ROANOKE, VA (WSLS 10) — There has been a lot of talk about the role social media may have played in the Nicole Lovell case; however, police have not said anything to that effect. Investigators have only said the 13-year-old and David Eisenhauer knew each other before her death.
The case; however, has gotten people talking about social media safety and has moms across Southwest Virginia taking action.
Charise Greer and Natasha Rodgers are moms on a mission.
“I went in out of parental curiosity and I was immediately shocked by what I saw,” Rodgers said.
The two came across reports of social media sites for teens following the death of Lovell.They were disgusted by what they saw and drawn to do something about it, including tracking down the parents of the users to let them know.
“I expected a whole bunch of stay out of our business, it’s none of your business. But I was inundated with thank yous,” Rodgers said.
While some had no idea their kids were on such sites, others thought they monitored their kids’ online activity well. Sargeant Steve Anders with Bedford County Sheriff’s Office Southern Virginia Crimes Against Children Task Force warns any form of social media has danger or risk. Anyone can create a group or page or be on multiple sites and pretend to be anyone.
“You have to make it known,” said Charise Greer. “Talk about it. You’ve got to talk about it”.
Parents like these and investigators like Anders say, parents have to be proactive but also know even with filters and parental controls, nothing is foolproof. Greer and Rodgers weren’t the only ones reporting Facebook pages like “Teen Dating and Flirting” to have it brought down in the past several days but users caught on and were on the move to a new page.
“Click on this site we’re moving,” Rodgers recalls seeing. “So basically it’s cat and mouse.”
Anders says it’s like opening your front door to allow predators in.
“20 years ago predators had to search for their victims,” Rodgers said. “They had to get in their cars go to the parks go to the mall integrate themselves into families but technology the double was sword that it is has allowed victims to just walk right into the predators hands.”
Anders suggests parents look up parental controls on whatever device they give their child and know its features and how to control them. It’s important, he says, to tell your kids you’re not invading their privacy. Be direct and tell them it’s “my job to protect you and make sure you’re safe.”