Katherine Tarbox, who was the victim of an online predator, wrote A Girl’s Life Online as an important resource for kids, preteens and teens. When Tarbox was 13-years-old, she met 23-year-old “Mike” in an online chat room. After building a trusting relationship, Katherine and Mike agreed to meet in person, where he then molested her in a hotel room. The dangers of online predators are a growing theme in different media and educational outlets, exemplified by this book as well as the newly-released movie Trust.
While this book deals with some serious and disturbing subject matter, multiple reviews including this one and Amazon customer reviews recommend this book as a necessary firsthand resource for kids and parents alike. With the growing urgency to educate students about sexual predators in the online world, sources like this can steer kids and teens away from engaging in dangerous online activities.
Tarbox says in her book that “when you are thirteen, you spend most of your time trying to figure out whether you’re a kid or a teenager or an adult, when you are really part of each. You feel like people are constantly judging you for the most superficial reasons. I was beginning to feel completely alone.” That’s why she succumbed to the interest that Mike showed in her and became a victim of molestation. Because of the prevalence of these kinds of incidents, parents have a responsibility to teach kids to be smart about whom they engage with online, how they make certain social media choices, and how they practice general online behaviors. Parents should also be aware of how their teens are coping with changes in age, environment, or social experiences. When teens and parents alike are knowledgeable about online risks and dangers, then they have a better chance of preventing these kinds of scary situations.
How do you address serious issues like online predators with your kids?