Who's Calling Your Kid?

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Reverse lookup searches and a little parental responsibility can save lives. Advice and number tracing can help parents the digital age sleep a little better, claims PI.

Once, it was merely the concern that a child would do something stupid, get into legal trouble or -- Gasp! -- come home pregnant. But parents today have a lot more to worry about than Susan putting the car in reverse and backing into the mailbox.

The world has clearly changed, and the Web continues to feed that change. Grade school kids have cell phones, everything in life can be digitally stored and your child spends several hours a day with almost a billion strangers on the Internet.

Licensed investigator Mark McAlpin, who is publishing a series of tracing articles on his company’s web site, http://cellulartrace.com, says parents need to take a proactive role in ascertaining information about who their children are talking to offline as well as on the web pages.

“With an endless selection of blogs, forums and listserves, devoid of the right tools, parents can do little more than guess at what’s really going on in their children’s social lives. The danger isn’t sitting online and chatting with someone, the danger begins with phone calls, exchanging cell phone numbers and addresses and meeting people in the real world.”

On the heels of the recent arrests of suspected pedophilic MySpace users, McAlpin recommends parents make certain who is in their children’s lives. Suggested tools include keystroke logger, perusing detailed cell phone records and reverse lookup phone searches to determine the identity and address of callers.

Stunned at the attitude and lack of concern displayed by most parents, McAlpin is indignant at what he styles parental hypocrisy.

“There is absolutely no consistency. Parents want to know where their kids are, whose house the kids are sleeping at and, at the dating age, which boy is picking them up. But in the more complex world of web surfing, they are allowed to enter a land without borders and can cozy up to whomever they please.”

It is vital that parents identify the source of chats and emails, lookup phone numbers, if they’ve been given and make a list of names and communications all the while checking the content of conversations, McAlpin advises.

“At some point in time, parents began to develop a mindless concern for their children’s private lives when they should be eager to find who the child is spending time with on a chat page. Some space and responsibility makes sense if earned, it is not applicable to twelve-year-old children. Parents have a definitive responsibility to protect their children’s lives, not to respect their privacy.”

While such in depth analysis may seem extreme and all-consuming, he insists that properly equipped, parents can accomplish all of the phone number info and lookup research in just a few minutes per week.

The daunting tasks are accomplished with the use of technology and outsourcing phone lookup searches. The keystroke logger he suggests is a computer program that records every key the computer’s user presses. So while there may be no copy of mail, instant messages, or chat entries there will still be a record of everything input on the user’s end. Beyond this, the investigator suggests that parents make sure they maintain a list of who their kids are talking to on the phone.

An investigator with over ten years skip tracing experience, McAlpin is an expert at reverse lookup, or CNA (Customer Name and Address) searches that identify the name and address of a phone number’s owner.

“In a bad situation, every parent would rather have more information. These tools allow that. They aren’t a substitute for a good, honest parent-child relationship, but they supplement even the most honest one.”

The series of tracing articles on the company’s web site will continue through the summer.

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D. Weber
Child Protection Unlimited
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