Oklahoma Teen Warns Of Dangers Of Social Networking

Monday, November 14th 2011, 10:48 pm
By: News 9

Twenty years ago it hardly existed. Now most of us can't imagine a day without the internet.

While instantly interacting with friends and getting information can be fun, some situations can turn dangerous in a hurry. That was the case for one Oklahoma teenager.

"I trusted someone I didn't even know," Katelyn said.

Katelyn was just 13 when she sparked a friendly conversation with a stranger on Myspace three years ago. He reached out to her after seeing her blogs about the death of her dad. Their friendship quickly grew stronger.

Katelyn recalls their conversation," I really connect with you," he told her. "I said I connect with you too. And it basically started from there."

The problem, this online romance was with a 21-year-old man, a secret Katelyn kept from her family.

"She was becoming very reclusive," Katelyn's mom, Carolyn said. "She was keeping her cell phone to herself."

Then, the relationship took a downward spiral.

"If I didn't do what he wanted me to do, he got upset with me," Katelyn said. "He basically kept me as a prisoner in my own home."

Katelyn started to feel trapped. The man threatened her and used damaging photos against her, forcing Katelyn to finally tell her mom the truth.

Now she wants to help others.

"I want to make sure they don't get in a situation and if they are in a situation, know they can come to me and they can know how to get out of it," Katelyn said.

Now, Katelyn's relationship with her mom is better than ever. They spend quality time together and tell each other everything.

"Keep the lines of communication open," Carolyn said. "Tell them you love them. And if you think something's going on, don't give up. Keep asking them what's going on."

As for the man who targeted Katelyn, Dustin Sheesley, he just started his three-year sentence for indecent exhibition.

Once he gets out of prison, Sheesley will remain on probation until 2021, and he will have to register as a sex offender.

Are Your Kids Too Young For Social Networking?