One online incident was relatively harmless. The other was not. Both stories teach important lessons for keeping kids safe in cyberspace.
College football star Manti Te’o likely will suffer no more than personal embarrassment after the girlfriend he supposedly met online did not really exist. The same cannot be said for the teenagers who went online and met Richard L. Finkbiner.
Finkbiner has agreed to plead guilty to federal charges of sexual exploitation of minors by inducing and coercing them into sexually explicit activity online. Federal authorities say Finkbiner would visit anonymous video chat websites where he deceived teenagers into conducting sexually inappropriate behaviors that he secretly recorded. Finkbiner then allegedly threatened to post those images digitally unless the teens allowed him to record behaviors even more explicit.