It’s a nightmare scenario for concerned parents: seeing inappropriate messages sent from a grown man to your child.
A mother in Regina, Saskatchewan, found suggestive messages sent to her 11-year-old daughter’s Facebook account, and decided to pose as her daughter to catch the man behind them. It worked: The woman (whose name cannot be published because of a court-ordered publication ban on her daughter’s name) continued the conversation until there was enough evidence against 30-year-old Lee J. Duczek for an arrest.
Duczek pled guilty to child luring, but only after attempting to convince the police he was hacked.
The mother did speak to reporters at Regina’s Leader-Post, offering advice to fellow mothers. “Watch what your kids are doing,” she said. “Make sure that you can get access to whatever they’re doing, no matter what – even if it causes arguments. And if you can’t, just eliminate it. You’ve got to watch. You never know, people you know. You can’t trust anybody.”
Duczek was already familiar with the mother’s daughter prior to friending her on Facebook, so this wasn’t a situation where some unknown Internet creep worms their way into a child’s digital life. They were acquainted and he was local.
This incident underlines how important it is for parents to monitor and educate their children on smart online behavior. It also demonstrates how futile Facebook’s 13-and-older age gate is. In this case, it appears the mother had given her daughter permission to create a Facebook account by putting in a false birthday, something many parents do (or look the other way while their kids do it themselves). Whether or not she gave her permission, her daughter was on Facebook, and may have ended up in a dangerous place if her mother wasn’t paying attention. Hopefully this incident will remind parents to help their children learn how to use the Internet safely and how to identify inappropriate digital contact and content.