“Ashley and Brit,
I’m not sure if you will actually be able to read this, I know you must get TONS of stories and emails every day. I debated even writing since I know there’s so many but, I genuinely believe in letting people know when they’ve made a difference and you both truly have.
My oldest daughter is 13 years old, adopted, visibly indigenous, and lives with mild intellectual disability. Her disability makes it hard for her to learn and understand that things aren’t always what they seem (among many other things); she also, by nature, wants to believe the best of people.
She’s been an avid lover of Roblox for a while and so, like any internet safety aware parent, I gave her MANY talks about internet safety and never talking to strangers online; always met with “yes mama, I know” and a slight eye roll.
In September of last year, I discovered that not only has she been speaking to multiple strangers online, she’d also given her personal cell number to several.
I was HORRIFIED and I was terrified for my baby who already lives with such a significant risk for victimization.
I wish I could tell you I handled it graciously but, I didn’t, I lost it on her and we had a big fight.
The fight happened hours before we had to leave for a camping trip so I had to pack my angry teenager and younger daughter into the car and go for a long drive.
Despite being angry at me, she asked to listen to crime junkie on the drive; something we love doing together and have spent hours listening to. By an absolute fluke, I chose the Alicia Navarro story and we listened. I’ve never seen my daughter’s jaw drop so many times as I did while she listened to you tell Alicia’s story and say ALL the things about internet safety and internet predators I had said countless times. But cool Ash and Brit made more of an impact in 55 minutes than I had had in I don’t even know how many talks. At the end she looked at me speechless and said, “mom…. I didn’t know.”
Now, when we talk about internet safety, she is attentive and open, and reminds me of things you said in the episode. She’s also watchful of her little sister and reminds her often not to talk to strangers.
I don’t know what to say other than thank you. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU. For sharing stories and honoring those whose lives are forever changed by evil. Thank you for something to bond with my daughter over as the teen years make common ground more hard to find. And thank you, for helping me teach a lesson that I couldn’t on my own, one that helps me keep my girl safe while she learns to navigate the world.
All the very best to you both and your families,