23 October 2013

Malaysian Teenager Found Dead in Suitcase

It is a parent's worst nightmare.

To find your missing teenager dead, and that was the headline in the Star today.

I truly feel for the mother and the rest of the family, and hope no other teenager suffers the same fate and no other family needs to go through this torment.

But how do we keep our children safe in this age of Facebook and Twitter and smartphones?

This generation of children are net savvy, way more mature at their age than we were at the same age and do not take kindly to parental advice/ control. Violence and sex are plastered all over TV shows and movies.

When I forbade my son from opening an FB account under his own name, he did it anyway. I found out, and we had a long serious "discussion". He added me as a friend and I check in on his account.

When his friends wanted to spend an afternoon together at one of the boy's house, I gave him permission to go but I accompanied him to the meeting point, saw that he and his friends were picked up as arranged. Later that day, I drove to the friend's house, earlier than the appointed time, to bring him home. Needless to say, my boy was not happy to see me an hour before the official end of play day.

Well, that's too bad. Whether he likes it or not, my priority is to make sure he is safe. And that he is where he said he would be. That's why I went earlier to pick him up.

I foresee it is going to get more difficult to keep track of my boy. And I can't keep saying "no" to his requests to join his friends for outings. He is only 12. Heck, I didn't go for outings with friends till I was in college!

This poor girl, Ng Yuk Tim, who suffered such a tragic untimely death is a stark reminder to all of us of the dangers of making friends on the net. When and how do we really know a person? Even if you befriended a person physically, not virtually, there is no way to tell if he or she is a pervert, murderer or just plain dishonest. 

But there are questions to be answered in Ng Yuk Tim's death and I hope justice will prevail.

I am worried.

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