Missing girl case brings up disturbing online issues - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Missing girl case brings up disturbing online issues

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CARLSBAD (CBS 8) - There's a CrimeFighters alert for parents of children using gaming devices like the Nintendo DS. Many parents don't know the devices can also access the internet.

One Carlsbad couple is frantically searching for their missing daughter after police say she met a middle-aged man online using her gaming console.

Kaitlin and Danny Smith are so protective of their teenage daughter Christine. They don't even let her have a cell phone. Still, they thought it was safe to buy her a device to play video games.

"We got her a Nintendo DS for Christmas and we didn't realize that it had internet access on it, and that's how she was bale to get online without us knowing," Kaitlin Smith said.

It's true, many gaming and music devices like the Nintendo DS and the Apple iTouch now come with internet browsers to go online via a wifi connection. There's no cell phone service required.

"She's always been warned that people online are not what they appear to be. She's only 17 years old,"

Police say Christine Jelinek may have used the wifi connection inside a Subway sandwich shop in San Marcos last week to chat with a stranger. A white male in his late 40s who showed up at the mall and sat down at a table with the girl inside Miriah's Westwind Restaurant.

"He sat here for 45 minutes or so, talking to the young lady," owner Michael Syodin said.

An employee of a nearby business saw Christine with the man and called her parents. By that time, the man had left, and Christine told her parents she had not met the man.

"The father and mother brought her in here and asked if she had been here, because she had told her parents she hadn't, and I did identify her, and said that it was her and she had been here.," Syodin said.

Neighbors in the Carlsbad apartment complex where the family lives say Christine was put on restriction. But last Wednesday, she snuck out in the middle of the night and hasn't been seen since.

News 8 also discovered an open wifi connection at the complex where Christine lives, so she could have been chatting online with the man from her own home.

To prevent your child from going online using a Nintendo DS, you need to go into the settings menu and set up parental controls. Once there, you can set it to require a password before the device will access the internet.

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