Fourteen-year-old Annie Cameron lives in suburban Chicago. When she meets Charlie in an online chat room, she establishes an instant connection with him. Over time, as the two bond by sending phone text messages and through instant messaging, he bumps his age up to 18, 20, then 25.
The private investigation proves fruitless, as it is discovered Charlie encrypts his IP address so his location shows up as the Czech Republic.
His relationship with his daughter and his wife, Lynn, starts to become alienating, and he questions his work at an advertising firm, which uses provocative advertisements involving teenagers.
Annie still believes Charlie loves her, and is angry at Brittany and her parents.
At school, Brittany, Annie's best friend, deduces Annie had sex, as she had seen her and Charlie that day at the mall.
Brittany is concerned about this and notifies the school administration.