I come from an age when if you were on the internet you never used your real name, hence the reason I’ve been using a pseudonym for 20 years. But today, people not only use their real names but some post almost every aspect of their lives onto social media. One of the many drawbacks to having such an active social media presence is stalking.
25-year-old Michael Maurice Williams of Delray Beach, Florida, is accused of allegedly breaking into the Boynton Beach home of a 20-year-old woman with a burgeoning music career he was following on Instagram. Williams is said to have repeatedly tried to stare into the woman’s bedroom, but one night late in November, Williams reportedly entered her home through the bedroom window, forced the woman down on the bed and tried to forcibly remove her clothing. I’m just going to go ahead and call that attempted rape even though that charge was not mentioned in any of the articles I read.
Williams was foiled by the woman’s 10-year-old brother who charged at him with a knife. Williams pushed the boy away but the woman and her brother were able to force Williams out of the home. Now that’s a brave kid. Williams is currently being held without bail.
While Williams is ultimately responsible for his own twisted actions, social media, much like anything else, should only be indulged in moderation for safety reasons alone.
37-year-old Jason Schultz is accused of allegedly posing as a 12-year-old boy on Instagram in order to solicit explicit pictures from underage girls in the Saginaw County area of Michigan. He is said to have solicited at least 50 school age girls using the aliases of Saginawbaseball;trevor, tKnightFreeland:Saginaw Baseball, and 23basketballJones23;Knight. Police say that the matter is still under investigation.
If you have any information regarding this matter of if your child received an Instagram message from the usernames “Saginawbaseball;trevor” “tKnightFreeland:Saginaw Baseball” or “23basketballJones23;Knight,” you are asked to contact Berg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to Instagram’s terms of service, a user is supposed to be at least 13-years-old. If I was still a parent of young children, I would probably not allow my kids top be on Instagram until they were at least 16 and even then I would heavily monitor their usage as predators can use the smallest amount of personal information to find their victims.
Police in Port Clinton, Ohio, are advising local residents to be aware of someone who has been approaching their children on Instagram. The person with the username of “cry_baby_cryyy” is said to have been approaching children on Instagram and having conversations with them before revealing they’re an adult. Reports say the Instagram conversations are ‘alarming’.
What I found more alarming was what Port Clinton Police discovered in their investigation.
In case you missed the part I was talking about, it’s the “some of the parents were not even aware that their child was using Instagram”.
Let me clue some parents into something. If your kids have a mobile device, such as a cell phone or tablet, and they’re above the age of 12, they’re probably on Instagram, and if they’re on Instagram, they’re probably sharing too much personal information whether they realize it or not.
Online predators can often discern your child’s relative location by things that appear in the background of pictures such as school colors or any activity your kid may belong to. Have a discussion with your kids about sharing information that could put them in danger, and if you don’t know if your kids are on Instagram, look for the icon at right on their devices.
38-year-old Vien Lam, of Louisville, Kentucky, was arrested after a father caught him talking to 12 and 13-year-old girls at a park. When the man approached Lam, the suspect ran off. (I guess you could say he was…wait for it….on the Lam.) When police interviewed the girls they reportedly said they had been talking to Lam since June on Instagram. They also said Lam was allegedly posing as someone younger and asked them to meet up. The conversations were said to be rather explicit. Thank God that father was at the park or who knows what would have happened to those girls.
I can’t stress enough to parents to check all of your kids’ social media accounts. Check their friends list, check who’s commenting on their pictures, and check who is sending them messages. You never know who may be trying to meet your kids at a park. It may seem like a daunting task, but isn’t your child’s safety worth it?
If it wasn’t for Kik, I could rename this site ‘Teachers and Snapchat’, but I digress.
30-year-old Brock Smith, of Naples, Florida is accused of allegedly using photo sharing apps Snapchat and Instagram in an attempt to lure teenage girls for sex. Smith is a teacher at a local high school. Before you ask, no, it was not with one of his students. In a 2016 incident, Smith allegedly messaged a 17-year-old girl over Snapchat saying he would visit her where she worked. If that wasn’t creepy enough, Smith ‘had sex’ with the girl in the workplace’s bathroom. He then stopped communicating with the girl.
In a more recent event, Smith is accused of messaging a 16-year-old on Instagram and asking her to add him on Snapchat. The conversation soon turned sexual and Smith allegedly sent the girl explicit pictures of himself. He is also said to have messaged the girl saying he was “free in the mornings to meet for sex” and mentioned the girl could come over when his wife was away. What a class act.
For those of you wondering, and I know some of you are out there, the age of consent in Florida is 18 and the poorly named Romeo and Juliet clause doesn’t apply to a 13 year difference in age.
Again I have to ask, what is it with teachers and Snapchat? As I’ve said before, I’m not cherry picking Snapchat stories that have teachers in them. It seems like I see more Snapchat stories with teachers in them than other types of predators.
As usual, my advice to parents here is to check who is on the friends list of all your kids’ apps. If one of them is a teacher at their school, which seems to happen frequently, let the school know. It may be innocent, but it’s better to be sure. Also, tell your kids if their teacher wants to friend them on social media, you need to know. It’s my opinion that no teacher should be friending their students on social media while circumventing their parents’ knowledge.
35-year-old Derrick La Marr Jones, of Catonsville, Maryland, was arrested for allegedly trying to lure a 16-year-old girl from Ashburn, Virginia to Baltimore through Instagram, while using the screen name of ‘Toxicnfektion’. He is also said to have sent an Uber to the girl’s home to bring her to Baltimore. Authorities say that this girl may not be his only victim.
Investigators say that Jones has traveled all over the country to various comic conventions, and the like, in order to try to pick up underage girls. He would use the aliases of Kanovski Zan-Lee Vulgen, Kano or Lee, when telling girls at these cons that he was anywhere from his late teens to early 20s. He also claimed to be a cosplayer, a martial artist and a pro-gamer. Jones is said to have attended conventions in Orlando, Albuquerque, Phoenix, Flagstaff, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Salt Lake City.
Police believe he may have more victims…
Anyone with information regarding the possible identity of the suspect is asked to call Detective J. Suess of the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office at 703-777-0475 or you may submit a tip through the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office app, which can be downloaded on iTunes or Google Play.
There are few things as sad as a middle-aged man trying to act like a young person for any reason. Doing so to try to pick up underage women is even sadder. Not to mention that he bragged about being a martial artist. I bet he even tried to convince them he was an MMA fighter. If he wasn’t so potentially dangerous he’d be almost laughable.
The 14-year-old boy was using his mom’s phone for Instagram because his phone was broken. The mom reviewed his Instagram activity and was able to arrange a meeting with El-Saawy that just so happened to involve police. The mom also has some great advice for parents…
“Be vigilant,” she said. “It’s not invading their privacy. It’s making sure that they stay safe.”