Alexis Kane’s murder calls attention to danger of social media for kids

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — While the three suspects in Alexis Kane’s murder are behind bars, many parents wonder how they can protect their children against the same kind of predators.

Jackson County prosecutors say Kane met her accused murderers on Facebook, which is a real-world concern for parents about who their children are interacting with in the cyberworld.

“They’re on there a lot, and I do worry about them coming in contact with somebody who is not honest about who they are,” said parent Christian Craddock

Craddock lives in the same apartment complex that 14-year-old Kane did and has sisters the same age as her. Court documents claim Kane had been Facebooking with a guy going by the name of “Malik” whose real name is Issac Carter, one of three teenagers charged in her murder.

Michael Tabman, a retired FBI special agent, says not only are children more tech savvy than their parents, but children have always found a way around parents’ rules. He says the best way to protect them is to simply talk to them.

“It’s highly unlikely you are not going to let your child on Facebook, just to be realistic,” Tabman said. “Unfortunately, taking a tragic situation like this one and showing then that the threat is real and hit home with them. That is the best resource we have.”

That is what Dr. Hayet Woods did with her students during an assembly at Smith-Hale Middle School, where Kane was a student.

“If there was no Facebook, and I literally pointed to my eighth graders and said, ‘Alexis Kane would be sitting right there, right now,’ and that’s when it hit them,” Dr. Woods said.

Dr. Woods says she encourages her students to be friends on social media and routinely, as she says, “stalks” their social media for suspicious characters.

“You should not be friends with people you do not know. That’s what happened to Alexis and that’s a shame,” Dr. Woods said.

Dr. Woods said she had a conversation with Kane two days before her body was found at The Bay Water Park. Prosecutors say Kane was the victim of the gun violence that she wanted to help stop.

“She was just like, ‘what is it going to take to make the violence stop? Do I need to march up and down Longview Road and say, just put your guns down, it’s not worth it,’” Dr. Woods said.

“Here’s this beautiful weather and you don’t see your kids at the park, you don’t see our kids outside. They are scared,” she continued.

So Dr. Woods is teaming up with the Concord Fortress of Hope to provide an after school community center at the church, which has a gym, classrooms for tutoring and youth pastors to help with homework and social development.

“If Alexis was here she would be like, ‘that’s what I’m talking about. A place we can go and have fun,’ because that’s Alexis, just all about fun and being with her friends and it would be a place everyone can feel safe,” she said.

Dr. Woods says they hope to have the community center up and running as soon as possible, perhaps in the next couple of weeks.

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