The Drs: Dad Catches Online Predator
The Doctors kicked off their show by speaking to all those parents out there who are debating on whether or not to monitor their kids’ social media or internet activity. A man named Cliff Ford shared that his 12-year-old daughter’s chat conversations with someone she thought was her own age started out innocently. The other person turned out to be a 30-year-old man named Nicholas Bowers. Cliff discovered a suspicious email while monitoring his kids’ internet activity.
The subject line of the email read “Hey sexy” and Cliff realized the email was sent directly from someone to his 12-year-old daughter. Cliff responded to the email saying he was only 12 years old, and got a response back that said “it turns me on knowing you are 12.” Bowers then forwarded an explicit video of himself. The conversation continued for three days until Cliff was able to get Bowers to tell him his full name, address, and the make of his car. He then gave the information to the police in Ohio, who arrested and charged Bowers with involvement in an online child pornography ring and physical assault.
Police are calling Cliff a hero for helping catch Bowers, who is now serving a 20-year prison sentence.
The Drs: Keeping Your Kids Safe Online
Cliff then joined The Doctors over the phone, and explained that he can view his kids’ emails on his phone. If it’s someone he knows and recognizes, he doesn’t read it and lets the kids read it themselves, but in this particular case he saw that it was inappropriate.
Cliff explained that about two weeks prior to when he had gotten involved, Bowers had contacted his daughter through a social media website and started to talk to her, building a trusting relationship by complimenting her. Dr Jim Sears said one in five youths and 30% of teen girls have been solicited online. He says parents often say “not my kid” but you should check to make sure. Dr Drew Ordon said it’s not an invasion of privacy and you should monitor them just like you monitor their health. He said these people know exactly what to do, and parents know what to look for a lot better than kids do.
Cliff said his daughter is doing better now, but was ashamed at first that she had let someone like that into her life. Within a couple of months of communication, she developed an understanding.