Internet predation of children is a real and terrifying consequence of mass instant communication. Online Predators are basically, male and female individuals, looking to get your child alone and away from the safe environment you have created for them.
What is an online predator? The standard online predators definition is; it is any person, male or female, using the Internet for the express purpose of targeting a minor to perform nonconsensual sex acts. They work through anonymity and manipulation. They use the very things that make you child a child, against them. They use emotional vulnerability and the child’s needs to have their emotional point of view validated.
Online predators use the searchable profiles of today’s social media and chat sites to pick and stalk their targets. Children who are not aware that even the most innocent looking photo of a child in their sports jersey can help a stalker target them. Profiles give the predator ammunition and information in his search for a suitable target.
If you are worried about your child coming into contact or being groomed by a predator, there are some warning signs to look for. First and foremost, are gifts coming in the mail? That may be the big and only sign you notice. Is your child getting packages from people you don’t know? If they are, find out who it is. That most likely breaks the chain right there. Internet predators rely on the invisibility the Internet provides them, take that away from them and they lose a lot of power.
Online Predators Red Flag: Is your child switching screens quickly when you come into the room? It is no secret that kids want their privacy from their parents. It is no secret that with the Internet kids are confronting more and more adult situation, younger and younger. It is a good bet that by the age of fifteen your child has seen some pornography. It is an unfortunate fact of today’s global culture. Yet if your son or daughter is excessively hiding their online activities from you then it should be seen as a warning sign of interacting with Online Predators.
Online Predators Red Flag: Is your son or daughter or daughter using alternate chat names or email accounts you don’t know about? Find out, and ask the questions. It might be they are hiding inappropriate content, not the worst thing in the world. But they could be hiding these things at the behest of their new online chat buddy who is dying to meet them in person, welcome to the world of Online Predators.
Online Predators Red Flag: Is your child with drawing from normal activities? Is he or she giving up activities to spend an increasing amount of time online? This could also be a sign of inappropriate contact with one or more online predators.
Online Predators Red Flag: Is your child spending more and more time online, especially at night? This might be another warning sign. Online predators can strike at any time, but most are adults that have jobs during the day. They spend their nights and weekends using pornography and other manipulations to lure in children.
Online Predators Red Flag: Is your child making or receiving an inordinate amount of phone calls? Is he or she receiving phone calls from strange men? Has your child a new cellphone that you are unsure where they obtained it from? All these things should be big red flags. The online predator is always looking to push to the next stage. First it is chatting online, then it is phone calls, then it is meeting.
Kids are smart and might not want to give out their phone number, this is a good thing. But would a kid think twice if they are given a phone number to call? Usually not. Some online predators are so clever; they have attained toll free numbers. These numbers are hard to trace and don’t show up on your bill. Either way, with calling id features, if your child calls, now online predators a whole new host of information to use, including phone number, names and addresses sometimes.
When it comes to online predators statistics, in 82 percent of all sex crimes where as a minor is the victim, the predator used a social media site or chat profile to gain information on the victim. The information gathered was on their likes and dislikes, in order to befriend and groom the victim. Other information used against the child was addresses from pictures, sports information. All of it was used to create a false sense of friendship and companionship in the victim. In 65 percent of these cases information was gathered that lead directly to the Child’s home or school. It is Online Predators 101.
An even scarier statistic may be that only 1 in three children will report the sexual crime to an adult they trust. That means that a child may just live with the truth of being molested by Online Predators rather then tell anyone. Add to this the fact that 8 million children go missing a year, and the world starts to look like a scary place with the presence of Online Predators.
There are more than 700,000 registered sexual offenders in the United States, and many are lost to the imperfect system that can’t track them. The scariest statistic may be that 1 in 6 boys and 1 in 4 girls will be sexually abused before adulthood. It is so common that a quarter of all young women will suffer this unfortunate victimization.
What is the best way to protect your children? Communication is the key. Talk to them about the dangers of the Internet. Inform them of the dangers if sex predators, and teach them to keep you informed in what they are doing. No one likes the idea of spying on their children. But you have to in order to keep them safe.
Sometimes you have to be the villain in order to protect the children under your roof. Monitor their electronic communications, and chat logs. Regularly ask them what is on their Facebook and who they are talking too. Get a solid caller identification device to keep track of all the people your child is talking to. It really is the only sure way to weed out a predator.
It is a fact that children who are more tech savvy then their parents are prime targets. The predator can use the child’s knowledge against their parents in hiding. Spending time online with your children is another good move. In order to verse yourself in the tech your child is using, do it with them.
About 80 percent of online predators were eventually candid to their victims about their intentions. Only 5 percent of online predators even conceal the fact that they are adults talking inappropriately with children. 13 percent of 2nd-3rd grade kids say that they have talked to people they do not know, 11 percent say they have been asked to describe private things about their body and 10 percent have been exposed to private things about someone else’s body.
The best thing you can do is be more versed in online technology than your children. If you know the tricks that online predators use you can watch for them and close off the loop holes. In this case all around knowledge is power, knowledge of what your child is up to, and knowledge of what the dangers are out there.
In addition there are many parental control options available. Through your Internet service provider you can access parental controls, and restrict what your child can see or do. In addition you can find many Internet programs or applications out there to help you monitor these things.
Keep in mind that a lot of issues can pop up around this topic. For instance, your child may be a willing participant in an online predation instance. They may be aware of sexual inferences or oblivious to them, but that in no way makes them less of a victim. Understand that there is a reason they are considered minors and that they just don’t know any better. That’s why education and communication are so important.
Act as fast as possible if you suspect your child to be conversing with an online predator. Act as fast as possible if you think your child has gone missing. After your call to the local police officer, please call or contact the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST.
Everyone knows this is a sensitive and distasteful subject. Everyone also knows that talking about issues of sex and victimization with your children is a difficult and terrifying prospect for parents. Break that barrier and break the circle. Talk to your kids and they will provide a much more difficult prey for Online Predators and deviants.
Yes online predators are everywhere. Online Predators come in all shapes and sizes and tricks. They have devised everlasting changing ways of luring victims to them and children will never be 100% aware of the dangers of online predators.
Now is the time for you to learn about the methods of online predators then prepare yourself for a serious talk with your children about those evil online predators out there. Remember to tell them that if they are contacted by one or more Online Predators, they are not at fault and that they always should come to you as a parent if they suspect the presence of online predators around their social network pages.