Something to think about...

  Shannon could hear the footsteps behind her as she walked toward
home. The thought of being followed made her heart beat faster.  "You're
being silly," she told herself, "no one is following you."  To be safe she
began to walk faster, but the footsteps kept up with her pace.  She was
afraid to look back and she was glad she was almost home.  Shannon said a
quick prayer, "God please get me home safe."  She saw the porch light
burning and ran the rest of the way to her house.
   Once inside she leaned against the door for a moment, relieved to
be in the safety of her home.  She glanced out the window to see if anyone
was there.  The sidewalk was empty.

   After tossing her books on the sofa she decided to grab a snack and get
on line.  There she could talk to strangers without being afraid. Afterall,
none knew who she really was and couldn't hurt her.

   She logged on under her screen name ByAngel213.  Checking her Buddy List
she saw GoTo123 was on.  She sent him an instant message:

  ByAngel213: Hi I'm glad you are on!  I thought someone was following me
home today.  It was really weird!
   GoTo123: LOL You watch too much TV.  Why would someone be following you?
Don't you live in a safe neighborhood?
   ByAngel213: Of course I do  LOL  I guess it was my imagination
cause didn't see anybody when I looked out.
   GoTo123: Unless you gave your name out on line  You haven't done
that have you?
  ByAngel213: Of course not.  I'm not stupid you know.
   GoTo123: Did you have a softball game after school today?
   ByAngel213: Yes and we won!!
  GoTo123: That's great!  Who did you play?
   ByAngel213: We played the Hornets  LOL..  Their uniforms are so
gross! They look like bees  LOL
  GoTo123: What is your team called?
   ByAngel213: We are the Canton Cats.  We have tiger paws on our
uniforms. They are really kewl.
   GoTo123: Do you pitch or what?
   ByAngel213: No  I play second base.  I got to go..  My homework has to be
done before my parents get home.  I don't want them mad at meBye   
Catch you later.. Bye

   GoTo123 decided it was time to teach Angel a lesson.  One she would never
forget.  He went to the member menu and began to search for her profile.
When it came up he highlighted it and printed it out.  He took out a pen and
began to write down what he knew about Angel so far.

   Her name: Shannon
   Birthday: Jan. 3, 1985 age:13
   State where she lived: North Carolina
   Hobbies: softball, chorus, skating and going to the mall.

   Besides this information he knew she lived in Canton.  She had just
told him, He knew she stayed by herself until 6:30 every afternoon until her
parents came home from work.  He knew she played softball on Thursday
afternoons on the school team and the team was named the Canton Cats.
Her favorite number 7 was printed on her jersey.  He knew she was in the
seventh grade at the Canton Junior High School.  She had told him all this
in the conversations they had on line.  He had enough information to find
her now. "She'll be so surprised," he thought, "she doesn't even know what
she has done."

  Shannon didn't tell her parents about the incident on the way home
from the ball park that day.  She didn't want them to make a scene and stop
her from walking home from the softball games.  Parents were always
overreacting and hers were the worst.  It made her wish she was not an only
child. Maybe if she had brothers and sisters her parents wouldn't be so

   By Thursday Shannon had forgotten about the footsteps following her.
Her game was in full swing when suddenly she felt someone staring at her. It
was then that the memory came back.  She glanced up from her second base
position to see a man watching her closely.  He was leaning against the
fence behind first base and he smiled when she looked at him.  He didn't
look scary and she quickly dismissed the fear she had felt.

   After the game he sat on a bleacher while she talked to the coach.
She noticed his smile once again as she walked past him.  He nodded and she
smiled back.  He noticed her name on back of the shirt.  He knew he had
found her. Quietly he walked a safe distance behind her.  He didn't want to
frighten her and have to explain what he was doing to anyone.

    It was only a few blocks to Shannon's home and once he saw where she
lived he quickly returned to the park to get his car.  Now he had to wait.
He decided to get a bite to eat until the time came to go to Shannon's house.
He drove to a fast food restaurant and sat there until time to make his

   Shannon was in her room later that evening when she heard voices in the
living room.  "Shannon, come here," her father called.  He sounded upset and
she couldn't imagine why.  She went into the room to see the man from the
ballpark sitting on the sofa.  "Sit down," her father began, "this man is a
policeman and he has just told us a most interesting story about you."
Shannon moved cautiously to a chair across from the man.  How could he tell
her parents anything?  She had never seen him before today!

   "Do you know who I am Shannon?"  The man asked
   "No"  Shannon answered.
   "I am your on line friend, GoTo123."
   Shannon was stunned.  "That's impossible!  GoTo is a kid my age!
He's 14 and he lives in Michigan!"

   The man smiled.  "I know I told you all that but it wasn't true.
You see Shannon there are people on line who pretend to be kids; I was
one of them.
But while others do it to find kids and hurt them, I belong to a group
of parents who do it to protect kids from predators.  I came here to find
you to teach you how dangerous it is to give out too much information to
people on line.  You told me enough about yourself to make it easy for me to
find you.
Your name, the school you went to, the name of your ball team and the
position you played.  The number and name on your jersey just made finding
you a breeze."

   Shannon was stunned.  "You mean you don't live in Michigan?"
   He laughed.  "No, I live in Raleigh.  It made you feel safe to
think I  was so far away, didn't it?"  She nodded.

   "I had a friend whose daughter was like you.  Only she wasn't as lucky.
The guy found her and murdered her while she was home alone.  Kids are
taught not to tell anyone when they are alone, yet they do it all the
time on line.

  The wrong people trick you into giving out information a little here
and  there online.  Before you know it, you have told them enough for them
to find you without even realizing you have done it.  I hope you've learned
a lesson from this and won't do it again."

   "I won't," Shannon promised solemnly.
   "Will you tell others about this so they will be safe too?"
   "It's a promise!"
    That night Shannon and her dad and Mom all knelt down together and prayed.
  They thanked God for protecting Shannon from what could have been a tragic situation.

Please send this to as many people as you can to teach them not to
give any information about themselves.  This world we live in today is too
dangerous to even give out your age, let alone anything else.  Be safe.