Wednesday, November 26, 2014


I'm please to announce that The Department of Homeland Security has invited me to partner with the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. campaign, which is the global cyber security awareness campaign to help people stay safer and more secure online. The campaign’s three actionable steps: STOP. THINK. CONNECT. are easy to understand and apply.  STOP. THINK. CONNECT. also advises all Internet users to take security measures, understand the consequences of their behavior and actions and enjoy the benefits of the Internet.  

The inspiration for my debut novel, Who R U Really?, came when my daughter was nearly abducted by an online predator. There are countless—seemingly innocent—online games that our kids play. But as parents, do we really know what our children are doing within the framework of those games? Are they playing against the computer or against other people? And if they’re playing with people, is there some sort of chat box associated with the game? It doesn’t matter if it’s a role-playing game, a racing game, a building game, or a chess game … if there is a chat box, there is a danger. My daughter participated in an innocent online role-playing game where a chat box was necessary to facilitate the game. Because of that chat box, she met a guy. He seemed nice. He seemed to need a friend. He seemed safe. But in fact, he was none of these things. 
A local police detective said to my daughter, “It is your job to tell others—your real everyday friends that you go to school with—tell them what happened to you, so nothing like this can happen to them.” My daughter agreed. Who R U Really? was born with the hopes of helping others spot and unmask internet predators. But reading a book alone won’t protect our kids from the dangers lurking on the Internet.

Here are a few tips to help our kids stay safer online:
     1)       Be friends with them on social media and insist that they only accept friend requests from people they know in everyday life.
     2)       Occasionally play their online games with them, so that you can understand what it is they are interested in online.
     3)       Build trust with them, so that they will be more comfortable talking with you about what concerns them.
     4)       Teach them safe online practices like keeping their actual birthdate, phone number, email, street address, even city private. No one online needs to have that personal information about them.
     5)       Most importantly, remember that there is strength in numbers. Teach them to always use the buddy system and to never meet an online acquaintance alone. Not ever. Just don’t even play with the idea.

Who R U Really? is primarily a work of fiction, but the essence of the plot is what happened when my daughter was nearly abducted. There was a chat box in the online game she played, and that’s where the danger stemmed from.
I'm thankful for the opportunity to partner with STOP. THINK. CONNECT. and as a result, I'll be able to share more cyber safety tips with you here on this blog.
PLUS ... my daughter and I will be speaking about online safety at the Nampa Public Library on Monday, December 15, 2014, from 6-7pm. We'd love to see there.

STOP. THINK. CONNECT. is a trademark of the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Messaging Convention, Inc. 2010. The logos and artwork connected with the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. trademark are copyrighted 2010-2011. All Rights Reserved. The trademark and logo may only be used in accordance with the license provided at


  1. Sounds like a great cause and it's great that you can highlight the dangers with your book. It's definitely something all parents need to be vigilant of, sadly. Good luck to you both for your talk!

  2. STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Such a great initiative!
    Good luck with that talk in December!