Father Uses Son's Death For Internet Safety Campaign - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

10/4/2007-East Texas

Father Uses Son's Death For Internet Safety Campaign

Social networking sights like MySpace and Facebook have kids putting personal information on the web. Information, that can end up creating dangerous situations.  An East Texas man is making that point with story of his son's death.

"I lost my son as a direct result of his involvement in online issues," said Woody Edminston of Whitehouse. He says he lost his 16 year old son Ricky to the Internet, months before the teenager took his own life.

"He picked up a new name. He was married on Myspace to a 14 year old girl," said Woody, "When that little girl decided to break up with him he couldn't handle it. He was home, he was alone."

Ricky broke into his father's gun safe and shot himself.

"I'll never know if it was an accident or if it was his true intent to harm himself," said Woody "I don't want another parent to experience what I had to experience."

Woody says parents have a responsibility. A role to watch out for their children, children still forming their identity. 

"To form that identity based on an imaginary world it is just not healthy," said Woody, "Those children are out there by themselves. Unless their parents are there to help them. Unless their parents are doing something in the home."

That call to action is why Woody joined a community group to try and make a difference.

"Internet is a dangerous place but if parents are involved we can make a difference in preventing it," said Tyler Police Chief Gary Swindle.

Tyler PD, TISD, The Discovery Science Place, the PTA group, and SuddenLink joined forces to kick off their raise campaign. Part of the campaign includes PSA's that will air across the nation.

Woody believes the effort will save lives.

"The parents need to be as informed as the children are. And believe me these kids spend all day learning how to use it," says Woody.

Danielle Capper, Reporting  dcapper@kltv.com


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