A Colorado investigator sent a strong message to parents this week in a way that we haven’t exactly seen before.
The story started with a 15-year old Jefferson County teen who had been suspended from school for problems including a “serious drug problem. The mother of the girl, who could be nominated for Digital Parent of the Year (not a real reward but it should be), had done enough digging into the girl’s smartphone that she was able to discover that the teen was a member of a secret drug trafficking group on Facebook. She reported it to the police and the Jefferson Child Sex Offender Internet Investigations unit got busy.
The investigators found that the Facebook group, Fly Society 420, had over 900 members, and 171 of them were local middle and high school students, some as young as 12-years old. The group had facilitated sales of not just marijuana (420, legal in Colorado but not for minors), but also LSD, cocaine, prescription drugs and Ecstasy.
The investigators arrested the admin of the group, an adult, and contacted Facebook to have the group shut down. The group is gone and none of the minors were arrested.
Next, investigators issued a very strong message to parents, saying that parents have to take their teens’ phones, log into Facebook, and see which groups they belong to. Investigator Mike Harris said:
“It’s harder when you have high school kids. They don’t want to give up that freedom, but I call it parenting. All you need to do is take the wrong kind of drug and quantity and we could have a dead kid.”
If your teen is looking to buy drugs online, or find someone online who sells them, it’s not just Facebook that’s the problem. Actually, Facebook does a pretty good job of policing drug sales. You can find then using the right hashtags on Instagram or Tumblr, you can find a dealer on Tinder or can get hooked up via a messaging app if you ask the right friend.
It’s impossible for parents of teens with unrestricted internet access to know everything that’s going on but it’s worth making an effort to know most of what is happening. If you need help figuring out what is going on, the ThirdParent initial audit is now FREE (previously a $49 value). Ongoing monitoring is $15 per month and you can cancel at any time. Click here to sign up today!
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