SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Colleen Weaver, a 16-year-old from Raynham, Massachusetts, has been missing since October 18th. Her mother says authorities are looking into whether someone she met online might be related to her disappearance.

Authorities are saying that Colleen may be in danger and are considering that she may have been coaxed out of her home by someone she met on the internet. Police say sometime between 1:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. on October 18th, Colleen left home. She has has not been heard from since.

According to the to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, reports of online enticement have almost doubled in recent years. Nearly 98 percent of online offenders were seemingly unknown to a child, 78 percent of reported victims were female and 13 percent were male. 22News spoke to Springfield teens who acknowledge the internet can be a dangerous place.

“I definitely think it can be used dangerously and I’m not on a lot of social media. When I am, I only follow the people I know closely, and think before I post or send anything,” said Elizabeth Green from Springfield.

The most common tactics to used to entice children online include:

  • Engaging in a sexual conversation
  • Asking for explicit images
  • Offering incentives, like gift cards
  • Developing a rapport through liking posts
  • Pretending to be younger

Parents say that maintaining a positive relationship with your teen can help keep them safe. Arden Green of Springfield told 22News, “For me, I think the most important thing is to keep the lines of communication open. My daughter and I talk a lot throughout the day about everything.”

Parents can also be proactive by checking your child’s social media accounts and keeping electronic devices in common areas of your homes.

If you have seen Colleen Weaver or have any information on her whereabouts call the Raynham Police Department at 508-824-2717