The parents of an 11-year-old girl were shocked to find an 18-year-old man asking to meet her after he said he had communicated with her online for a year.
The girl had told the 18-year-old man that she was 17 years old.
The alarming incident unfolded over the weekend in Big Lake, Minnesota.
Police said they were called to the residence after the man showed up looking for the teenager he had been talking to on Snapchat. The girl had not sent him her address, but he was able to discover it through the location services on the app.
The man from Chicago, Illinois, showed up with flowers and gifts for the girl.
Police said no charges were filed since the girl had never told the man her true age.
“This is a prime example of why it is so important to pay attention to your child’s cellular devices,” police said in a Facebook post. “Thankfully everyone is OK, and the heartbroken male is headed back to Chicago on another greyhound bus.”
The Facebook post went viral with more than 6.5k shares and 1,000 comments.
The incident was similar to one with far more tragic ending in 2021 when a 13-year-old girl vanished after telling her friends she was going to meet with a man she had been talking to online. The man turned out to be 22 years old, and police later rescued the girl from his hotel.
Experts say that predators have utilized online social media platforms in order to easily reach victims in an increasingly connected world. Parents are warned to keep children off of social media as much as possible and to monitor who they are talking to and what they are saying online.
Here’s more about the dangers of social media:
VIDEO: Experts outline most common ways predators find kids on social media