Facebook is a great way to connect with long-lost friends, and an even better way to connect with new ones. But not everyone who uses the world's most popular social network has good intentions: Police in Texas today are warning that girls are being lured into prostitution by gang members trolling their social media profiles.
According to San Antonio Police Detective George Segura, gangs look for girls on Facebook who are showing off a bit too much skin, and are possibly seeking attention. Gang members then approach the girls on Facebook, befriend them, and convince them to meet up in person. No one is too young to be exploited — police say girls as young as 12 are being recruited.
The sex trade is big business for gangs. According to a Bexar County probation officer, gang members "can easily make hundred of thousands of dollars per girl, per year."
While this news is admittedly alarmist, it provides a strong reminder to revisit your child's Facebook privacy settings. You should also discuss ways for your son or daughter to be smart, safe digital citizens, so they'll be better equipped to avoid such dangers. And, of course, it's important to know when your child is too young to handle tech on their own. "Not every child needs access and such freedom to chat with strangers that could do them harm," says Segura.
[Image credit: An image of a silhouette of small hands via Shutterstock]
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