Social media is a great way for many of us to maintain instant communication, find things we need or want, make reservations and whatever. But like many things that seem like lollipops and sunshine, it has its dark side and we can’t permit ourselves the luxury of not knowing about that aspect of it. We need to remain the guardians of the naive.

A young girl who was naive about the dark side, who was yearning to be just like other young girls and just wanted to fit in, may have made a fatal mistake on one of her social media sites. Little did she suspect that creating different

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Nicole Lovell

personalities on a variety of sites wouldn’t lead to romance and acceptance but the grave.

The girl who had a series of physical challenges since she was little more than a toddler was a victim of bullying at her school where she was mocked for her weight. Did they know or care that it was due to meds she had to take to insure that her liver transplant wouldn’t be rejected? She didn’t know it but someone was waiting to victimize her one last time and he may have had an associate.

Now the headlines are full of the gruesome details of this young girl’s untimely death and how it may have all been made possible by that wonderful social media we all love. More details, undoubtedly, will come out but for now we are watching interviews with her father and step-mother who indicate they closely monitored her social media but didn’t know the extent of her connections.

CBS-TV6 indicated:

“Investigators believe David Eisenhauer, the Virginia Tech student accused of killing 13-year-old Nicole Lovell, had an inappropriate relationship with the middle-school student, a law enforcement official said.

The 13-year-old was planning to expose their relationship, the official said, and investigators believe he stabbed her to prevent that.”

One of the sites which may have searchable leads in the investigation is Kik, an app that allows users to send anonymous messages and which the girl may have used. Newsweek indicated that one of the sites used by Nicole, Facebook’s Teen Dating and Flirting, has disappeared.

Where do you go? Screen Retriever posted a listing of popular teen apps with a brief description of each. As this site notes, parents now have to be more cognizant of online parenting. Many parents may believe that once they’ve set the privacy features on Facebook that they’re home free. Not so. Keeping a listing of a current set of new apps may not be an easy task, but parenting sites can help and should be in any parent’s computer bookmarks listing for easy access.

We’ve seen how social media has been used to convince, or more appropriately lure, young women into the clutches of terrorists. How can anyone believe this

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Philip Markoff, ABC News

easy-to-use medium wouldn’t be used for other unsavory purposes? A med student,Philip Markoff, in Boston, trolled Craigslist to seek women who he initially robbed and then killed. A brilliant student and future physician addicted to gambling, Markoff had a storybook beach wedding planned to another medical student when he was ultimately arrested. He killed himself in jail.

I’m not an internet parenting expert, so I would suggest that you do a bit of researching on some sites that indicate they can provide guidance in this area. They are:

Get Net Wise

software: CyberPatrol

You should seek out more sites than what I’ve listed here and keep one thing in mind; don’t put the computer, tablets or cell phones where you can’t see how they’re being used. Keep a computer in a child or teen’s bedroom may be something they want for privacy sake, but it can also provide opportunity for predators. Kids will kick up a fuss but what would you rather have an angry teen or a dead one? Easy choice here.

Time for a parent-teen talk about the realities of the internet and the care everyone needs to take. Is a VPN (virtual private network) needed to keep your location safe? Consider looking into it.

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