Recently you may have heard of the story of 36-year-old convicted rapist Lloyd Jones of Little Rock, Arkansas. He’s accused of murdering 16-year-old Angela Allen after meeting the teen online. When I first heard of this story I assumed the website used was either MyYearbook or Facebook. It turns out it was a social networking site that I never heard of until now.
First the details. Jones is said to have told police that he took Allen to the Arkansas River and then freaked out and pushed her in the river when she told him her actual age. Except that Angela’s body was found in a plastic barrel on his brother’s property and the autopsy says that the cause of death was strangulation and that there was no water in her lungs.
Jones was previously convicted for a 2001 rape where he held a box cutter to a woman’s throat and covered her mouth with duct tape before raping her. He got 10 years for that and only served 8.
The website that police say Jones met Angela on is called Mbuzzy. I had never heard of this site before today. I went there to check it out and it seems like a low rent hook up site much like MyYearbook. The difference with Mbuzzy is it’s geared towards smartphone users. That means that kids can access this site and that predators can reach out to kids without them even being home. I do mean kids by the way as Mbuzzy’s terms of service allow for users as young as 13.
It’s easy to monitor your kids’ activity on computers, on smartphones not so much especially since the phone is in the child’s possession most of the time. Even more disheartening I discovered that Android phones have no parental controls built in. You have to use trial and error with various apps from the marketplace. The iPhone on the other hand does have built-in parental controls and you can learn how to use them here.
Remember, as a parent you are the only real line of defense between your kids and online sexual predators. That now includes cell phones as well as computers. Knowledge is power. Arm yourselves with that knowledge before it’s too late.
UPDATE 8/24/2012: Jones has pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 60 years in prison. If he went to trial and was found guilty he would have gotten LWOP. How in the blue hell was this previously convicted rapist not up for the death penalty?