PORTLAND, Ore. -- Most parents do a good job of warning kids about talking to strangers in person or on the computer, but what about text messaging on cell phones?
Child predators have been taking advantage of the teenage texting phenomena.
Julius Xavier Hexon is currently serving a 20 year prison sentence for repeatedly traveling to Salem from southern California to have sex with a 15 year old girl.
Hexon met his victim and communicated with her by text messaging on a cell phone social network.
Kids nowadays text message 2 or 3 thousand times a month, there's no way to keep up with that, said Bill Kerr from Gresham who is raising his own 15-year-old girl.
Kerr now has a way to monitor his granddaughter's text messaging. He has a device installed on her phone and his computer, that allows him to monitor everything that comes through her cell phone.
From text messages to pictures he can see it all. At first, his granddaughter thought it was an invasion of privacy, however, it wasn't long before Kerr spotted some disturbing messages.
He was telling her what he was doing while he was lying in bed thinking about her, said Kerr. The old Marine came out in me at that point, I was about ready to take another beachhead.
Kerr text messaged back and told the stranger to never again contact his granddaughter.
Texting is certainly part of teen culture, but left unchecked, it can quickly become a tool for sexual predators. Cyber-bullying is another threat teens face and sometimes it all starts with text messages.
Texting also gives teens the opportunity to make other bad decisions like something called Sexting . That's when teens send compromising pictures of each other that they usually take with their cell phones.
Those pictures almost always end up on the Internet.
The text monitoring software called My Mobile Watchdog, allows parents to spot all these bad behaviors and put a stop to them.
The software was created by a man from Bend, Oregon. It charges a $10 a month fee for the service.
For My Mobile Watchdog click here. www.mymobilewatchdog.com/default.shtml