Chat, Webcams used to trick teen girls

A Canadian man could get a life sentence for allegedly tricking or coercing at least 12 teenaged girls, one as young as 14, to pose nude for him in front of a Webcam, The Register reports. Daniel Lesiewicz, 27, of the Montreal area, "was arrested in March and charged with possession and production of child pornography, uttering threats and extortion." The Quebec police have since added further charges, "including multiple counts of luring a child, and unauthorized use of a computer." He reportedly created a profile of a fictional girl and used it to befriend other girls in chat rooms and persuade them to pose nude in front of Webcams on their computers. Once he had screen shots of those, apparently, he'd threaten the girls that he'd post them online if they didn't provide more. Further confirmation that warning bells should go off wherever Webcams and chatrooms, separately or together, are used by minors. On the former, maybe wait till they go off to college and hope they're used only for seeing and talking with family and offline friends. Many new computers have built in Webcams, so parents might consider disabling them. Also key, though, is teens' developing critical thinking, which will protect them better than any technological filter or "parental control," neither of which can possibly follow them around online or off. To help them develop that mental filter, talk about how people online aren't always who they say they are. A couple of other discussion aids might be "How social influencing works" and "How to recognize grooming."

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