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Police probe Facebook concerns

Police probe Facebook concerns
Staff Reporter
A Facebook “friend” has made some local parents uneasy and prompted Union City police to do some checking.
This week, a Facebook post has been circulating among parents urging them to check their child’s Facebook page and alleging a particular new friend is “not who he says.”
The post claims someone has talked with the Union City Police Department and alleges the person in the postings is not a 16-year-old boy but rather someone who “is after our girls” at several local schools.
Union City Assistant Police Chief Perry Barfield told The Messenger today that the parents’ concerns have prompted Union City police to look into the matter further to try to determine the man’s identity.
He said their concerns stem from a male who recently “friended” several youth from local county and city schools through Facebook.
“We’re trying to find out if this person is truly who he says he is or not,” Barfield said.
Barfield said no one has filed a formal complaint and the person who made contact with the local youths by becoming their friend on Facebook has not made any sexual advances or done anything criminal at this point.
“We don’t know who he is and we’re looking into it. We don’t have any information on this person other than the name provided (on Facebook),” he said.
“We’re looking into identifying him. None of the messages received are of any criminal nature thus far.”
Police have not specifically identified the Facebook “friend” as a predator and have not circulated his name as such, contrary to any message which may have been conveyed in an area television news report.
Instead, right now, Union City police are asking parents to be cautious and aware of their children’s computer and cell phone activities.
“Be diligent and watch what your kids are doing,” Barfield said.
For example, personal information should never be provided and children should be careful when asked to become a “friend” to someone who is a complete stranger on Facebook.
Barfield said Union City school resource officer Raphe Whaley does a presentation on Internet safety and is available to present the program to any interested school, church or civic groups in the community. For more information, contact the police department at 885-1515.
“We need to emphasize to our kids and parents to be safe. Be conscious of who you’re ‘friending’ on Facebook,” Barfield said. “Don’t give out personal information. Be cautious.”
Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by email at Published in The Messenger 1.26.12

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