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Parents should act before Internet predators harm their children

John DiMambro
Publisher of the Nevada Appeal

MySpace.com is a wide open space of adolescent communication. As wide an open air field as can cover our planet.

Only this freedom field is not a field of dreams. It is a field filled with craftily covered traps. Land mines dug so close together that it is not a matter of if, but when, an unassuming child falls into one.

The following narrative is fictitious. Are the names real? Could be. Somewhere. Did the incident depicted here actually take place? Again, could be. Can it happen? You’re damn right it can. Share this prose of probability with your children. Hopefully, they will listen to its message before they fall into one of those traps that symbolize the many possibilities of fatal missteps.

Hi. My name is Sarah. I am 18 years old. Actually, I’m 12 years old. But what would you rather have? Me? Or my ID? MySpace is my space. MySpace is your space. MySpace is the space of many kids my age. MySpace is really mine. Mine. MySpace is my thought space. MySpace allows me to be me.

Hi Sarah. My name is Frank. You don’t need to know my age. Just look at my picture. I rip. Don’t I? I am a hunter. One of the many who sniff the tracks of young kittens like you. I want to meet you. You think I’ll arrive like a dream. But what you don’t know is I’m here to ruin everything you are. I’ll reach inside of you and stop everything that makes you a little girl. I’ll measure you with the tape rules of my eyes. Size you up. Make you bleed … Slaughter you.

Sarah? This is Mommy, Honey. Sarah? Baby, what did Mommy and Daddy do? What did we ever do, sweetheart, to make you wander? You’re my baby. You’re our baby. You’ll always be our baby. We’re so sorry. We’re so very sorry. But we just didn’t know. Well … hope you don’t mind … I’m on your bed, sitting at your little computer in your room. We left the room the way you left it. It even smells like you. Just like you … just like our little baby.

Sarah? Can you hear me my darling … my little girl? We never knew. Daddy and me … Daddy and I … we only wanted you to be happy. Daddy and me … well … you see, we just haven’t been the same without you … without you here with us.

Daddy can’t sleep. He just walks around the house at night, dragging his slippers like anchors against the carpet, whispering your name, and staring at your pictures on the mantel. Neither one of us can eat. You were everything to us. You were our lives.

I hate MySpace. I don’t ever want to hear about it again. How I hate it. How could we have known that that stupid MySpace was going to take you away from us? We miss you … my little sweetheart … my baby. We’ll always miss you … from our lives, and from your life.

I have to go now. Really don’t know where. Guess I’ll just lie in bed this afternoon. Can’t sleep you know … so I’ll just lie there. Daddy said he plans to visit your new bedroom tomorrow. He said the valley it overlooks is pretty. Not as pretty as you though. You’re our pretty little baby. Seems there’s a narrow river that flows by your new bed. That’s pretty too … so I’m told anyway. Daddy picked out some beautiful flowers to plant on your pillow … you know, for when he stops by tomorrow. Not as beautiful as you though … nothing is.

Sarah? Sarah, are you still there? It’s just Mommy, Honey. I can’t live without you. Daddy doesn’t want to live without you. We loved you more than we do life itself. There’s nothing left. Nothing left for us now. Maybe one of these days, Mommy will stop by your new room. The one that overlooks the valley. The pretty valley. Well, like I said, gotta go now. Appear to me in my dreams when you can. Sleep my darling. Sleep.

• John DiMambro is the publisher of the Nevada Appeal. Write to him at jdimambro@nevadaappeal.com.