I just watched the movie, Trust and I believe it’s a must-see for girls above the age of 11 (I would say below 11, too, but due to some explicit material, 11 feels like a more proper age). This movie is about the life of a young, average 14-year-old girl named Annie. She looks like any one of us, she plays volleyball, she has friends…but she’s lonely.
She, like many of us, tries to fill that void by using cyberspace. In this case, Annie uses chat on the web. Many of you have probably at least once or twice saw a cute guy on the internet (Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, etc.) whom you were tempted to get to know or even send a simple IM to.
I mean, what could it hurt? Unfortunately, a small IM can turn into something serious. Loneliness can be one of the greatest demons a person can have to deal with, and I truly believe it can make us do anything.
I’m going to give you a few basic ‘no exception’ rules to keep you safe online.
1. Don’t give out personal information to anyone whom you haven’t directly met in person. This includes the name of your schools, names of family members and even the city you live in! You never know who a person could turn out to be unless you’ve met them face to face — NO MATTER WHAT THEY SAY OR HOW NICE THEIR PICTURE LOOKS! All these things can be made up and changed at a moment’s notice, even phone numbers and addresses. Predators move constantly so that they can avoid being caught.
2.) Never ever, ever put naked pictures of yourself on the internet or send to friends. You are beautiful no matter what anyone tells you and you do not need to send improper pictures to prove it. You need to be loved and cherished for who you are on the inside, not what others think of you on the outside. As God’s princesses, we are loved more than our imaginations could ever comprehend!
3. Don’t ever engage in sexting, talking sexually on IM with anyone, even those you have met and know. Although this has been said many times, let me repeat — nothing is secret on the internet, EVER.
4. Never agree to meet with someone you don’t know — especially alone. If anyone says to you, “Don’t tell your parents” or “No one needs to know” or if they say, “Don’t you trust me?” — usually something is up and you should tell an adult right away. As a teenager, I know parents can be nagging, or the complete opposite — they ignore you. However, they do have your best interest in mind whether or not we would like to believe it. They were teens, too, once and know the temptations we deal with (maybe just not with the internet and electronics!). If you don’t feel comfortable talking to them, go to someone you know and trust. It can be a nurse, a church leader, even a counselor. They’re there to help you and they want to help you, it’s why they signed up for their job!
5. Most important rule to always remember: Internet predators know the ways of female minds — especially that of younger girls. Internet predators will do anything and everything to seduce you into getting what they want, whether it be pictures or dirty talk. What’s become more common, too, is face to face meet ups!
This can result in kidnapping, rape and much worse things that we couldn’t even imagine. They may say they love you and that they care about you and that ‘heartthrob’ line, “You are the only one who gets me” — they will say exactly everything you want to hear!
They have more than likely done it time and time again to many other girls. The saddest thing about this is that no matter what they say, they will leave eventually because they are predators and we, the females, are the prey! The sickest part? The “cutie” you’ve been talking to online, the one who sent those pictures and said he’s 16? Guess again — he’s really 43!
As a last note I’d like to say — please watch the movie Trust and recommend it in your health classes, youth groups, to your friends, everyone and anyone! There is a serious lack of knowledge about internet safety and the true dangers of the terrible ways men deceive and trick wonderful girls by using their weaknesses against them.
So, remember you are never alone and you are loved and beautiful and completely and wonderfully made by God our Father!
Stay safe and God Bless you all!
Written by Kenzie Marie