From one Parent to Another – Protect Your Kids

Lots of you out there have seen my page about eBlaster and I would LOVE IT if you’d share your stories of using the program so other parents out there can see how it’s helped you and your family.

I’m going to share some other stories from others, posted from the eBlaster webpage when I get the time, but I feel it better to start with my own. This is too long to put on the eBlaster page on our site… no one would ever read it, so I’m giving it it’s own page here.

Why Even Do This?

After my video went viral on Facebook and I refused to do press interviews I started receiving emails from the press asking me to answer questions. I agreed to do it in public on my Facebook wall, so my words couldn’t get twisted up or taken out of context. I got lots of press requests, a ridiculously high amount, from the USA, Canada, Germany, and a ton of other countries. To date I still haven’t been able to respond to them all. There just isn’t enough hours in the day.

One question posited to me just kind of “set me off” on one of my rants. If you’ve ever read any of my blogs, you know I’m known for that from time to time. I’ll never be accused of being too brief. That’s for sure. The question was posed from a Charlotte, NC web editor for the local news station. It was number nine on his list of questions. You can see the repost here on the website. Scroll down to number 9 to see the question I’m talking about.

The question was: “What would your best advice be to parents of teens who use social media?”

It was most likely because this was the first question that didn’t revolve around “why did you shoot your kid’s laptop” that I actually set off on a REAL answer to a REAL question.

I’m an IT consultant, meaning I do everything from fix people’s home computers, to manage their corporate networks, to train work-at-home people how to use common programs that some of us geeks take for granted. Throughout the course of this kind of career I’m constantly fixing issues related to children’s use of computers.  Kids are kids and, especially the younger ones, rarely think of  what could happen when they click a button… so it’s always something new.  During a remote session with parents I’m often amazed to find that they have absolutely NO IDEA what their kids are doing on the computer. I hear things like “Oh, yeah. My eight year old is on the Facebook thing all the time. I don’t have time for that mess. I don’t even know how to use the Facebook.” (I love when people put “the” in front of Facebook or Twitter. For some reason it just makes me laugh.)

The Clueless Parent

I don’t tell someone else how to parent, but I DO try to make parents aware that they might want to know what their kids are doing, if only for their safety. If I saw sexual predators in the community park, I’d warn parents from dropping their kids off there too. I’m just helpful that way. (I know I’m gonna take crap for that snarky remark.) Their only thought seems to be that their particular child would never do anything illicit or scandalous because they’re good kids… which is probably true in most cases. What I try to coach parents to understand is this:

Do you know what the OTHER people little Jane is talking to online are doing, saying, sending her, asking her, etc?  Are they pretending to be another 14 year old kid just to weasel information about maybe what time Mom goes to work, just so they can sneak over to kidnap/molest/stalk/harrass/harm your kid? It’s not like when we used to go outside and see our kids playing with another child, when we can see who they’re talking to. Let me propose it to you this way, since parent’s don’t seem to understand how fast the world we live in has changed:

Let’s pretend Facebook is a really big real-world park. Ok?  That’s not too much of a stretch for the imagination, right? It’s a big place where lots of people congregate, play games together, talk in private, and hang out…. right?  Everyone is there, but off in their own little groups. You let your daughter Jane go over to the other side of the park and play with other kids, like all parents do, right? You just keep a general  eye on them to be sure they’re safe.

Now, what would you do as a mother or father if you saw your nine-year old little girl over playing near the corner of the park and talking with a 53 year old man in a trench coat in the middle of summer, with shady looks and beady eyes and whom you don’t know? If you say nothing, I personally feel like you’re probably not telling the truth. My mom would have come over and yelled “Hey! You! What are you doing talking to my kid? Who are you?”  (Actually that’s an understatement. I only remember being threatened once, by some bikers. My mother went back in the house, pulled out a pistol and stared down a harley-biker gang from behind the barrel when she was protecting us as kids against some people she didn’t like around us. Real story. Really. She did that. My mom is freakin cool!)  Anyway, you would probably run over and pull your kid close to you and keep me safe from a stranger. That’s what parents are supposed to do! You don’t do it to your kids because you don’t trust THEM… you’d do it because you don’t trust that strange, shifty-eyed dude who looks like he’s the type to abduct your child.

Now… wake up people!!!!

That’s what’s happening on Facebook and MySpace EVERY SINGLE DAY and it’s happening in a playground that covers the whole world!

Your kids are digitally connected. It’s a fact. Facebook, MySpace, and the Internet in general are like giving your kid a gun with no safety. (Pretty appropriate analogy considering I’ll forever be remembered as the “Facebook Dad who Shot His Daughter’s Laptop… sigh.) Letting your kids have technology like this without supervision, and I mean REAL supervision, is like loading that gun with bullets when you don’t even know how to use one, and walking out of the room to let them play. How are you gonna feel when they get hurt? Ignorance isn’t an excuse because I’m telling you about this crap right now. Believe it, or don’t, but don’t come back here in eight months and share a “this wouldn’t have happened if I’d monitored my kids” story.

Ok, so you Want Proof?

You think I’m exaggerating for even a second?  Go to Google.com, and type the words “Facebook” and “Molested” into the search engine… then sit back and really read what comes up in the search results. Next try maybe “MySpace” and “Rape” in the same search box. Go wild

There is an article on Gainesville.com news about a confessed child molester (a man who targeted young boys in this case) who just voluntarily admitted to molesting four boy scouts. He was an official contact on a Boy Scout troop’s Facebook page, where he could have reached out and harrassed hundreds more kids. Did he? I have no idea, and probably never will, but he admitted to four without even being prompted too hard. He’s also on Linked In as an Eagle Scout, where he could use that same organization in a similar way to reach out to young boys. Replace Facebook and Linked In with words like MySpace, Twitter, Tumblr, Digg, Yahoo, Skype, and tons of others and you’ve got hundreds and realistically thousands of kids across an entire globe people like this can reach out to. They don’t have to be physically IN your back yard to mess with your kids!

In Indiana, here is an article on a man who molested a girl he met on Facebook. Here is one in Texas where a woman molested a five and six year old, then posted the porno-molestation photos to Facebook. (Didn’t know your kids could see kiddy porn on Facebook did you?)

Here’s the actual worst-case scenario all us parents fear. A 53 year-old man used a series of fake Facebook profiles to actually trick, then meet, then have sex with  young girls in West Virginia.  And this guy is the kind I’m telling you to watch out for.. he’s not messing with ONE girl. He’s messing with multiple ones from various locations and ranging in age from 12 to 15.

Here is a case where a couple on MySpace were charged with 56 counts of rape (that’s what I got for Googling MySpace and Rape.. just the top headline. There are many others.)

There is just NOW finally a bill being put before the senate to make sex offenders register their Facebook profiles. Really?

If this stuff doesn’t sicken you to death and make you want to watch your kids more actively, I simply don’t know how to bring it to your attention! This COULD BE YOUR KID! And YOU DON’T KNOW!

Ok, let’s get off the child molestation angle and approach it from another angle, how about your child’s future reputation, job eligibility, and appearance to others who see their wall? Here’s a study that details that 47% of Facebook walls contain profanity. Personally I don’t like my kids using that on their wall (which led to the whole laptop+bullet thing in the first place.) Of those forty-seven percent, 80% of those have at LEAST one post or comment with profanity that’s from friends, not even from the person itself. But like Mom told me growing up; like it or not, whether its fair or not, you are always guilty by association.

People in today’s job market, even teens, are fired daily for posts made on Facebook. In my state specifically I KNOW it’s legal to do so. Happens to people all the time. I’ve known people terminated for what OTHER people posted on their Facebook wall. In that case, a local bank felt that the employees represented the bank poorly by posting lewd photos on their walls. Even though everything the people did was legal, the bank felt that it reflected THEM as well, and they wanted no such association. Bam.. job… gone.

The “Oh I know better” Parent

What’s worse than the parents who don’t care are parents who underestimate their children. Unless you spend every day playing with social networking like they do, you’re not better at it then they are. I’ll give you an example from my own child that I know about. Kids at her school have their own list of websites that let them bypass parental controls. They’re constantly finding ways around school-enforced blocks. As fast as you can find a way to block them, they find ways around them. They share tips and tricks to get around a lot of the commonly used freeware monitoring solution. You’re simply NOT easily able to outpace twenty-one-MILLION determined teenagers! They go to school and share with each other all the new tricks they’re learning about how to bypass firewalls, use web-proxies, anonymize their IP addresses. I bet that last sentence meant nothing to most of you parents. Go bring your 15 year old kid into the room and have them explain it to you. I bet THEY know what it means. They share tricks on how to use websites to send text messages even if you take text messaging off their phone. They can skype call from your home wi-fi connection without even having the phone active if they have a new generation iPod or Android device.

Anyway, the point of this section is to say I love meeting parents who say “I know how to read their computer histories” or “I make them give me all their passwords.”

Really? Can you prove it? Can you 100% for sure guarantee that they don’t:

  • Have a second Facebook account you don’t know about?
  • Have a second MySpace account you don’t know about?
  • Have another email address you don’t know about?
  • Don’t know how to enable incognito browsing? (Google Chrome)
  • Don’t know how to enable In-Private Browsing? (Internet Explorer)
  • Know how to alter the log files of your parental programs before you have a chance to check them?
  • Access Facebook, MySpace, Twitter from their phone?
  • Chat on sites you don’t know about?
I could literally sit here and list 500 ways your average 12 year old can outsmart you. I know because it’s part of my job to help educate parents and business owners on how to stop this kind of thing. (Which if you really think about it, makes it pretty dumb for my kid to try to get it past me not once… but twice… sigh. They’re nothing if not determined. I’m not a genius by any stretch, but c’mon.. this IS my job. That’s like a cop’s kid robbing a bank… sigh.)

The Kid’s Perspective

I’ll save the networks the time spent polling this particular piece of data. How many kids think parents shouldn’t have a right to know what they’re doing every second of the day and that they deserve privacy? I’d feel safe saying 90% of them. We deserve privacy! We demand privacy! It’s our right! You can’t snoop on us. You can’t spy on us!

They’re wrong. They’re kids. They’re allowed to be wrong. If they were right all the time, or even most of the time, we’d consider them adults and treat them as such. Kids do not have a RIGHT to privacy from their parents. If you choose to grant them the PRIVILEGE of privacy as a parent, that’s awesome for you.  My kids get that privilege too, until they abuse it. It’s not a right. I, you, we (as parents) have a duty to protect our kids from freaks out there who intend to do them harm, as well as from their own mistakes that could follow them for a long time to come.

Believe me, (and I actually think I can claim this with 100% certainty) no child in the history of the nation currently knows what THAT feels like more than mine. More than 28 MILLION PEOPLE (and counting) heard what my daughter wrote on her Facebook wall.  She made a mistake online. Then I made one just like it. They learned it through MY actions, not hers, but the point is the same. ONE SLIP and you could have your family, your kid, yourself out there forever with no way to take it back.

I’m sorry my daughter learned her lesson by being embarrassed the way she was, but if it’s opened a dialogue like this to the world at large, then we’re OK with shouldering that as a family, because we have a platform on which to speak from experience on the matter. We KNOW what it feels like in ways hopefully most of you will never have to understand. Use some discretion when it comes to your kids. I’d rather mine be mad at me and safe, than happy and fired from a job, abducted, or raped.

Shut up and tell your story already…

Ok, yeah, fine. (I had to go back to my email and search to find all the records, but I got ’em now.., so here goes.) First, understand that by telling you all this, I’m already making my own parenting life harder, much harder. There’s a good chance my kid is going to read this one day and be smart enough not to fall for the same tricks. So, I’ll have to find new ways to protect MY kid, but I think it’s important enough to share so some of you might prevent the same situation from happening to your kids.

On January 15th of 2011, my daughter’s mother called me because of some “stuff” she suspected our child was doing on Facebook. Yes, I have full-time remote access to my kid’s computers and yes I have eBlaster installed on my kid’s computers. So, I entered the access code to launch the hidden program and began to go through what she’d done on the days immediately previous to, and after, the things her Mom told me to check out.  The GREAT thing about eBlaster and Spector Pro is that regardless of what the kids THINK they deleted, there is absolutely NO WAY to delete the data where me and her mother cant’ get to it, short of wiping the computer completely clean, which I’d know about anyway.

So, even though my child deleted her Facebook messages, wiped her chat history, and deleted all the emails she thought were incriminating, I could still see them all anyway. The program even called attention to them simply BECAUSE she’d deleted them. (A big fat +1 in my book by the way).

What I found galled me to no end. My child was 14 at the time, so yes I found it disturbing to find her Facebook history proliferated with pictures of another [male] child’s genitalia, right there on her screen. I immediately began “snooping” for real at this point. I wanted to know everything that led up to it so I should know whether to yell at both kids or just the one who sent this to my daughter. I was somewhat mollified to find out that I couldn’t find anything on the computer to suggest she’d asked for this kind of thing, encouraged it, or otherwise engaged in sharing it with anyone else. Ok, so some other friend of hers is sending photos of naked boys to my 14 year old girl. Now… I’m a little mad. Mad really isn’t even the right word to use, but I’ll remain PG-13 for the younger audience who might read this one day.

Did I tell my child I’d caught this? Nope. I didn’t say a word. That’s the BIGGEST mistake you can make. If you let on to your kids that you know something that you could have ONLY found out about snooping through their computer, well then they just know never to use that computer for that kind of stuff. So I stayed quiet for a couple of days, just to see what happened. I already knew my daughter was going to spend the night with this same friend who’d sent this stuff and I figured they’d be on the Internet half the night, so I didn’t want to give it away.

A couple days later my daughter went to stay with this girl friend of hers. I sat at home for two days twiddling my fingers, upset and worried, but hoping I’d made right decision to let her go over there. When she was back home again I remotely logged back into her PC, opened the tracking software, and then I got REALLY mad.

While at this friend’s house (a 15-year old girl who went to the same school), the girl friend had logged into her own (not my daughter’s) Facebook account on my daughter’s computer and started up a conversation with this guy… this 30 year old guy. I’m not going to tell you what transcribed during the conversation because there’s no way to do so without being overly graphic. Instead I’ll give you a list of the things I caught them doing together within a window of just a couple hours.

  • I recorded a sexually explicit conversation between a 30 year old man and a 15 year old girl.
  • I received proof that I KNEW he knew her age.
  • I saw her encourage him to send photos to her of him in various naked positions.
  • I saw him SEND those photos to her.
  • I saw them carry on a conversation about having him come over to have sex with this girl WHILE MY DAUGHTER WAS AT HER HOUSE!

Luckily that didn’t actually happen so I was spared the punishment of going to jail for severely beating one or possibly two people that night. (Relax people, I’m exaggerating.. but only kinda)

Knowing this girl has less than a model home-life (obviously), I called the school system to see what they could do. They put me in touch with the school’s resource officer, a police officer who works at the school. I told him the story, told him I had the evidence to back it up, and that I wanted this kid away from my kid, or at least scared straight if possible.

Unfortunately there wasn’t anything he was authorized to do at the school level because this didn’t happen on school property, so we talked about other alternatives we could pursue. Legally I could have had her arrested and tried as a minor for transmitting child pornography (Federal AND State offense), consenting statutory rape (Federal and State offense), and a variety of other crimes, just to prove a point. I could have have had the man tried, easily convicted, and imprisoned. And I could have had the boy with the naked photo charged with some of the same crimes.To my credit I actually didn’t try to bury this kid under the jail, though I could have. Instead the police officer told me he could pick her up, bring her in, make her understand that I COULD have buried her in the penal system for the remainder of her juvenile lifetime, and that I’d decided not to… assuming she kept this kind of crap away from my kid in the future. We decided on that route instead. Should I have gone after the adult, and the other kid? I’ve got enough on my plate protecting my own kid. I don’t have time to worry about everyone else’s kids too.

The officer  told me he too had a 15-year old daughter that went to the same school mine and he wanted, as a parent, to know how I did it. I told him real simply about the program I used. At the time SpectorSoft hadn’t released eBlaster yet and instead only had Spector Pro. (The two programs are similar but not exactly the same). He had no idea this software existed. This guy is a parent, a resource officer, and a police officer responsible for the safety of kids every day of his life and had no idea this could be done. It’s sad, but not surprising. Most people don’t bother to research what they CAN do until it’s too late.  It’s kind of like buying a fire extinguisher after you just had a fire.. great thinking but a little late on the upswing…

I went about two years before I had the next problem with my daughter on the computer… and it wasn’t related to that when it happened again, so I feel like it was $100 well spent in my opinion.

 So, What’s Your Point? Why is this one Better?

My point is that yes, there are alternative programs out there you can use. You can find some free ones even if you want. I’ve used them. Do you really think I WANTED to blow cash on something if I could find a free program or a cheaper one that does the same thing? I’m not made of money. I’d have a hard time scraping together a spare hundred bucks any day of the month, but it was worth it.

The other programs work.. eBlaster and Spector Pro EXCEL at protecting your kids. It’s plain and simple. Let’s go back to the park analogy from before, for a moment. Let’s assume you had the option to spend a few bucks to get a security guard, or even found one for free, that would volunteer to watch your kid for you night and day. Does he come with credentials? Has be been protecting kids  for the last 14 years with a sterling reputation? Does he come recommended by people who actually had him save their kids? Chances are… no.

Now, let’s assume you had to spend a few more bucks, but for that few more bucks you got the Chuck Norris of body guards for your kid, backed up by a 20 million dollar firm with a decade and a half of professional experience protecting hundreds of thousands of kids just like yours AND had credentials and safety awards from almost every source imaginable…. oh wait… you Do have that choice. Just buy the program and sleep better. Save your bullets and protect your kids.

Why should we buy anything from the guy who shot his kid’s Laptop?

Because you’re not buying it from me and even if you were, you’re buying it to protect your kids. Anyway, you’re buying it from SpectorSoft. I won’t have anything to do with it, thought I am an IT engineer who would love to have more customers who want help installing it, troubleshooting it, or just who need computer help in general.

We had to setup an affiliate link because SpectorSoft wasn’t able to track the sales any other way to know what sales came from whom. Now that we have this setup, we are the ONLY WEBSITE IN THE WORLD that’s managed to get a company the size of SpectorSoft to give $10.00 from every sale we generate for them, to a charity! We’ve set it up to make sure that $10.00 from every sale, no matter how small, goes straight to the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

That in itself is awesome! So if you buy it from this site, you’re giving to charity in the process. THAT’s why! You spend the same amount of money, but every 80 customers can send one more kid to camp each summer! Collectively we could literally stock an entire summer camp!!!! THAT is awesome beyond words!

Just like on the “Protect Your Kids” page I wrote, I’ll share with you guys the links to check it out if you want to know more. I really DO support this software, and more importantly I support you parents who go the extra mile to keep your kids safe. Check it out.

Spector Pro – (Full DVR-like playback of all activity) Click Here

eBlaster – (sends alerts instantly via email) Click Here

eBlaster Mobile – for Android and Blackberry –
(includes the ability to track where your kids are) – Click Here


36 thoughts on “From one Parent to Another – Protect Your Kids

    • Jesse,
      Thanks for the awesome vote of confidence. As much as any man, sure, I’ve dreamed of being the President of the United States. I’ve even got this list of things I’d change… you know those things you sit around and talk about your friends with? The “If I were President, I’d do this and this and this” list. Yeah, mine is long!

      The truth is, I’d probably be a horrible one. I’m not political enough for mayor of Podunk, Mississippi much less an office any higher in authority. (Is that a real place? It’s a colloquialism I’ve heard all my life, but does it exist? And if so, it is near Timbuktu?)

      I don’t like politics and I don’t like games. I prefer upfront and straight-shooting (pardon that pun), so I’d never ever win. Bearing that in mind, I’m going to tell you the same thing I tell everyone else, though I probably need to say this more loudly.

      Right now this country is in the crapper. Our President has accomplished absolutely nothing and will drag this country right to the bottom if he’s allowed to continue in office. He’s worse than anything I’ve ever seen and he’s decidedly as un-American as I think anyone in political office ever has been. The words that come out of his mouth are drivel and he’s never backed up a thing he’s said. He’s never led a boy-scout troop to my knowledge, so what makes him qualified to lead the most powerful military might in the entire world?

      You have a VOTE.. you have ONE vote. As much as I personally want Ron Paul to win, I don’t think he has the steam to pull through to the end so I doubt he’ll get the republican nomination.

      Further, the democratic party won’t dare back another horse in this race because if they don’t support the sitting President, they’ll likely all be fired by the NEXT President.. OR by this one if he manages to retain the seat. I mean really.. who’d trust a bunch of people who wont even back the guy they put into office in the first place. Talk about two-faced…

      As such… in my opinion, I’m going to HAVE to vote for whichever candidate has the best chance to get Obama out of office, which will likely be a matter of whomever the republican party puts forth. I don’t like it and I don’t like what it means for America. Personally I think there should be no electoral college. If there are 500 million people, there should be 500 million votes cast. He or she with the most votes wins… isn’t that how other elections work? Why is this one overly complicated and different?

      Anyway, if I could have a political voice… that would be it. Don’t waste your ONE vote on a guy like me who has ZERO chance. It says a lot about what you think of my character, but at the end of the day you have a responsibility to this nation you care for to put someone in charge you think can actually win, more so than a pipe dream of some “guy” who would never stand a chance in the political arena. Even if you might like everything about him, you might be forced to accept the lesser of two evils. I don’t really “like” Romney or Santorum, and I KNOW I don’t like Gingrich, but if it’s down to Obama, or one of the previous two, they have my vote. If it’s Obama or Gingrich, then I think everyone should vote “Donald Duck” and refuse to accept either.

      Believe me.. if I have learned ONE thing in recent weeks that’s been a life-lesson, aside from this father-daughter thing, it’s that when the wind blows just right.. one man can have a very very loud voice… and it can be heard by many.

      That can happen to any of us. It happened to me briefly; but I can already hear the echoes of it fading on the wind, and that’s OK. I’m not worth public attention because of this act I’ve become known for… There are things I’d LIKE to have done to reach critical acclaim in my life, but this wasn’t it. Some things,however are; like who leads our country.

      Vote wisely.

  1. First, my exes daughter is now 18. Around age 11 she wanted to set up a MySpace page, and we decided to let her, at 12 she was coming home alone, to a password protected computer, she kept asking us to unlock it, so she could use it unsupervised, we finally did, but not before downloading Spector. The first DAY, a older man in his 20’s tried to talk inappropriately to her. Her response? A series of random keystroke that made no sense, followed by a “You should probably know my dad works for the FBI”. He doesn’t by the way, but she had enough sense not to engage him in conversation, and all those talks about not giving out her last name, school name, and even exact town (We lived in a suburb and she always used the larger city as her location). We were so proud of her, but like Tommy said you can’t tell them it’s there. I’m going to give Spector 2 thumbs up also and hope everyone gets it, if nothing else it’s a wonderful piece of mind.

    • Awesome story Kristie!
      Can I use this as a testimonial? If so, what state are you from? It’d just be nice to know so I can include it in the post.

  2. I’m a little confused that this post states that eBlaster is just a few years old. You asks for stories from parents who used eBlaster; here is mine, but it is from 8 years ago.

    My daughter WAS raised to be trustworthy and responsible. She came from a stable home (I’ve now been happily married to he father for 28 years) and we had a great relationship with our kid. Then something changed when she turned 12.

    We picked up on it quickly. Our communicative and happy kid became obnoxious and secretive. We started monitoring her life, trying to initiate dialog, etc. We had always been involved in her life. Suddenly she was shutting us out. We got together with other parents (who exhibited all the cluelessness Tommy mentions) to see if they were having issues with their kids too. They were, but they were dismissing it as ‘kids being kids.’ It didn’t feel like that to us. We were all about letting kids be kids…but our job was to protect and something felt way off about this.

    We narrowed the problem down to one common denominator; one troubled kid. We invited the kids mom to dinner to see if we could learn more. She refused to meet with us. We refused to let our kid into that home. The kid could come to our home where we could monitor, but again, the refusal of this mother to meet with us or even talk to us on the phone indicated to us that something was hinky.

    Long story short, our kid’s computer crashed. Now this computer was in a common area of the house. I am pretty tech savvy as a parent, or thought I was. Just like Tommy said, I had the free programs, and I watched the history, etc. But what this tech found on that computer scared us. This other kid was talking about blowing up the school, how fun it was to get teachers so mad that she could get them fired, and the websites that this kid authored (several of them) were basically instruction manuals on self harm. My kid was friends with another 12 year old who was very disturbed. And this kid was manipulating not just my kid, but her friends.

    We got eBlaster then. There were people who objected that we were invading her privacy. But we told her we might do this, and we didn’t have to tell her if we did. It was our computer, in our home. We paid for it. She abused it. Our job was to keep her safe, and she obviously was not exercising good judgment.

    We kept it on her computer until the next upgrade, which was a few years later. Despite our efforts to minimize contact with this other kid, some of what we saw was concerning, but we didn’t want to intervene unless there was danger. After all, part of what we want of our kids is that they learn how to make good decisions and they can’t learn that if we hover. It was a tool to make sure she was not in imminent danger.

    Then I had an encounter with said kid that convinced me we were dealing with a sociopath. As an adult, I was scared.

    I won’t go into how we dealt with that and give away my (or my kid’s) identity. Suffice it to say that we made sure the other kid no longer had access to my kid.

    It took awhile, but through eBlaster, we were able to see our kid wasn’t just pretending to turn her life around to appease us, she really was. Once the manipulating influence was gone, we started to see the kid we knew we raised.

    Honestly, I think there may be residual effects from the years it took us to straighten this out. But I can tell you, when I say Tommy’s video, even though I don’t own a gun, I could FEEL what he was expressing. I’d been there. That isn’t a starting point in a conversation…it’s where you are being pushed to the edge and feel like you are losing your kid or your mind or both.

    And I can say to all those people who insist that there was another way to deal with this, obviously you have never dealt with a smart teen or a scary sociopathic influence. Being a nosy and ‘controlling’ parent probably saved my kids life. eBlaster was an essential tool in that fight.

    • Wow. That’s really awesome to hear!
      With your permission, can I use that on a testimonial page for how its helped other parents? If so, can I have your first name and your state you live in?

      • I’m reading what I wrote after sufficient coffee. I should have waited to write that, or at least proofed it. 🙂
        I don’t mind if you use it, but honestly the child who started all this is no less concerning of a threat today than when this occurred. If for some reason she ever saw the story together with my first name and state, she would know how we were able to get a handle on the situation and as I said, she’s not stable, even now IMHO. She is very good manipulation, lying and intimidation. She’s very, very smart. And she is an adult now. With her own wheels. My dau is in a good place now and safe. I’d like to keep it that way. 🙂 I honestly don’ think anyone, adult or child, has the skills to deal with someone like her. As I said, it was a game for her to make adults angry enough so that they would say or do something she could use against them.
        I have to tell you, I’m really glad your video went viral, though sorry for the stress on your family. As if it isn’t stressful enough dealing with a teen who seems to be temporarily working with oatmeal for brains when you know they know better. But you are right…there is a need for the discussion that is taking place. And people who are vilifying you now, saying you must have done something wrong for this to happen, in 10 years may track you down with a heartfelt apology when their own teen drives them to the brink.
        I’ve already apologized to my dad for ever being a teenage girl. 🙂

  3. It is so easy to give advice to others when you aren’t a parent!! This is awesome and I will totally be getting this program to protect my kids from people like those rude ones above that insist on stalking Tommy and cussing on his page if he so much as blinks! GREAT INFORMATION!!

  4. As always, great information. Keep up the good work. It’s not a parent’s job to be a friend to his/her child. Being parents is probably the hardest job in the world, but it absolutely has the best rewards. I am very proud of my sons and I’m very blessed to have them.

  5. Tommy,
    As a police officer, and also resource officer I appauld your decision to involve you local police. They are able to fully help and show kids that the choices they make can be very dangerous and harmful. I also am parent of two teenagers, and went through some interesting times with my older teenager and the internet. Fortunately she was not very good at hiding and concealing her activities so it was easy to catch. This is a real danger to teens and even worse preteens out there. Thannkls for your efforst.

    • Officer McKitrick,
      Thanks a lot for taking the time to comment, sir. It means a lot to me to get the support of an officer like yourself. I’m glad you approve of the message.

  6. Sigh…..I am guessing we won’t be able to have you join us. 🙁 If you change your mind, we are in the session now (and it is NOT recorded or anything…just try to bring in as many special guests as we can…..work with mainly at-risk kids….). Thanks anyway!

    • Elizabeth. I’m SOOOO sorry for not getting back to you sooner. I’ve been crazily trying to run errands to get ready for my wife’s open house tomorrow and wasn’t around but for part of the day. Live chat would be hard because my schedule is so crazily hectic right now, but if you guys want to email questions I promise I’ll answer them!! I just don’t know when I’ll be at the computer long enough to do a chat session.. and believe me… I’m SOOOOO tired of typing! lol

  7. And this is why you are now famous.
    I do believe you have found a positive means of action since you went viral. Job well done. Dr. Phil only wishes he could help parents the way you just have.

  8. Really?Parents exist who do NOT think it is their job to protect their children?Hurt their feelings by not having trust? Bad news for you. Kids trust just about everyone of their peers and very often strangers, because they claim “we don’t understand.” and they kind of like the curious danger associated with unearned freedom. So care & snoop. It worked for my Grandparents, Parents, me. Rather a sullen child than a damaged or dead one.They have ALL of their live for us to trust their judgement, after they have developed that skill. They are NOT born with it!

  9. Tommy, After ranting about this years political candidates, I posted this to my FB page.

    Dear Tommy Jordan,
    (for those of you too busy watching the political hypocrites to know–he is the youtube/fb/shot his daughters laptop/told off dr phil dad)

    I don’t know where you stand on politics, religion, birth control etc nor do I even care…But I love your work ethics, Your parenting skills and your accountability even for yourself!

    I will be writing you in on my official 2012 voting ballot.

    Sincerely,
    Jesse Roth

  10. I will be following your advice. My kids a 7 and 11, but I think it’s never too early. Even playing a game on a phone there is a ‘chat mode’ – I’ve told my kids if they are playing against someone they don’t know, to not answer any questions – you never REALLY know who they truly are. I commend you on your actions – from shooting the laptop to creating this blog – you are pretty smart in my book. Too bad you aren’t running for President – we need a REAL person in office – someome who isn’t so ‘politic-y’ and full of BS. Thank you!!

  11. I’m certain that many appreciate the effort of creating this site, especially the post late last night. I think I briefly commented, but placed that comment in the wrong thread (I was too tired to notice). I currently have four kids in my family that are on facebook and twitter, and, until I read your post last night, I always just figured they were visiting with other kids that they know. After reading you, I see it is more frightening online, without the beneficial controls this product offers, than I had realized.
    Today, I got a chance to talk to the oldest of the four. We changed some of his settings. He actually offered me his password…I think he was thrilled that I cared enough to want to know his online history.
    Thank You for getting the ball rolling by educating me with your post.
    I will get with the other three this weekend.
    This is an important product. A tool that provides safety for our future, because children really are our future. I strive to be someone they can look up to, but you have become someone to look up to on a more global scale. The fact that each purchase will benefit MDA, makes that purchase a gift that truly keeps on giving…a purchase with purpose.
    I don’t believe in accidents. I don’t believe in luck. I believe that there are millions of tiny destiny s waiting to happen. Perhaps this site and this product are the reason for the “viral effect” of the original video.

    If you are ever in Little Rock, you’ll get a free cup of coffee!
    (I hope you like instant)

  12. I will definetely get this program. I trust that my teenager is a good kid, but I also know that there’s the internet and influences from other kids. He knows that I check his Facebook and texts, but I also know that he erases most of it before I get the chance to look at it. My rule is that I have the password for everything. If my kids change it, they loose the privilege to use the computers and I-pods. If I had a gun, I would do the same as you, Mr. Jordan 😉 Keep up the good work!!

  13. Thank You I am glad you took the time to write this blog!!!
    I had computer problems with my daughter over 10 years ago. She was innocently talking to a teenage girl that turned into her brother that turned into a 30 year old pervert. MY husband sent the police knocking on his door. You can control it in your home but if your child goes to a friend’s house you have to be sure the parents are watching what is going on with the computer too. Alot of times they are not which is what happened in our case. We did not have such wonderful programs so we controled it the old fashoined way. Computer was in our locked bedroom and we took the keyboard with us! My teenager is now 25 and a wonderful mother! I will “pin” this link on pinterest and facebook. It has lots of info that parents of teenagers need to know.

  14. My take away from your shooting the laptop video was related to how closely I can relate to your frustration. I studied digital electronics in the 1970s, programmed 8080 and 8085s in the ’80 and have been computer knowledgeable since the first PCs hit consumers. I program in several languages and currently manage a team of engineers who do telecommunication circuit design. I have a 23 year old son. I have been using the internet since the early 90s and consider it to have both merit and downfalls. I have witnessed the same old view you note regarding parents having NO IDEA. I love my son very much and every bit of direction I have given him, with respect to internet use, is steeped in that love. However, he has occasionally challenged me by discarding my advice, just as your daughter has. At times, I have experienced the same dismay I pick up in your commentary video. Why don’t these kids understand we are NOT trying to foul up their socializing and fun, but are simply trying to teach respect and safety. I analogize safe internet use to maintaining a securely locked up house. If anyone in my family takes on behavior which compromises the locks on the doors or provides insight to would-be wrongdoers I would strongly advise them to STOP. I always told my son, “Anything you write someone ought to be something you could comfortably read to me and your mom, or our pastor, or your teachers.”

    I too have taken drastic steps at times to deal out punishment for not remaining vigilant to protect our family from internet wrongdoers and to keep communications clear of embarrassing our family. I think learning to behave in such a way as to properly represent your family, employer, community, and nation is essential to being a right minded person. The lure of “privacy” and candidness the internet has stirred up makes many people forget that EVERY KEYSTROKE IS A RECORD.

    My dear departed grandmother used to say, “Chose your words carefully because, like leaves in the wind, you never know who’s doorstep they will blow up onto”. She died in 1970, long before Facebook.

    I wish you the very best with your family. I appreciate the frustration of being so well meaning but still ignored or undermined or misunderstood. I get your message! It helps me to know I am not the only father who has dealt with these challenges.

    God Bless you and your family
    Respectfully,
    Bryan Hall

  15. why is my question not here anymore? all i wanted to know, if spector pro or eblaster run on linux too? why did you delete this?

    • Hey. Sorry. I didn’t recall deleting your post at all. Sorry if I did. I do NOT believe there is a Linux version at this time though. Sorry. 🙁

  16. While I welcome the software that you are showing, How does it rate with White Listed sites (instead of just blocking the ones that we KNOW of, what about only allowing the ones that we approve of?) and Do you know of any software that can watch our kids while they are on Game Consoles? Most of those have internet and chat built in and unless you unplug them and stop any updates that need to happen, Kids have access to those features. I don’t even allow my kids on the computer here at home and they DO NOT have cell phones since they are under the age of 16 (and can get jobs to pay for it on their own) and although I’m 5 1/2 years rusty, I’m in the IT Field as well.

  17. my daughter won’t have facebook for awhile..she don’t want one either..i seen 11 year olds have facebook and that’s scary to me because of the predators out there…i know one day she will change her mind. I’ll be ready for it and she knows safety stuff but knowing and applying it is two different things. I will monitor all..i go to her friend’s house if she is 5 minutes late lol..teaching her curphew and checking in and her knowing, mom is always watching over her, and watching her!

  18. hey, im glad someone is finaly telling adults how to keep track of what their children are doing on the computer. i agree that it is very important to know more than your kids do about the computer and other gadgets that they use. however, as much as i agree with it, i would hate it if my parents were as capable as you when it comes to finding out what i did or am doing on the computer.

    Respect

    Andrew (18 years old)

    • LOL. Yeah Andrew, my kids hate that too. Secret Twitter accounts, yeah I found ’em. Secret super-hidden gmail accounts? Yup, caught those too. Ooh another Facebook account that he’ll never see.. wrong.

      I’ve actually let some the account stay open just because it’s easier than having to track down the new ones. They just don’t know I know about them… sometimes it’s better to keep your mouth shut and just watch quietly from the corner of the room…

  19. This is rather fascinating to read, actually… I can’t help but wonder something and I really, really hope you’ll answer(this is a serious question, even if I suppose it might not really sound like it… Ah well).

    I’m fifteen, and, well, trust me, I know about the dangers of the internet. I’m not quite following ALL the ‘rules’ to keep myself safe, but nothing has happened so far and I’m doing nothing to attract attention, so I’m sure I’ll be fine. I’m also pretty sure my parents don’t monitor me as… If they had, I’m sure we’d have had quite a lot of serious discussions by now. I’ve been looking at some rather questionable things…
    That was what I wanted to ask you about!
    I’m sure you’ll agree that young teenagers, especially girls, are some of the most targetted people online(or anywhere, really) and thus those who are most likely to be monitored by their parents. But… The teenage years are kinda tricky. And 14,15,16… That’s the age where you really start noticing your sexuality. When you get interested in exploring it. Also known as when you are most likely to be reading, looking at, writing or drawing some kind of porn.
    As a parent, would you also try to stop your child from doing these kinds of things? I’m not talking about cybering or taking pictures of yourself naked(or even looking at photos of naked people!), I’m talking about things like… PWP fanfictions or fanart, or… I don’t know. Just… what would you do if you found your child drawing pictures or writing about people having sex?
    Continuing on the same track while also diving into some pieces of personal experience… A year or so ago I started actively looking for information or REALLY questionable things for a 14-year old too look at – BDSM, bonadage, other relatively common but still really weird stuff for someone that young to look at. Now THIS part is going to sound even MORE odd – learning about all that stuff SAVED me. Just in case you(general public you) weren’t aware… there’s not really much choice in what you’re attracted to, apparently! And being a young girl realising the things she is attracted to seem to involve HURTING people even though she wouldn’t even hurt a fly in real life… Yeah, that’s kind of scary! So. Thanks to finding the information, knowing that I wasn’t alone and that having these fantasies were normal and that it DEFINITLY didn’t make me a bad person(and that it didn’t even necesarily mean I wanted to ACT on my fantasies!), I avoided doing some pretty stupid things to myself. Like telling myself I was sick and stupid. Thing is, if my parents had ever caught me looking all that stuff up? They would have taken my computer away. This isn’t the kind of thing you ask your parents or school nurse about – you’re too scared. You can’t look it up in the library either.
    So… What would you advise parents do, in these situations?

    I’m actually, sincerely curious and interested. I hope to have children myself in the future(FAR in the future), and I have no idea of how to handle this. Suggestions?

    (Please don’t disregard me because of my age. I am aware that I am young and in many cases ignorant, but… I’m willing to learn, and from most things I’ve seen, you look like a sensible person.)

    • Emilie,
      I’ve actually kept this email in my inbox for over a month now, always planning to come back and reply to it. So, please forgive my delay in getting back to you. I promise not to disregard you because of your age. Your questions, regardless of your age, show a depth of thought that deserves a legitimate response and I wanted to wait until I had the time to give it. Having said that, I’m still finding myself in a quandary over my answers to the questions you pose.

      I guess in my mind I draw a distinction between pornography and art, maybe because I’ve always been interested in art. I have to admit that the existence of the Internet though makes those lines even more blurred than they were when I was growing up 15 years ago. There use to be drawings, photos, and videos. That was it. Now we have fan art, Hentai, Anime, and a myriad of other things that blur the lines with their content. Some anime and most all Hentai I’ve ever come across easily crosses the lines into pornography. Others merely dance around it. It’s a hard thing to classify anymore. We’ve always said to ourselves “I know what porn is when I see it” and that’s true, but each person’s personal feelings move that line back and forth across the spectrum, so what one considers beautiful artwork another considers extravagant pornography. I feel like I need to make the distinction between the two to answer your question better, but I’m unable to do so, because the subject matter is.. well, subjective – up to each person’s own interpretation.

      I DO know that modern communications has opened up new avenues of sexual inquisitiveness that many humans have never even thought of, and would be appalled to know even existed. For example, when I was about 18 years old I found out, quite by accident, that I knew a friend who was in to women, men, and animals. I was in college at the time and didn’t even know that WAS a fetish of any kind. Whoda thunk it?

      I guess it comes down to how much you are involved in your children’s lives, how emotionally and intellectually evolved the child is at that age, and what you think they can accept. I’m going to be very careful NOT to take a stance on how people should educate their children about sex, because I think that too is up to each family to deal with, but in the case you mentioned I can see how it would be very difficult to answer and why you would seek advice. Having said that, I can only speak in broad generalities because it IS so different for each person. I’m not sure how most parents would handle what you’ve mentioned. Some would immediately seek counseling for their child because they’d think something was wrong with them. Others might would sit down with them and have a candid and sensitive discussion about the issues, talk it out, come to understand where each other comes from.

      Many young adults in your situation probably do exactly what you did.. search it out from the anonymity of the Internet, talk to others in forums dedicated to BDSM or whatever they are curious about, etc. I hate saying this, but I don’t actually have ANY answer you can make use of, and rather than tell you I do and just make something up, I think it’s important enough that you know that I don’t. I’ve never had to deal with what you’ve dealt with, so I have no personal experience to draw from. I DO know that if you’re on the Internet talking to others about this kind of thing, PLEASE do your best to remain anonymous. The more the fetish is considered “deviant”, the more likely it is to attract TRUE NUTJOBS that like to hurt others. You mentioned BDSM specifically… an area where hurting others is part of the game. It’s a dangerous place out there and I wish I had the answers you are seeking. But since I don’t, and I know you’ll continue to seek them on the net, please be careful when you do. Regardless of your age (young adult OR older adult) those areas can be dangerous.

      The only piece of REAL advice I can give you is one you might think is stupid, but give it thought. I’d imagine you felt ok opening up here, to me, because we’re strangers.. there’s is no judgment between strangers. So my advice with something like that would be to get a professional stranger, a therapist. NOT because there’s something wrong with the thoughts and questions you’ve mentioned… not that at all. But a therapist is a stranger, and as such they can be honest with you. They’re also covered under doctor-patient confidentiality so conversations are privileged (private). And further, they might have the conversational skills necessary to help someone who is battling with these kinds of dilemmas to be able to think them out, express them easier in words, and then to find the answers to questions you might not even know you have. I’m not suggesting seek one because there’s something wrong with the ideas you’ve mentioned. I’m saying seek one because they’re probably the best kind of person to be able to help someone like you at that age find the answers you seek safely.

      Anyway, I hope that helps.
      Tommy

  20. Tommy,
    Your information is exactly what today’s parents need, even if they don’t know it! I’m a high school guidance counselor and often see the consequences of young people being trusted and not monitored on the internet. Fifth graders looking for cheat codes for Playstation games, very innocently coming across webpages that have people having sex with animals, people dressed up like animals having sex with other “animals”, etc. For many of these young people, this is their first sexual experience (being exposed to sexually explicit material). It is not unnatural for them to be turned on. This is where fetishes are born. It is natural to be curious and many (most) young people will continue to explore on the internet after the first accidental exposer. The fifth grader that I mentioned was a high schooler by the time that I met “them” and is a “furry” now; dresses up like a particular animal and meets others on the internet with the same “furry” interests to have sex. Unfortunately, this student didn’t get an opportunity to discover their sexuality in the traditional way; dating, 1st base, 2nd base, 3rd base etc., as a young adult. Instead “they” were introduced to something outside of the norm and now are living with the consequences of a sexual addiction.

    Sexual addictions are skyrocketing and are just as dangerous as online predators. The odds are higher that someone will become sexually addicted or have other mental heath issues due to pornography on the internet. Most of us teach our children about the dangers of predators on the internet, but we don’t teach them about protecting their minds from being exposed to what’s on the internet. I encourage parents to read the book “Pornified”, by Pamela Paul. I downloaded it from iTunes on my iPad.

    No, I’m not one of “those” counselors telling parents to get rid of the internet or their computers. I’m telling them to monitor their electronics (computers, phones, iPods, iPads, XBox’s, Playstations, etc.,), lock down their wifi, find the neighbors that have open wifi and get them to lock it down as well, and not allow unmonitored electronics into your household or households that your kids might visit. This is a big job and darn near impossible!!! When friends come over to visit or to sleepover, I speak with the parents prior to the visit, to briefly discuss our household policy on electronics. No unmonitored devices are allowed! They can leave them at home or we can lock them up for them while they are at our house. They can use them under our supervision if needed. This is my responsibility as a parent and as an adult! Yes, I’ve made another neighbor mad by asking her to change her wifi password. Her son gave their wifi username and passcode to my 13 year old stepson who was sneaking his unmonitored iPod to our house. He would use get onto their wifi and the boys were looking a porn together. This is why I have the policy in the first place, no unmonitored devices! Yes, I’m the mean evil stepmother even though I’ve been doing the same monitoring to my own son and husband for 9 years! It is a well known policy in our house, that I monitor all electronic activity!

    I’ve used Spector Pro for about 9 years. I used e-Blaster for a short time, but Spector was all I really needed. A couple of my neighbors, thought that I was terrible for monitoring my 15 year old’s computer activity. I didn’t really care, I didn’t think they were such great parents either! Very shortly after I downloaded the program, I saw a great deal of pornography activity on the family computer from 7ish in the morning until 11ish or so. Not only was I upset about the porn, but my kid was skipping school to do it! How could I not know he was skipping school? Well, I called the high school to see why I wasn’t being notified of his classes that were missed. According to them, he had perfect attendance. I spoke with his AM teachers to confirm that they were taking attendance and he was indeed there.

    Anyone know where this is going??? My kid was in class, it was the other male in the house that was spending half of his work day watching porn! Not a happy wife, but I was relieved that my 15 year old wasn’t skipping school to watch porn half the day! By the way, I hadn’t intentionally not informed my spouse of the program, he’d been out of town for work and it hadn’t been brought up yet.

    Within a month or so of monitoring the 15 year old, I did start to see some unusual internet searches that concerned me. He was looking at women’s hygiene products, adult diapers, medical sites, and some of the links took him to fetish type sites with “wetting”. I didn’t know what he had himself into and I was trying to not freak out. With Spector, I then saw a chat between my son and a friend from school. He shared with her that he had been having pain in his back & side and he was having some issues during sleep with “wetting”. She advised him to take some of his mom’s feminine hygiene products (pads) and use them at night!

    He had started wetting the bed at night and was too embarrassed to tell me, but he told a girl at school! I’ll never understand that one! I took him to the Dr. and after some testing we found out that he was only born with one kidney and the one that he had was FULL of stones. This had been where the pain and wetting came from! Thank you Spector Pro for solving our medical issue! Had I not intervened when I did, I fear that the exposer to the random unintentional “wetting” sites could have manifested into something worse (fetish) than kidney stones!

    Studies show us that when a disgusting picture comes up on our computer screen, it only takes three exposers to something before we start to become “numb” to it. The first two times we will likely click the window off in disgust, but the third time we will likely linger to look a little closer or longer. This exposer is dangerous! Sexual addictions are progressive! It starts out just looking at a little porn, but after constant exposure to harder and more explicit porn, the individual will continue to seek more deviant and/or explicit material that they once wouldn’t have of looking at. I’m not some anti-porn counselor that preaches about the sins of pornography. I’m seeing daily the effects of overexposure to sexually explicit material, not only to our youth, but our adults as well. Again, I encourage you to read the book “Pornified”.

    So, to your young follower Emelie…Tommy gave you some really good advise; seek out a professional with whom you can trust and talk to. Emelie, it is natural to be curious and interested about the things that you’ve discovered on the internet. You aren’t a bad person for doing or looking at these things, but please speak with a professional that can work with you to keep the interest in check and direct it in a healthy way. Whatever type of person or thing you are attracted to isn’t the issue, it’s being able to have a healthy relationship with another person that is the ultimate goal. Unfortunately, pornography sites are showing how to have healthy relationships with another individual. Our young people believe what they see on these porn sites! Down and dirty sex with little or no “bonding” and/or commitment between two people. Bonding wasn’t the greatest word here, but it’s all I can think of at the moment. As adults, we know or at least hope this isn’t reality! Part of a healthy relationship with a partner, is a healthy sexual relationship, but this is only part of it! Often what is seen on porn sites, isn’t an example of healthy relationships or even healthy sexual relations.

    Parents-Help to keep your children’s minds clean! Monitor their activity! I can’t think of a more important job for any parent! It’s real, it’s here, and it’s dangerous!

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