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Justin kept his webcam activities a secret from his parents, but his mother, Karen, says she noticed a change in his personality. She remembers he was moody and spent his time at home alone in his bedroom. Karen thought her son was having trouble making the transition to high school. She didn't suspect Justin was at risk on the Internet because she had purchased child protection software for his computer—a measure Justin proved ineffective. "For most teens in this day and age, computers are what they know," he says. "[The software] is actually kind of a joke."
If anybody should have known what was going on in Justin's life, Karen says it was her—she works with children who have been molested. "I've studied for years and I know the signs," she says. "That's why it's so mind boggling that this happened to Justin right here in my own home."