Would you let your child walk alone at night? Would you invite
strangers into your home and let them play with your child alone?
If your child has access to a smart phone, tablet or computer –
that is precisely what is happening.
But do you realize that 1 out of 7 children will receive unwanted
sexual solicitations on the Internet by online predators.
1 out of 25 children will be enticed to meet online predators in person.
You might tell yourself – My child is…too young, knows better, doesn’t
talk to people they don’t know, isn’t on chat sites, is a boy
Does your child play Minecraft or Fortnite on the computer? Is your child on Xbox Live? Do they have an Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat account?
The truth is – any child who has access to technology is a potential target. Any child of any age.
So, what should you do?
The reality is our world is interconnected with technology. And honestly, that is not all bad. But, just like we don’t drive our kids around without insisting they wear seat belts – we shouldn’t let them navigate the Internet without some safety education.
You can ban your child from online gaming and social media. But they will still gain access elsewhere.
Education is key. No matter what safety nets you think you have in plac
So let us break it down. These criminals are loving the world wide window into your child’s life. No longer are the days where they have to tediously develop a relationship with you and your child to groom your child to abuse (although that still happens). Now, they can befriend your child in the comfort of their own living room – and you can sit oblivious in yours.
Approaches that Predators use
They learn everything they can about your child from social media. Kids naively post personal and identifying information.
They develop an online persona that matches your child’s interests and age. Online Predators can have fake pictures and video that convince your child that they are a kid too. For some girls – the lure of an older more experienced male is used.
They join online gaming (or Xbox Live), chat sites and popular apps that kids use.
They “friend” your child’s friends to earn instant credibility. Kids tend to trust someone who shares mutual acquaintances.
They then “friend” your child under the guise that they have friends in common.
They start to develop a close bond online.
They start talking to your child about their real life.
They let them vent about you and their friends. They make the child feel like no one else understands them like they do.
They share innocent pictures back and forth.
They send more risky, sexualized pictures and encourage your child to do the same.
Online predators then threaten the child with sextortion saying things like, “I will show your parents and friends the pictures you sent me if you don’t send me another picture.
Sometime they will encourage the child to do sexually explicit behavior in front of a webcam. It is often recorded and used for further sextortion.
Some online predators then convince the child to meet in person
Way to keep your child safe
Talk to your child about the above. Let them know not to share identifying information online. For extra help – contact us for support and guidance.
Teach them that online predators can use fake pictures and video to make people believe they are kids. They will often take on the physical identity of other victims – using their pictures and video.
Let them know that just because someone is friends with one of their friends online – it doesn’t mean that their friends know them in real life.
Make sure all their social media profiles are marked private and security settings are on.
Be a friend on all your child’s social media.
Don’t be naïve – kids make secret accounts, so if you are not seeing many postings on the account you are following – dig deeper. If you want extra security – read this article How to Keep Your Kids Safe Online with mSpy.
Do not allow passwords on any electronics.
Have a family charging station in the kitchen and require all electronics get “checked in” for the night.
Further safety checks
The days of privacy are over unfortunately. Check your child’s phone once in a while. Look for mysterious apps. There are many apps out there that are designed for private communication. Make sure to scroll through all screens – as some kids hide these apps on other screens or in an app folder.
Skim through texts – who are they talking to? Are you seeing a bunch of one way conversations. If so, chances are your child is deleting some of the conversation.
Contact us today for further support or information.