When I was 13 or 14, I convinced my mom to let me take modeling classes at Barbizon Modeling School. I was nearly finished with my program when the worst thing ever happened to me: she grounded me for 6 months and I had to drop the program. Looking back on it, it was probably the best thing because I believe she prevented something tragic from happening to me.

Around the same time that I enrolled in the program I was obsessed with AOL chat rooms, (this happened in the late 90s) and I was also very boy crazy. A few months later I met someone in a chat room, and I told him I was going to be a model he told me he wanted to meet, and my teenage brain went crazy! I told this person I had never met when I took the classes and where they took place. Thank God my mother found out and grounded me to the house and took my room phone away from me for 6 months, she also unenrolled me from the program losing a lot of money in the process. I was devastated! I couldn’t see my friends except at school, my dream of becoming a model was crushed, and I had to talk on the phone in the kitchen!

What if she didn’t find out? What if that man had shown up and my dumb ass left with him? What if instead of my life being this way, I could have been a news story like so many kids are, if they make the news. My biggest fear as a mother is that I would kids that were so starved for affection and desperate for love that they would get suckered into getting taken. Or just snatched up from the playground or somewhere.

I definitely have raised smarter children with very clear heads. I have told them since they were young how to be safe in public and not to answer personal questions from strangers. They have watched SVU with me and I would tell them that these stories are based on truth. I felt that if I sheltered them, they would end up being naïve to the world and running away with anybody. I’ve talked to them about internet and phone safety, “Don’t take pictures of yourself and send them to people and don’t tell people your address.” To this they would say, “We aren’t stupid, Mom!” and I do believe them.

I did a discussion for school about being inspired by seeing a video of Ashton Kutcher speaking at a senate hearing about an organization him and Demi Moore funded called, THORN. According to their website, on their 2020 Impact Report, “Each day, on average, we: Identified 8 children, identified 215 files of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) for removal from the internet, and connected with over 155,000 youth about risk, prevention, and safety.” Maybe my mom should start working for them.

I urge you to watch this video and see how much good this wonderful organization is doing.

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