I’ve been taking mental break from the website for the past week or so but I read something tonight that demanded my attention.
I’m sure a lot of you have heard about the murder of 13-year-old Nicole Lovell of Blacksburg, Virginia. She went missing last Wednesday after sneaking out of her house. Her body was later found across the border into North Carolina. Police believe that she was allegedly stabbed to death by 18-year-old Virginia Tech student David Eisenhauer. Also arrested was 19-year-old Natalie Keepers who is being charged with being an accessory to first-degree murder and helping dispose of Nicole’s body.
It’s believed that Eisenhauer met and communicated with Nicole through the smart phone messaging app Kik. Unfortunately that makes a lot of sense to me. For the past few years I’ve been posting just some of the examples of how Kik is used by sex offenders and pedophiles. Nicole, by all accounts, was a very vulnerable child. She was bullied not only in school but also online. She had survived several health scares when she was much younger, one of which left her with a visible scar. She seemed to be insecure about her looks and looked for approval online. That’s fertile ground for any kind of online predator. They live to prey upon the insecurities of their victims. Nicole honestly believed that Eisenhauer was her boyfriend.
The thing is any girl could have been Eisenhauer’s victim or the victim of another predator. There’s no profile for the type of victims on Kik. They can be smart, popular, cool, nerdy, loners or what have you. What I’m trying to say is that any kid using Kik is a potential victim. Have a talk with your kids. Let them know that if someone that old is showing ‘romantic’ interest in them it’s more than likely not for a good reason. And above all else educate yourself on these smart phone and tablet apps. Even if a cell phone is inactive it can still use a wi-fi signal to connect to these apps.
When I was young my parents could afford to be technologically illiterate and let the VCR flash 12:00. In today’s world where there are so many online avenues to your kids that luxury no longer exists.