Parents should be proactive in protecting their children from online predators. Here are some to things to do now.
The internet is a very powerful tool. Itgivesus instant access to enormous amounts of valuable information,amazingentertainment,and keeps usconnectedwith friends and family. However, asusefuland enjoyableas it is,the internetisa very dangerous place for children.Parentsmustbe aware oftheonlinethreatsto childrenandplay an importantrole inteachingthemhow tosafelymaneuverthrough cyberspace.Some of those online dangers that parents may not think about include sextortion and child predators. Not something you think your child would ever encounter, right? Wrong.According to the following statistics, it is more common than most parents know:
- One in 33 youth received an aggressive sexual solicitation in the past year. This means a predator asked a young person to meet somewhere, called a young person on the phone, and/or sent the young person correspondence, money, or gifts through the U.S. Postal Service.
- Your Internet Safety Survey
- 75% of children are willing to share personal information online about themselves and their family in exchange for goods and services.
- 25% of children have been exposed to unwanted pornographic material online.
- Crimes Against Children Research Center
- Only approximately 25% of children who encountered a sexual approach or solicitation told a parent or adult.
- Crimes Against Children Research CenterHere aresome thingsparentscan do right nowto keepyourchild safe from online predators:
- Talk with your child about online predators and the dangers of chatting with strangers online.
- Tell them to never share their personal information or revealing images online. Remind children that everything shared online LIVES online. It could eventually reach a predator who could use that image or information to blackmail them into doing something even worse.
- Enable privacy settings on all electronic devices.
- Limit your child’s time online.
- Know your child’s online activities and friends. Have access to their passwords.
- Regularly check your child’s online activities, social apps, interactive games, and messaging apps.
Inaddition, parentsshouldinstalltheOffenderWatch Safe Virtual Neighborhoodappon your phone and your child’s phone.By downloading the app and signing up with Safe Virtual Neighborhood, parents are alerted if a registered sex offender engages their children through Snapchat, texts, phone calls or emails. Parents are also alerted if their childlingersnear a sex offender’s home for anextendedtime.By takingtheseeasy and important steps, parents canhelppreventthe unthinkable.