DEAR ABBY: My daughter, "Lucy," and her girlfriend, "Madelyn," are both 14. Madelyn recently met a boy on the Internet and began having regular "conversations" with him. Her parents became concerned and forbade her to continue.
I just found out that Madelyn is now writing to the boy and using our address for him to answer her, so that her parents will not know. I told Lucy this "boy" could easily be a child molester who preys on innocent young girls. At 14, they have no life experience, and Madelyn believes everything she reads in his letters. I also found out that she has given him her real name and address, her phone number and our phone number over the Internet.
I am very concerned because all of us are working parents, and our daughters, both freshmen in high school, are home alone every day after school. My husband thinks I am worrying needlessly and should mind my own business. Abby, my warning signals are flashing. Should I tell Madelyn's parents? -- GRACE IN TAMPA, FLA.
DEAR GRACE: Yes, and faster than you can say "cyberspace"! Madelyn's safety may depend on it. In all likelihood, her computer friend is a decent young man, but it would be foolish to take any chances. Explain to Madelyn why her parents must know, and give them the next letter that arrives. They can use the return address to determine who the sender actually is. After that, if any more letters addressed to her arrive at your address, turn them over to Madelyn's parents.