn in a matter of seconds. On that site, it is animated porn, a favorite of child predators.

On Myyearbook.com, another site where Kyrsten had an account, tells young people they can find their best friends and the love of their lives.

But in less than a minute after signing in, children can be chatting with strangers.

Those strangers will claim to be kids of the same age. In the short time the KATU Problem Solvers were on the site they were told they were "sexy and hot."

"You might find that this is a totally fine website and maybe something you want your kid to go to, but you also might find out the opposite," said Wright. "The main thing that parents really need to do, though, is to get involved in the first place. We know that parents don't get involved."

He said parents need to put in software that will monitor their kids' sites. If that sounds intimidating, parents can take a class or ask at the computer store about what to do and how to do it.


Parents should also tell their kids that they are monitoring them and talk to them about the sites they’re visiting and the risks of doing so.

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Note: Krysten was found safe.

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