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Well, it looks like the girl from our neighborhood has likely been found...no happy reunion. - A Suburbs Boy Living a Country Life [Pete and Pam's pages (photos and some commentary)] [Pam's journal] [Our company] [My Flickr Photos] [Arisia]
October 6th, 2005
02:58 am

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Well, it looks like the girl from our neighborhood has likely been found...no happy reunion.
Until she went to VCU, Taylor Behl lived literally a couple of blocks away--I had no idea until another neighbor told me. Then I started seeing her pictures up, everywhere.

Now it appears likely that she's fallen prey to a child pornographer--who appears to have been a bit more than that. No charges filed yet--the news is that the body was wearing clothes consistent with what Taylor was last seen in, found in a shallow grave on an ex-girlfriend's farm. The "person of interest" in custody (can we call him a suspect, now?) attempted to establish an alibi (he wasn't abducting someone--he GOT abducted, that's from where all those cuts and bruises came...yeah...right). His chatty lawyer has suddenly STFU...what do you want to bet that Mr. Lawyer Man was sucked in to this guy's story, too--bet he feels pretty stupid, now.

it's so freaking scary. I think that I'm going to quietly install keyboard loggers and activity monitors on Q's computers. Then--the hard part--playing dumb like I know nothing, until something happens--or a predator appears to come along--and stepping in. Can a relationship with a child survive that level of breach of privacy?

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From:flyingwolf
Date:October 6th, 2005 11:41 am (UTC)
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Poor kid.

I don't know what to say about, what is esentially spying on your own child. At Qs current age it seems appropriate. But what's the cutoff? When do you just have to let go and trust your child? At 12? 16? 18? (hmm. legally you might have to at 18.) And of course given Qs obvious smarts, how soon before he learns to disarm whatever you install?

Worst case senario - you don't do it and something happens. Best case - you do it and something almost happens. In between in the much more likely - you do it, nothing happens, he finds out. Things blow up. (and if you're really lucky - you do it. nothing happens. period.)
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From:zarhooie
Date:October 6th, 2005 11:49 am (UTC)
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Look at it this way: I never would have met any of my LJ friends if my parents had taken those measures.
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From:happypete
Date:October 6th, 2005 12:46 pm (UTC)

True...

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But then again, your parents were, frankly, incredibly permissive.

You're smart, and you have generally good judgment--but people are saying that about Taylor, too.

I know you've met many friends on LJ--many of them much older than you. Luckily, none of them have been rapists, murderers, or exploiters.
From:zarhooie
Date:October 6th, 2005 12:48 pm (UTC)

Re: True...

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From:happypete
Date:October 6th, 2005 12:50 pm (UTC)

Re: True...

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From:zarhooie
Date:October 6th, 2005 12:54 pm (UTC)

Re: True...

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From:happypete
Date:October 6th, 2005 12:55 pm (UTC)

Re: True...

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From:schizobovine
Date:October 6th, 2005 12:00 pm (UTC)
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The lawyer's a tool if he bought that story -- Occam's razor, man.

Keyboard logging's probably going too far as that's a crapload of data to grep. A better solution might be a network monitor (tcpdump or the like) monitoring specific traffic like AIM, Email, IRC, etc.

As for the breach of privacy, well...I don't really know. I'm not a parent and don't plan to be. Nevertheless, I'd rather protect the child's life and violate some of their privacy. Besides, it's never too early to remind young ones that Big Brother's already watching them. :-P
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From:happypete
Date:October 6th, 2005 12:49 pm (UTC)

Heh..

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I guess one thing I could do is disclose the monitoring, and explain that I'm doing it to protect them from unscupulous people...

Something like TCPDUMP with triggers and alerts is probably the best choice--what would be really good would be if I could "white-list" at the protocol level--if his friend has an IM, I could set it not to log..but I'd get a report of new "conversers" and decide whether they could be likewise approved, blocked, or monitored.
From:gundo
Date:October 6th, 2005 02:14 pm (UTC)

Re: Heh..

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From:born_to_me
Date:October 6th, 2005 03:38 pm (UTC)

Re: Heh..

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From:schizobovine
Date:October 6th, 2005 02:26 pm (UTC)

Re: Heh..

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From:mama_hogswatch
Date:October 6th, 2005 12:09 pm (UTC)
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From:flyingwolf
Date:October 6th, 2005 12:26 pm (UTC)

Re: Keyboard Monitor

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she was a freshman and was 17
From:flyingwolf
Date:October 7th, 2005 01:20 pm (UTC)

Re: Keyboard Monitor

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From:happypete
Date:October 6th, 2005 12:43 pm (UTC)

Re: Keyboard Monitor

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From:mama_hogswatch
Date:October 6th, 2005 12:53 pm (UTC)
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From:happypete
Date:October 6th, 2005 01:03 pm (UTC)

Re: Keyboard Monitor

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From:flyingwolf
Date:October 6th, 2005 01:11 pm (UTC)

Re: Keyboard Monitor

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From:happypete
Date:October 6th, 2005 01:16 pm (UTC)

Re: Keyboard Monitor

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From:mama_hogswatch
Date:October 6th, 2005 01:27 pm (UTC)
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From:happypete
Date:October 6th, 2005 01:48 pm (UTC)

Re: Keyboard Monitor

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From:chesuli
Date:October 6th, 2005 12:39 pm (UTC)
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From:happypete
Date:October 6th, 2005 12:49 pm (UTC)

That's a good idea...

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no computer in his own room for a good long while.
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From:drowsy_poppy
Date:October 6th, 2005 12:46 pm (UTC)
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Honestly, why do it secretly?

Tell him what you're doing, tell him why. Tell him that sometimes, older people try and attract little kids over the internet and you're worried. Make it clear that you don't care about the conversations he has with people he knows, that you aren't going to tell his teacher that he told his best friend she was an @$$[-]34D or however the kids are spelling it these days.

Also, ask him if he talks with people he meets over the internet. Ask him to introduce you. That way, you can watch out for internet predators, but you'll also be taking an interest in his life.

Just my $.02, don't know how much good it'll do you, I don't have kids.
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From:happypete
Date:October 6th, 2005 12:52 pm (UTC)

It's a good suggestion...

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Quinn understands about "stranger danger," and people needing to be introduced to him by a trusted adult. This would just be extending that concept online.
From:eeedge
Date:October 6th, 2005 02:00 pm (UTC)

Re: It's a good suggestion...

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From:takaal
Date:October 6th, 2005 12:56 pm (UTC)
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From:amylgam
Date:October 7th, 2005 12:40 am (UTC)
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From:dindin
Date:October 6th, 2005 01:01 pm (UTC)
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found in a shallow grave on an ex-girlfriend's farm.

Ah. That part I did not hear.

I strongly disagree with your decision to monitor Q's activities. It's not just a breach of privacy, it's a breach of trust. There are tons of guidelines and resources for teaching your children about the internet and how to discriminate between what's safe and what's not, including information to never give out on the internet, including having his 'net usage in a common area, not in his bedroom.

Taylor Behl was 17 and sleeping with a grown man your age, Pete. Her mother let her go to Richmond by herself while still in high school and stay in a "friend"'s apartment and she climbed into bed with this guy. Maybe you were having sex at 17, but I wasn't, and neither of us were having it with adults. I'd like to believe we both had way too much common sense for that.

Don't take away Quinn's trust and privacy without him ever having done anything to deserve it. Teach him how to trust his instincts, protect him - don't overprotect him.

I dont' know where his computer is, but there's no reason for a 5 year old to have a computer in his bedroom. Any guidline for kids will tell you to keep kids' activities where they can be monitored, not necessarily to monitor them.

Granted, I'm not a parent, but sometimes an objective opinion is worth more than one that's too close to the subject at hand.
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From:happypete
Date:October 6th, 2005 01:12 pm (UTC)

I like the middle of the road ideas here...

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Here's a summary of what people have suggested so far, that seems to resonate with me:

1) Whatever we're doing, disclose it, discuss the reasons why.

2) Make it clear that what we're doing is not meant to "snoop" on him and his friends, but rather to protect him from Internet threats--some of whom can be very smooth and persuasive. Make choices in what and how we monitor his activities that minimize intrusion into his privacy.

And I was having sex at sixteen--not a lot, mind you, but it was a big deal to me at the time! :)
From:geminigirl
Date:October 6th, 2005 02:01 pm (UTC)

Re: I like the middle of the road ideas here...

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From:happypete
Date:October 6th, 2005 02:41 pm (UTC)

Re: I like the middle of the road ideas here...

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From:geminigirl
Date:October 6th, 2005 03:21 pm (UTC)

Re: I like the middle of the road ideas here...

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From:dindin
Date:October 6th, 2005 03:25 pm (UTC)

Re: I like the middle of the road ideas here...

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From:eeedge
Date:October 6th, 2005 01:57 pm (UTC)
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H knows which sites she is allowed to go to. She also knows that she is not allowed to send email or "neomail" (for Neopets) without letting me see it first. She's seven, and I've already had a few "personal information over the internet" discussions with her.

I think it's really hard to find that line between healthy and unhealthy paranoia lies. I don't want my children to grow up terrified of every shadow, but I want them not to hop in stranger's cars.

(Of course, I could also say the same about airport security, too... Dulles security made me take off my all fabric and rubber shoes saying that it isn't about metal anymore. Huh?)

Talk to Q, visually monitor what he's doing from time to time, and don't sneak around him. My two cents worth.
From:whc
Date:October 6th, 2005 02:11 pm (UTC)
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>Can a relationship with a child survive that level of breach of privacy?

Probably not.
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From:kittytoys
Date:October 6th, 2005 02:28 pm (UTC)
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I had some whole long thing I was prepared to write about what I have taught my sons and that they know about dangerous behavior but never mind. Spying on your kids is the same as lying to them. If you are honest with them they will be mostly honest with you and that’s good enough for me. Sometimes my boys are a little uncomfortable with my honesty but oh well. They only use the internet for looking up things anyway. They are the ones telling ME to be careful about talking to strangers on the internet. If you told him you were doing that it would be a different story. Oh and both my boys are nineteen now and have never been in any trouble.
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From:happypete
Date:October 6th, 2005 02:35 pm (UTC)

hrm...

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Okay, I'll stop lying to Quinn.

There is no Santa Claus. Nor are there monsters. Leaving the light on at night actually does nothing, and wastes energy. His fears are not rational. Even though, he's pretty good, he's probably not actually the "best little boy in the world." Shall I go on?
From:kittytoys
Date:October 6th, 2005 02:45 pm (UTC)

Re: hrm...

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From:nosebeepbear
Date:October 6th, 2005 07:50 pm (UTC)

Re: hrm...

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From:happypete
Date:October 6th, 2005 10:00 pm (UTC)

Re: hrm...

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From:happypete
Date:October 6th, 2005 02:43 pm (UTC)

NEVER been in ANY trouble?

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From:kittytoys
Date:October 6th, 2005 02:46 pm (UTC)

Re: NEVER been in ANY trouble?

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From:kittytoys
Date:October 6th, 2005 02:50 pm (UTC)

Re: NEVER been in ANY trouble?

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From:nosebeepbear
Date:October 6th, 2005 07:44 pm (UTC)
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From:cz_unit
Date:October 6th, 2005 02:50 pm (UTC)
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That is your deal, and I respect that. However I don't think I will be installing loggers on either Dylan or Tara's computers.

Which means I will just have to keep an eye on them the old fashioned way.

CZ
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From:coyotewoman
Date:October 6th, 2005 06:21 pm (UTC)
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When my troubled teenaged niece moved in with us, we installed keyboard loggers. Yes, it was a violation of privacy and trust -- and yes, it was absolutely necessary. She was doing some very dangerous things with potentially dangerous people much older than she was, and I did have to step in. Our relationship DID survive that violation of privacy -- but it took a while, and a lot jaw clenching and tears through the accusations and guilt trips. Now that she is a young mother herself, she has a whole new understanding of the need to protect a child from others and sometimes from himself.

If I was in the same position now? I would absolutely do it again, and accept the consequences.
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From:nosebeepbear
Date:October 6th, 2005 07:42 pm (UTC)
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Whew. What a rough ride that must have been! Inheriting a kid who already has problems is hard on everyone. I'm glad to hear it turned out well :).
From:manatee_x
Date:October 6th, 2005 07:28 pm (UTC)

My Take on this...

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I guess you could install keyboard loggers. What I'd recommend though is not allowing ANY child to have a computer OR television in their room.

If Quinn has to use the internet from a computer in the dining room, he's much less likely to try to pull something. Or have something done to him. Ditto with the Cable Tv. Not sure if there's anything on TV that you would object to him watching. Even if there isn't, having a TV in a public place can lead to some interesting discussions. You can talk about how crappy it is and stuff. ;)

(I particularly give this advice to parents who aren't quite so Tech Savvy (tm). Some parents have no idea what there kids can do from the privacy of a computer in their room. If the computer is in a public place, there is immediate monotoring).

-Chris
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From:nosebeepbear
Date:October 6th, 2005 07:39 pm (UTC)

Re: My Take on this...

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Someone once asked Miss Manners, "How do I keep my kids from looking at sites on the internet they've been told to stay away from?" She said, "Raise nice kids." ;)

I know it's not quite that simple, but she has a point there. I've lost track of how old Q is; for very young ones I heartily agree with manatee_x's solution. At some point, though, you have to trust that the kid is doing what's right. Unfortunately there's no button on the kid that lights up when that time comes :/.
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From:nosebeepbear
Date:October 6th, 2005 07:34 pm (UTC)
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Oh boy, that's a tough one. It's impossible to know what's right :/. My personal opinion is that violating privacy is the wrong choice. You're protecting him for the short-term, but I think ultimately what kids need to stay safe is trust in their parents. If parents cultivate an open, honest relationship, kids know they can come to them with problems, and odds are they will. If he discovers you've been looking over his shoulder, he'll feel betrayed - that's when he'll clam up and get himself into trouble. Just my .02.


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From:christilyn
Date:October 7th, 2005 11:54 am (UTC)
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FWIW, here is what Sean and I plan to do:

We're going to monitor everything they do. And then we are going to show them and let them know that we are monitoring everything. And try to explain why we are doing it.
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