Sometimes there really are monsters lurking underneath the bed.
Prosecutors say the man, Jaret Wright, of Barberton, met the teen — whose age the court describes as between 13 and 18 — on Instagram.
Wright is accused of restraining the teen in her Cincinnati home and forcing her to have sex with him while living in her bedroom, according to the Beacon Journal, which cited court documents.
Although the teen was aware that Wright was staying under her bed, the girl’s mother did not know he had been there for weeks, prosecutors said last month.
The mother alerted authorities after making the horrifying discovery, and Wright has been charged with three counts of rape and one count of producing child pornography.
He was being held at Hamilton County Justice Center on a $50,000 bond while awaiting a hearing.
Authorities have not said whether Wright was invited into the home, whether he and the teen were dating, or whether he was in and out of the residence during those three weeks, according to The Associated Press.
It’s easy to assume that the mother’s ignorance for three weeks meant that a lack of supervision led to such a nightmare scenario. However, it’s worth considering that while this teen’s alleged attacker was hiding under her bed, there are many other kids walking around with their abusers in their pockets and sleeping with them in their beds every night through their smartphones and other devices.
Many otherwise-attentive parents are painfully ignorant that their children can easily be targeted, groomed, victimized and bullied into silence through social media while they think the children are tucked safely into bed each night.
It’s easy for predators to hide behind screens, going undetected in a way the strangers-with-candy predators of yesteryear could only dream about.
Big Tech companies have made half-hearted attempts at controlling the problem, and some companies are even promising to keep kids safe with child-friendly versions of their regular platforms.
However, the possible pitfalls are far outpacing the solutions as technology offers both a worldwide pool of victims and the promise of anonymity with just a few keystrokes.
It isn’t just social media where this twofold reality puts children in danger, however. Pornhub, which already was an irredeemable cesspool of moral depravity, recently has been outed for allegedly making money off of child pornography.
Because technology is so ubiquitous — and now even essential for many schoolchildren during the pandemic — parents sometimes underestimate the inherent danger involved with giving children access to the world.
Moreover, parents don’t realize how easily technology is giving the world access to their children.
The common refrain from exasperated parents is that there is no choice but to allow their kids to have the devices and social media accounts because that’s what every other child their age is doing.
However, the wisdom that parents used to impart to their children about not jumping off a bridge because everyone is doing it can apply here, too.
This isn’t about helicopter parenting or being overprotective, but about prudence in the face of a very real, very severe danger that is unprecedented.
It’s time parents understand that giving a child any device with an internet connection is always a risk, no matter how careful or restrictive they think they’re being with it.
Not all children who are exposed to social media will end up with a pervert hiding under their bed, of course, but why even take the chance?
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