Do you have a screen name, user-name or other form of identity to access certain accounts and sites on the Internet?
Do you have a password you need to use?
More importantly – do you share either with friends or family?
PLEASE DON’T – even if you think you can trust this person.
My 13 year old son (8th grader) came home the other day with a notice from the principal. It appeared that a child used another’s screen name and instant messaged other students threatening to rape and kill them. He proceeded to say he will kill their families and do some serious damage to the school. I am not 100% sure (as rumors are flying high) if he posted this on MySpace as well.
Here are the facts as I know it:
- the threat did not come from the child who owns the screen name. (he was out of town – not that this makes a difference as you can access your account anywhere.)
- one girl notified the authorities and an investigation was immediately underway.
- this occurred over the weekend (I believe Sunday)
- By Monday, all the children were spreading rumors like wildfire, guessing who was making the threats.
- One individual with quite a reputation was accused by his peers (he was not in school and this seemed to solidify it for them)
- The student who owns the account was also accused since some children thought it was just a cover-up story.
- By Tuesday, an arrest was made.
- It was neither boy that the students were accusing.
- The actual student making the threats was in and out of school for months for personal and psychological reasons, therefore he was not at the forefront of anyone’s minds as a suspect. (out of sight, out of mind)
- The boy who owns the account is suing. (I am not sure who or why at this point. Perhaps for ruining his vacation – local police came to question him, or for defamation of character, or for stealing his identity. I could only guess at this time.)
I plan to get more information from my son’s principal. I doubt he will be very open about anything. Again, I am not familiar with legal matters, but I would assume they cannot speak about this openly to anyone prior to a trial or sentencing or whatever.
I will post back with an update.
However, in the meantime, if you suspect anyone has taken your password or figured it out, change it immediately. You may find yourself in this poor boy’s situation. I can’t even think of what was going on in his parent’s minds when the police came to question their son. My immediate response to hearing about this was thinking…was my son on the computer? What were we doing? Where were we? And then I breathed in relief…he was nowhere near a computer the whole weekend. (I know my son to be better than that, but I still panicked.)