(CBS News) In a survey result bound to unsettle parents, one American teen in five said they’d sent a nude or semi-nude photo of themselves. In some cases, the consequences of unsupervised online behavior have been deadly, leading one mother to join the campaign to urge fellow parents to spy on their kids.
Like many teenagers, Nichole Cable was very active on social media. Her mother, Kristine Wiley, said she tried to watch her daughter’s activity.
“As a parent, and with the social media, that aspect, I completely failed,” she said.
On Mother’s Day this year, Cable went missing from her home in Glenburn, Maine.
“She thought she was going to go to the end of the road, meet somebody she had met on Facebook and going to meet him for the first time,” Wiley said. “And that wasn’t the case. He ended up....he killed her.
Twenty-year-old Kyle Dube has now been charged with her murder.
“If I would have had some type of spyware on her phone, that would have either texted me, emailed me her conversation, it could have been prevented,” Wylie said. “It would have been prevented.
“I really would urge any parent if your child has a cell phone and they can text, get on the internet, social media, anything, they should have a form of spyware and it’s not spying, it is parenting. Take it from somebody who knows—this can happen to you.”
In West Palm Beach, Florida, Paula Plasencia installed spyware called “Dadguard” to track her kids, ages 9 and 11.
“I’ve always been a single mother,” said Plasencia. “Since they were one and two-years-old, it’s always just been me, so this has allowed me to have that second parent, or even third parent who can be anywhere and everywhere at all times.
“Kids are literally texting each other bullying messages. And I tell all of my friends who have encountered that to use this service. It will help them.”
The spyware confirms the location of her children’s cell phone, notifies her every time they send a text, or photo, and when they are online, what sites they visit.
“I think it will be a deterrent,” said Plasencia. “They know that this is on their phone, and they feel that it’s a safety mechanism.”
To some it may sound extreme. But Plasencia said in today’s world, it’s also necessary.
“It’s not spying!” Plasencia argued. “Every parent should know where their kids are, I don’t think that there’s anything inappropriate about that, and they don’t either. They want to know that they’re protected and that they’re safe and their parents are watching out for them. Who wouldn’t?”
But concerned parents take note: The National Crime Prevention Council says 80 percent of teens say they’ve found a way around parental controls.
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