Most of us grown-ups are still largely kids on the inside. But the moment we become parents, suddenly a ton of important dilemmas open in our daily lives. For example, privacy. Everyone wants it, everyone needs it to be healthy, but if your child demands total privacy, something is probably wrong. And one Indiana dad had to find this out the hard way.
Something was “off” in the behavior of one of his daughters.
Source: Scott Jenkins
The loving dad’s name is Scott Jenkins, and he started noticing that one of his daughters, Haylee, was becoming withdrawn: “She was becoming secretive and sneaky,” the concerned dad told Scary Mommy, a parenting website.
Naturally, his suspicions raised, Scott decided to check up on his daughters’ online activity. He was already keeping an eye on it routinely (like, twice a week, which is more than most parents bother to do), and hadn’t found anything out of the ordinary. However, his intuition kept nagging him, and one day he decided to take a deeper look through Haylee’s iPad.
What he found made him nauseous. Apparently, Haylee was texting to a boy named Bruce, who was fifteen. While most things felt normal for teens, one photo felt flaring to the dad. “The sexy pose set my red flag on fire,” he explained. “So my digging turned into a manhunt, checking everything in all her accounts.”
And it turned out that Haylee wasn’t talking to other teens, but to actually grown up, adult men. The conscientious father set up a secondary account and decided to inspect all those “boys” who had been following his daughters on Instagram. And the boys weren’t boys at all – but adult men, much like him who could’ve been fathers too.
Feeling alarmed, Scott contacted the Cyber Task Force of the Portage, Indiana Police Department and gave them full access to all of the family’s iPads and smartphones. It took the police seven months to investigate the issue, but the call finally came.
“Mr. and Mrs. Jenkins, can you and your family please come to the police station as soon as possible?” Scott’s belly sank when he got the call one day. His intuitions were after all, right.
The Cyber Task Force had apparently discovered an entire human trafficking scheme, of which the “fifteen-year-old Bruce” was just a small part.
“His was the first safe face that our children see,” the heartbroken dad explained. “He was unknowingly luring young girls into his circle as prey for the men to pick and choose from. The circle of Bruce’s friends list reached the globe, and his over 2,000 followers were nothing more than a smorgasbord of young, unaware children whom these men were chatting with. Our children.”
What would’ve happened if Scott hadn’t listened to his gut and hadn’t “invaded” his children’s privacy? The thought is terrifying.
Scott’s story is a reality check for parents all over the world. Checking their social media activity can prove crucial, and as Scott Jenkins puts it, “It’s worth the upset it may cause your children to keep them safe.”
We couldn’t agree more!