I am a mom to two amazing kids and therefore my home is always filled with teenagers. When they were younger and in school…I was there with them! I dedicated many years to volunteering within the school environment.
I was honored to be given an Award of Distinction from our School Board but it is the dedicated professionals and volunteers that I treasure and will always hold dear to my heart. I volunteered as a parent helper, a lunchroom supervisor, and our school’s School Council Chair.
Together with our local police, we delivered cyber-safety seminars to help educate parents of a society filled with technology that comes with online predators willing to devote considerable time, energy, gifts and money to win over their prey. Through my dedicated involvement I was educated and horrified but I was determined to help to get the word out there.
The Internet is a wonderful tool in today’s society but it has also given Internet Predators the advantage to hunt their prey at the click of a mouse. It was once believed that Internet Predators posed as children. Now they openly share their age, their intentions and what is scarier is that children will openly talk. In a brave new world, our children need to be protected. With thousands of chat lines on the Internet…danger is a click away! Here’s a scary thought – Did you know that nearly 75% of victims who met offenders face-to-face did so more than once?
My involvement in cyber-safety seminars gave me the idea to write Closure. The story is about an elite group within San Francisco’s FBI, known as the ISTF (Internet Security Task Force) who are focused on fast-working online predators. These predators hunt their prey through online explicit chat. Teens are targeted because they are curious about the explicit material and seek relationships outside the family. Teens want to move away from the control of their parents and at the same time they want protection; they feel safe to do so online at home.
Online predators are extremely dangerous; the internet has given them power and control. With three murdered teens, Special Agent Jessica Rosario is compelled to save the fourth potential victim, only to put her own life into the hands of a serial killer. To escape the danger, she retreats to her family beach home only to deal with old ghosts and hidden secrets of the past. Will Jess find closure in her own life and make that arrest? With many arrests and tremendous educational support to help stop Internet Predators…there are thousands more stalking the chat lines.
Education and Communication are the keys to help stop this abuse. Get involved and Talk…in your community…in your child’s school…attend a cyber-safety seminar…or simply click your mouse to search for Internet Safety Tips. At a time of the year that we are asked what we are thankful for…remember to be thankful for the many professionals out there desperately trying to keep your children safe. I am thankful for their education and relentless hard work. I praise them for their devotion to a topic that is horrifying. From what I learned through cyber-safety and my research for Closure, it is not easy to digest.
Though it is a scary topic, I believe in the importance of this topic and after a short break to write my new release Unforgettable Kiss in another genre, I am back at finishing the sequel to Closure called Forbidden. 2013 has been an amazing journey with the release of Closure. I am blessed to have amazing kids, family, and friends that have been so supportive along this journey. My journey continues ending the year with my new release Unforgettable Kiss and beginning a new year with Closure’s sequel Forbidden. I am also thankful for my readers and always love to hear from you.
An excerpt from Closure where the elite FBI team known as ISTF (Internet Security Task Force) delivers a spine-chilling cyber-safety seminar to concerned parents:
Their UNSUB worked faster these days and Tom worried there would be another victim soon. The room began to fill as the parents arrived. It was 7:03 p.m. and the room was full. On a positive note, at least there were concerned parents out there who wanted to gain knowledge and direction about anything they could to keep their kids safe. Tom stood at the podium looking out at the audience and took a deep breath.
“Welcome and thank you for coming. I am Special Supervisory Agent Tom Erickson, and this is Special Agent Mike Turner,” Tom introduced them.
“We are part of an FBI task force put together to track online predators. Our goal is to find them before they find your children. You are about to hear and see disturbing and graphic pictures of what has happened and could happen to children exploited on the Internet,” Tom always said in his opening remarks.
“Tonight you will learn how children can be at risk from online predators and what can be done to help protect them.”
The room turned silent as Mike started the slideshow of images found over the Internet with regard to children, predators, and portions of conversations. Jaws dropped, and the room went completely silent. He had captured the parents’ attention. He went on to inform them of the importance of talking to their children about Internet safety, including control of the teenager’s computer and how to set up and monitor it.
“If anything does not seem right to you, you should contact your local police.” His voice concerned, almost pleading, he said, “It’s very important to talk to your children about giving out personal information—anything from names, phone numbers, addresses, where they attend school to the name of their school sports team or any activity they may attend—over the Internet.”
Tom paused for a moment as the room remained entirely still.
“These predators are broken down into two categories; the ones who will gradually take the time to retrieve all the information about a child they can for months, and the ones who work faster by joining chat groups with explicit sexual content. The online predators that will devote their time to chatting with children for longer periods of time, will gather tidbits of information about the child and put it together like a puzzle until they have enough to locate the child for face-to-face contact. The other ones do not have the patience to waste their time and will immediately start conversing with children on sexually explicit topics. They are both disturbing.”
Tom took a seat behind the podium.