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Predator Playground

<EM>Note: This story contains information that some viewers may find offensive. It is not intended for anyone under 18 years old.</EM><BR><BR><A href="/global/Story.asp?s=825921"><FONT color=#0000ff>Rich Van Wyk</FONT></A>/Eyewitness News
/ Source: WTHR-TV

Note: This story contains information that some viewers may find offensive. It is not intended for anyone under 18 years old.

/Eyewitness News

Millions of kids go online looking for fun but they have no idea who's on the internet looking for them. Detective Mike Widner with the Noblesville Police Department says even worse is parents not knowing: "I don't think parents have a clue as to what their kids are doing online."

Eyewitness News watched Detective Widner while he worked online, looking for would-be predators. Widner poses as a 15-year-old girl who is home sick with the flu.

In minutes the Noblesville detective has four new friends, all of them older men, "They are 24,
26, 22, and over 30," said Widner.

Two leave and two talk sex. Some of the men tell Widner, whom they think is a 15-year-old girl, to lock the door and get naked. Another asks for a picture.

Widner sends a picture of a girl who is really in her twenties, dressed in a baggy gym uniform. After sending the picture the man makes a few more comments and then he breaks the law.

Detective Widner explained,"He is telling me how much he would enjoy having oral sex on me now. So he just crossed the line. That is child solicitation."

And it doesn't stop there. The online conversation is too graphic to repeat on our website.

Law enforcement officials want parents and teens to realize that this solicitation of an underage girl took less an hour. "They are just like a shark in the water" Widner cautioned. "They are a predator and they are swimming around just waiting to get their next victim."

John Atkins, an Indianapolis parent, says he never thought his daughter Alexandria would post personal information on the internet, but she did. "I was disappointed. I thought she would use better judgment."

Alexandria admits, "I wouldn't do half the stuff I've done on the internet if my dad knew about it."
When her dad checked online and found out what she was saying she admits she was embarrassed. She only intended her screen name of "sexy beast" to be a funny joke between friends, not realizing that on-line predators could track her down.

Eyewitness News asked her: "I could have found you?"
"Yeah," said Alexandria.
"Pretty easily?"
"Yeah."
"Does that make you feel good?"
"NO!"

Detective Widner is part of Indiana's Task Force tracking internet crimes against children.
He says one in 33 teens who are on-line will receive an aggressive solicitation. Widner hosts seminars for parents to learn more about what the dangers their child faces.

He tells parents about a New Palestine man who showed up at a teen's home, who brought duct gape and a rag soaked in chemicals. The man later took his own life.

Widner preaches surveillance and spy ware on computers is one way to watch your child's online activities "And the kids are not going to like this. Demand to see everything they're doing." He encourages parents to remember they are parents first and friends second.

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