DEAR ABBY: Our 13-year-old son, "Kirk," is monitored when he is online, he is given a curfew when visiting neighborhood friends, and he is overall watched like a hawk. However, we have let him play the video game Xbox Live (where kids all over the country play the same games). We recently found out that an adult (posing as a child) had promised Kirk a free pass and asked him to call to tell him where to send it.
Our son, not knowing any better, did indeed call this man. Fortunately, he did not give him any information. But he didn't think to block the phone number, so now this predator has Kirk's cell phone number. (We are turning off the phone.)
Abby, please warn parents that video games that allow children to play online should be supervised, too! We have had a long conversation with our son, as well as contacted the authorities in the state where this man lives. We are ... TRULY GRATEFUL OUR SON IS SAFE IN THE SOUTHWEST
DEAR TRULY GRATEFUL: I'm sure many parents are unaware that their children are vulnerable when they play online games. Of course, the best way to safeguard a minor who plays these games is to have not just one "long conversation" on the subject, but rather an ongoing dialogue about predatory adults who pretend to be someone they aren't.