Murder of 15 Year-Old Maine Girl Makes Me Even Warier Of The Dangers Of Social Media

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nichole-cableI understand Facebook to an extent, but I can barely keep up with the other social media networks. However, as more headlines like this come up, I’m realizing I need to get a deeper understanding of privacy settings — if I want to keep my daughter safe. 15 year-old Nichole Cable was allegedly murdered by someone who communicated with her via a fake Facebook profile, luring her out of her home to meet up with him to purchase marijuana. Cable’s peers are closing their own Facebook accounts after this tragedy, which I think is a good idea, but definitely not a cure-all. Facebook isn’t the only way horrible people can track down children and fool them, and whether we like it or not, we parents have to get on-board with social media and privacy settings so we can guide our children away from dangerous situations.

NBC News reports:

Ashley Pattershall said Thursday some of her classmates at Old Town High School have opted to deactivate their Facebook accounts.

“A couple of my friends have deleted their Facebook, and some of my friends don’t have Facebook anymore,” said the 16-year-old Pattershall, who was a close friend of Cable.

Kyle Dube, 20, of Orono, used a phony Facebook account created in the name of a student from another school to lure Cable outside her Glenburn home, where he abducted and killed her on May 12, authorities said. Her body was found more than a week later in a wooded area of Old Town, north of Bangor.

Though closing their Facebook accounts may seem to these teens like the obvious thing to do, this is the equivalent of putting a Band-Aid on a gash. Facebook isn’t the problem — internet stalkers and creepers have been tricking children and luring them out of their homes since the internet first went mainstream. What upsets me is that this fifteen year-old child didn’t seem to have any qualms with meeting up with someone she’d never met in real life before. It scares me that any child could trust the intentions of a mystery person behind a screen.

It seems the victim’s mom has the same idea:

Cable’s mother, Kristin Wiley, said Thursday that she wants to brainstorm with school principals about how to help teens be safe online. A police officer also talked to her about doing seminars on teen safety, she said.

“We need to get awareness out. Even the Bible says, ‘Do not stand idle by.’ I’m not going to stand idle. For my daughter, I will not stand idle. I will do whatever I can,” she said from her Glenburn home.

Like the victim’s mother, I worry about children using social media and the internet before they have the skills to weigh the potential dangers of certain situations. And not that I would ever approve of a child doing drugs, but I want my daughter to know that drug deals can become volatile very quickly. I have accompanied people on marijuana runs, and while most pot dealers are ordinary people and don’t want trouble, you cannot trust a stranger. Bring a friend or two or three, if you must.

I feel horrible for this girl. She might have really been struggling with something we don’t know about. Regardless of her story, this kind of tragedy isn’t going to stop happening until we adults meet the demands of today’s world and take the time to educate all children on the dangers of social media.

(photo: Facebook)