Parent Testimonial

"I am writing to thank you for your educational efforts, and your outreach through the Vigilant Parent Initiative. My husband and I attended a parent presentation from the SVICAC task force in March at our son’s school in San Jose. I am so incredibly glad that we attended that evening. Because of the education and information we received there, I truly believe that we saved our son from being a victim in a potentially very nasty situation.

Because of what we learned that evening, we have been regularly checking our son’s chat messages. I discovered a text thread with someone named “Anya” from a foreign number who claimed to be a software engineering student at “uni.”  My husband ran the number and discovered it was from the Ukraine. We were leery, so we read through the entire thread, which seemed to be mostly innocent banter...  this “girl” was laughing at my son’s jokes, complimenting him, talking about the game, etc. But it was sprinkled very subtly with seemingly innocent questions... “when is your birthday?” He told her about our cats, to which “she” responded “ooohhh show meee!!” And he sent her pics of the cats (geotagged with our home address).

We called our son out and explained what he had done and had a difficult conversation, but he realized his mistake and will remember it for the rest of his life. I spoke with a member of the task force the next morning, and he confirmed what we had suspected in that this is CLASSIC predator behavior. Someone (probably a man) posing as a girl, from a foreign phone number flirting with an adolescent boy, laughing at his jokes, gaining his trust, all in an effort to eventually obtain some sort of compromising photo he/she could use to extort us with in time. I am SO GRATEFUL that we caught this in the early stages before it got to this point. Because of our education that evening, we were on our guard, and followed our instinct, and I truly believe we saved our family from a very ugly incident, and taught our son an extremely valuable lesson.

I can’t encourage other parents enough to be vigilant about checking your child’s text messages, and have difficult conversations with your children. Remember, YOU are the parents, and you are paying for your child’s cell phone plan. It is a privilege for your child to have a phone.  It is your RIGHT and RESPONSIBILITY as a parent to monitor their use. It is not an invasion of your child's privacy. Though he was embarrassed and felt stupid for what he did, our son was positively grateful that we stepped in and intervened before things went too far.

Thank you again for all that you do to educate and protect our community and prevent the exploitation of our children."

Julie and Gavin Reid