"I found my 10-year-old daughter chatting online with a man who was 24 years old," Virginia says. "His online name was Shy Boy. It was brought to my attention by my husband."
"My daughter was definitely lured into these conversations," says Virginia's husband, Chris.
Virginia reads from a computer monitor, "â€˜What do you think about when you're in the shower?'"
"â€˜I think about you *****,'" Chris reads.
"â€˜I'm making myself horny thinking about last night,'" Virgina reads. She says, "She did lie and tell Shy Boy that she was 16 years old. I asked her why she did that. She says, â€˜Well, Mom, I didn't want him to know that I was only 10.' I let her know, â€˜You are only 10.'"
"If I could, she'd be grounded until she's 50," Chris says. "But at the same time, the worst thing you could do to anybody was not let them explore."
"I believe she was a victim the first couple of times. Now it's not so much innocence. I did ask if she's been sexually active. She tells me that she hasn't been," Virginia says.
"Most of the things that were mentioned from him were sexually oriented, very detailed and graphic," Chris says.
"He wanted her to have sex with his dogs. With his dogs. To my 10-year-old daughter," Virgina says with disgust. "After the conversations my daughter was having, my husband logged on to my daughter's I.M. [Instant Messenger]. Within 30 seconds, Shy Boy was saying, â€˜Hi. Hey, baby. I love you.' After we found out that she was talking this way online, we took the Internet away. We took TV away. We took the phone away. After everything, to try to protect her, we gave her a little leniency. [We] found a Web site that was kid friendly. She was allowed to go there. She took that opportunity to continue the same inappropriate conversations with young men. I've tried to explain to her repeatedly the danger that she is putting herself in. She responds with a shrug of her shoulder and a nod of head. She acts as though she's 10 going on 30. I don't know why my daughter is seeking this negative attention. I'm so worried that she's going to talk to somebody, and she's going to give out her information, and she'll be gone."
Chris recently had surgery and could not travel, so he joins the show via satellite.
"When was y'all's first clue that she was heading in a bad direction?" Dr. Phil asks Virginia and Chris.
"It was a phone call at 2:00 in the morning that Chris overheard," Virginia explains.
Chris hit star-69 on the phone and called the person back. "It was an older gentlemen on the other end of the line, and he was, if I'm not mistaken, 20 years old. And I asked him if he knew my daughter, who was at that time 10 years old, and he said yeah, he knew that she was 10 years old," Chris recounts.
"What did you say to this guy?" Dr. Phil asks.
"I was pretty much out of control when I was on the phone at that time," Chris says.
"Virginia, you sat down and talked to your daughter the next day about this. Tell us about that conversation," Dr. Phil says. "I think every mother in America wants to know what was said, what she said and what came of it."
"I actually had conversations with her before, when I first allowed her on the Internet," Virginia explains. "When I found out about the first incident, I sat down with her and explained to her again the repercussions that could come of her doing this online, exposing herself this way, giving out our phone number. Anybody can track anybody with a phone number. We all know that."
"But even after that conversation, in September '07, Chris, you find your daughter instant messaging someone named Shy Boy, and you saw words like â€˜kisses' and â€˜hugging' and â€˜I love you, hubby,' and you later found out that this was a 24-year-old man?" Dr. Phil asks.
"That is correct," Chris says. "He was 24 years old, and he was under the assumption that my daughter was 16."
"Do y'all get how dangerous this is?" Dr. Phil asks his audience. "I want to share some of this online chat that's been going back and forth between Shy Boy, who's 24, and a 10-year-old girl." Dr. Phil reads from his notes. "He says, â€˜So how was everything we did last night?' The 10-year-old responds, â€˜Not a word to explain it.' He says, â€˜I'm making myself horny thinking about last night. I'm so horny right now.' And then it just goes on, and he says at one point, â€˜Every time I get in the shower, I think about you **** the dogs.' This just goes on and is so vile that I can't even really edit it, but it is hugely sexual, hugely perverse by a sick, 24-year-old individual talking to a 10-year-old child."
He tells the couple, "There's an old saying in my family: â€˜For every rat you see, there are 50 you don't.' You know what you know, but how much is going on, how many people, how much exposure is out there that y'all just don't know about yet is very scary, because, just as an observer in this, I'm watching this 10-year-old girl who's responding to words like â€˜**** dogs, horny,' things like that " Where does a 10-year-old even have that vocabulary?"
"The only thing that I can imagine is TV," Virginia says. "Kids nowadays are so over-sexed. Commercials, Bratz dolls, games that they play."
"I assume that y'all want to know what I think about this," Dr. Phil tells them. "And I want to say this as a parent and as a compass that points things in a direction that I think you need to consider. Both you and you, Chris, have had experiences and incidences in your upbringing and your childhood that were horrific, and you wouldn't want to happen to anybody, anytime, anywhere, correct?"
"Exactly," Virginia says.
"You've been victimized," Dr. Phil says. "Chris, you've been victimized. And the last thing in the world you would want is for your daughter to experience any kind of abuse, molestation, rape, at the hands of any kind of predator. No parent would, but you two know the pain of that sort of experience in childhood, correct?"
"Yes. Very much so," she says.
"Yes," Chris says.
Dr. Phil continues. "And I'll tell you, just in my opinion, I think that this may have impacted you in a way where you're really kind of walking on eggshells and not claiming your rights as parents to stand up and put a stop to this 100 percent right now," he says sternly. "Your job right now is to step up and take the position that nobody took with you when you were that age! I would take all four of those computers and throw them in the bottom of the lake and communicate with carrier pigeons before I'd let her be on there. I hate to say this to you, but in my opinion, I think she has already been altered by this process, and I think she probably needs some professional help to reorganize her priorities and her thoughts and her values."
Dr. Phil offers them resources to help their daughter. "This predator has already victimized her, putting these thoughts, putting these words, giving her attention that any child would respond to, and that being the price of admission, that kind of inappropriate, vile, sick, demented conversation with her, that has to be reversed out of her thinking, out of her values, which is very doable. Children are so resilient, but at this point, she is a danger to herself on a computer."
Chris interrupts to explain that the situation started on a PlayStation video game, which progressed to a computer. "Your PlayStations, your Xboxes, you can get online and use them as a computer and talk to people all over the world," he says.
"Thank you for pointing that out," Dr. Phil says. "At this point, she is too vulnerable to be electronically available. And I think you need to explain that to the school, to the counselors and teachers, where they use computers, and I think you need to totally eliminate her access to those electronic ways because she's too vulnerable right now. You've got to take her back to the 1950s until we get things straightened out, where she recognizes when to say no and get out."
Five Ways to Protect Your Family from Online Predators:
1) Never leave your child alone in a room with a computer connected to the Internet.
2) Educate yourself on basic computer knowledge.
3) Teach your children to never give out personal information or photographs over the Internet.
4) Teach your children to stay away from chat rooms.
5) Make sure you have open lines of communication with your children.
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