When I heard about 12-year-old Megan Williams of Florida who was abducted from her home--but was luckily found safe the next day--it made my skin crawl. You see, Megan met her 31-year-old abductor, Dana Broberg, online and according to the Amber Alert issued by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, she'd been communicating regularly with the man from Texas who picked her up from her home last Saturday night. 

The thing that worried me the most about the whole ordeal is that according to what Melissa Ford, Megan's mom: "Kids are on chat sites talking with strangers. You don't think they are. I would never have thought my daughter was doing that." In other words, just because you think your children wouldn't do such a thing doesn't necessarily mean they're not doing it. 

Read more in ¿Qué más?: Why can't we keep pedophiles out of our schools?

My kids are way too young for me to have to worry about this for now, but I can't even begin to imagine the technology that'll be available when they get a bit older and this becomes a reality in my household. I know the main thing is to be 100 percent aware of where your children are and what they are doing at all times both physically and virtually, but sometimes even when you're doing that, things happen.

In Megan's case, it was actually the fact that her mom checked her phone with her nightly and had printed out the emails and texts coming from a number she didn't recognize that ultimately helped lead police to the girl. She was found inside Broberg's car as they were on their way back to his home in Texas. Can you imagine?

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Fortunately, this case had a happy ending. But now more than ever parents need to be in-the-know when it comes to the internet and what goes on with their children when they're online--especially when considering that a new survey out Monday suggests that 70 percent of teens "hide their online behavior" from their parents. 

How do you make sure your children are safe while they're online? Share your thoughts with us leaving us a comment below. 

Images via Police Handout

About the author

Roxana A. Soto is Features Editor for MamásLatinas. She's a bilingual and bicultural journalist born in Peru and raised in Mexico, Argentina, South Africa and Miami. She's also mom to a girl in 3rd grade and a boy in Kinder. She loves books, languages, traveling and good food – especially when cooked by someone else.

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