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Teen Twins Missing in Malibu

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How moms can make sure their teens stay safe.

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Mentally disabled 16-year-old twins Mary and Morgan Carrodi have been missing since Sunday. Their mother--who adopted them as well as their 17 siblings--fears the girls, who have the mental capacity of 12-year-olds and still play with dolls, may have met someone online. Since they've been gone, mom Kay Carrodi was disturbed to discover multiple MySpace and Facebook profiles that say the girls are 18 and that they like to drink and party.

It's a mother's worst nightmare. Just the thought of our girls out there alone, meeting guys who are pedophiles, rapists, even murderers, is enough to keep us up at night. But, although we tell our teens and tweens not to meet strangers, sometimes it feels like the message is just not getting through.

Momlogic called psychologist Dr. Lisa Boesky, author of When to Worry: How to Tell if Your Teen Needs Help--and What to Do About It, for her advice on warning teens against meeting strangers online:

• Don't tell her not to meet strangers -- she'll only tune you out.
"Telling your teen to avoid strangers on the Internet doesn't work," she says. "The Internet creates a false sense of intimacy. If your daughter has been talking to someone online, she probably feels like she knows him. He's not going to be one of those people who would hurt her. No way. The only problem is that sometimes, many times, she's wrong."

• Instead, talk to her about how fake the Internet can be.
"You need to talk to your teen about the false sense of intimacy that develops online and how fake it can be, as well as the dangers that can happen," Dr. Lisa advises.

• Figure our WHY she's meeting strangers on MySpace.
Parents need to look at why their teen girls are vulnerable to this, says Dr. Lisa. "What is it that's missing in her life?" she asks. "What is it she's seeking from this person from MySpace? Once you figure that out, how can you help her fill that void in a healthier, safer way? Most of today's teen girls are desperate for a connection. Once they meet the first person who will give that to them, their judgment often goes out the window. Part of it is that they're not getting that connection at home or from friends. It's a normal need, but they're going about it in a dangerous way."

• Tell her about people who've been raped or murdered as a result of MySpace.
"You may want to use real-life examples of girls who been murdered, raped, or who've disappeared after meeting someone on MySpace, Facebook, or Craigslist. (Google 'Donna Jou' for starters--she's a 19-year-old who went on a date with a guy she met on Craigslist last year and hasn't been seen since.)

Don't tell her about these cases in a lecturing way, or a holier-than-thou way," says Dr. Lisa. "You want to come from an 'I'm concerned about this because...' angle. Parents should stay away from phrases like 'you should' or 'you shouldn't.' Try 'I'm concerned' or 'I'm worried' instead. The last thing you want her to do is shut you out."

• If you find out after the fact that your kid met a stranger, ask why.
"If they do meet someone online and you later find out about it, ask your teen what made her think this was okay," Dr. Lisa advises. "This might make you get out of your own head and into your teen's logic. They have a whole other logic about meeting people online than we do. There's no way to understand them unless you get a sense of where they're at--not where they should be at. Keep in mind, it's part of the teenage years to feel invulnerable and quote-unquote unique. They truly believe 'this will not happen to me.' Parents need to show there are other teens just like them out there and it did happen to them."

This chilling video will also help get the message across:

How do you talk to your teen or tween about meeting strangers on MySpace?


next: Olympic Stars: Then and Now
11 comments so far | Post a comment now
April August 14, 2008, 12:42 PM

that is scary. I really hope they find those girls. my kids are on the internet all the time. One time my 13 year old said she was “meeting” a friend. I asked her which friend and she said a friend she met on myspace. ABSOLUTLEY NOT. No more myspace for her. I am showing her this video tonight. It’s so easy for these predators to gain access to our kids and get into our homes. Makes me want to throw out the computer thru the window.

Kayla August 14, 2008, 12:42 PM

There is nothing wrong with the internet. You moms are too uptight.

Me August 14, 2008, 1:03 PM

myspace will only bring trouble.

Jennifer August 14, 2008, 1:09 PM

I am a 35yr old woman and had a man start talking to me on the internet - turned out he had been convicted of assult and rape more than once - so its not just the kids out there that need to be careful - its everyone!

Kristen F August 14, 2008, 2:12 PM

Kayla -

You’re right, there is nothing wrong with the internet, but there is something wrong with trusting everyone that you meet on there. In this crazy world we live in, not everyone is safe and has good intentions for the people they meet.

This can happen outside of the internet as well. People who go on blind dates should go out with a group the first few times and NEVER go somewhere that isn’t full of people. If you’re going to trust someone from the internet, the same rules would definitely apply.

You really cannot trust easily these days. Honestly, is it something you want to risk (rape, kidnapping, even death) to meet a guy or girl??? I’m 25 and not an uptight mom (I have a 2 year old son), but when it comes to his safety (or mine), you can’t take risks. You only have one life and one chance to make the wrong choie sometimes.

Anonymous August 14, 2008, 2:42 PM

I just looked up the story of Donna Jou. How horrible.

Anonymous August 14, 2008, 3:12 PM

Why are parents not watching what their kids are doing online??? I let my son have a computer with personal email and a PRIVATE myspace page, but I have to know his passwords and I have my own myspace so my husband and I can keep a constant eye on anything he or his “friends” are doing on the computer. If anyone he doesn’t know asks to be friends or tries to talk to him, he knows he has to ask if it’s ok, and the answer is always NO. He knows not to talk to people he doesn’t know online. My son has never abused his PRIVILAGE of having a computer, and knows that if he does, he will no longer have a computer or the use of someone else’s. I think kids can and should be allowed to use the internet, as long as parents set clear boundaries and monitor the crap out of them!!!

Anonymous August 14, 2008, 3:34 PM

Kayla, you must not be a mom. There is nothing wrong with the internet itself, but there is a lot wrong with many, many people in this world that your children can meet on the internet. I am not uptight because I worry that my child can be connived by some weirdo on their myspace page or in a chat room. You need to wake up Kayla, and I pray that if you are a mom, that you see the light.

Anonymous August 15, 2008, 3:07 AM

Do we need to scare the hell out of our kids? Fear is much less effective then education.

Anonymous August 15, 2008, 7:51 AM

MySpace is a predator’s dream. Just type in what you are looking for by zipcode.

Pediphiles look for single moms with small children or kids with unsupervised access.

Would you let your kids hang out at a bar or bowling alley at night, unsupervised? The internet itself is not necessarily a danger, it is the potential for meeting dangerous criminals that is the real problem.

Ten Tees January 8, 2011, 6:28 PM

Good info. Enjoyable to read. I have a small observation to offer about tee shirts.


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