During the course of the Smash or Pass investigation, we discovered an adult man who was a member of the group with a history of sexual accusations from children, as chronicled in an Amarillo newspaper.
So we contacted the Amarillo Police Department to see how your children can protect themselves. The most important thing, police said, is that parents need to be aware. Your child may not think it's a big deal now to post the information, but once information is out on the internet anyone, from anywhere, can search it.
APD said this site has its dangers. Predators can take the information that you post and use it to "friend" you online. "If you have a friend request from somebody; there's people out there who will accept in a heartbeat because it's kinda a status thing, look how many friends I have, but who knows who some of those friends really are. If you don't know them, don't accept them. If they keep sending friend requests do some homework, do some figuring out. Who is this person, why are they wanting to be my friend?" said Corporal Jerry Neufeld, from the Amarillo Police Department.
He continued saying don't post information you don't want anyone else to see; that does not only include pictures, but also information like where you live. Neufeld said some of it is common sense to adults, but for children and teenagers, they sometimes don't understand the big picture. So parents should talk to their children about Facebook and check regularly on what they're doing online.
APD recommends if you find out a person has a history that you feel is inappropriate, de-friend them. Neufeld continued, saying he's seen predators use the internet to become close with teenagers. They pretend to be the same age, then convince them to meet. He said these things can happen in Amarillo and not just cities like Los Angeles.
We also contacted that man who was a member of the group. In a Facebook message, he had this to say: "I had posted on their website because I saw the name Caprock on the site and didn't really know what they where referring to. I have removed the post and reported the site. Thanks for bringing this to my attention and I will be more vigilant in the people I accept as friends."
Due to our investigation, we found out late this afternoon that moderators of the groups were threatening to delete the smash or pass pages altogether. The group for Amarillo High has now been deleted.
However, moderators of some other groups posted new rules instead, telling users all pictures must now be "self-submitted."