Runaway Teen Safe, Lesson in Online Safety - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Runaway Teen Safe, Lesson in Online Safety

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A runaway Illinois teen is believed to be safe and has now been in contact with his family. Jared Hickle, a 16-year-old from Vermont, IL, went missing on Monday after family members say he left his grandparents home in Macomb to meet up with an older man he met on facebook.

They say he traveled to Davenport to meet the man. Friday morning family friends came to the area to put up missing person flyers. However, that afternoon Hickle contacted his mother. Family members say he was with the man, but Hickle said everything was okay. They say it was a very scary five day search and the teen could have put himself in a very dangerous situation.

"You think your invincible, I know I was a teenager, parents were all teenagers at one time, but your not invincible. You can't always protect yourself you can't always control the situation. Don't put yourself in that situation," said family friend April Detmer.

Experts say to keep your child out of that situation, it's extremely important to monitor their time online and know who they are talking to. They say adolescents in general are more vulnerable than younger children online, because they're more likely to be looking for an identity and independence.

 If your child spends extensive time online and gets calls or gifts from someone you don't know, or if he or she turns off the computer when you come in the room, you may have reason to be suspicious.

"If you really want to meet somebody off the Internet, a friend or whatever, do it as a group thing. But make sure there's an adult. Talk to your parents, have an understanding with your parents," said Detmer.

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