Sacto 9-1-1
April 21, 2008
Teen cyberspace threat alleged

A 13-year-old student at Sylvan Middle School was booked into juvenile hall Thursday after she posted threats against another student on MySpace.com, officials said.

Earlier, the girl had threatened the other student with a piece of glass she picked up in the schoolyard, Citrus Heights police officials said. But taking the dispute into cyberspace is what really got her in trouble.

The girl was charged with a felony count of making terrorist threats. An arrest summary also indicates a misdemeanor charge of brandishing a weapon.

The incident is another local example of Internet-related crime that law enforcement officials are dealing with nationwide.

On Friday, Ann Marie Linscott pleaded guilty Friday to federal charges stemming from a Craigslist ad soliciting the murder of an Oroville woman who is the wife of Linscott's former lover. Here's Denny Walsh's story about that case.

More on Thursday's incident from David Richie:

Cyber-bullying, stalking and other problems related to the Internet also are increasing locally, said Lt. Jeff Mackanin, Citrus Heights police watch commander.

"Teenagers think they are anonymous but they aren't," Mackanin said.
Stalkers also are becoming adept at surfing the net -- on the prowl for potential victims. Teenagers are posting revealing photos and far too much information about themselves on sites like MySpace.com, Mackanin said.

A stranger can generally determine where a teenager goes to school along with where that potential victim works and likes to hang out.

Police are using the same tools and they often are amazed at the stuff they find. Underage teenagers have no problem depicting themselves in full party mode, surrounded by bottles of liquor with a pretty suspicious looking cloud of smoke in the air around them.

Mackanin advises parents to learn how to check the MySpace pages maintained by their children and by friends of their children.

They also should be aware that some teenagers use two pages -- dummy sites that their parents know about and second pages where more racy material is posted.

Local police can help parents get the training they need to properly monitor their children’s activities, Mackanin said.

In a related note, Melissa Nix reports that the Elk Grove Unified School District will hold a free Internet safety workshop for parents from 6 to 8:30 p.m. May 15 at Laguna Creek High School, 9050 Vicino Drive.

The workshop will cover educational blogging, the language of text messaging, social networks such as MySpace and Facebook, cyberbullying, tracking Internet predators, online research, copyright and blocking and monitoring your child's Internet use.

Space is limited to the first 25 parents who register. To register, or for more information, contact Elk Grove Adult and Community Education at (916) 686-7717.

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