Avoiding Online Predators

In the world of the World Wide Web, there are friendly people, as well as very dangerous people that can target children. In order for this to prevent from happening, talk about the dangers that exist online. Also, monitor their computer use to see where the child is browsing on the internet and make sure they aren’t going onto any unsafe websites. Linking on with the things explained previously, it is important to tell an adult if they feel threatened or uncomfortable while online.

Another big thing to worry about is to not let your child give out any personal information. These predators know how to get around the computer, and they can easily search someone’s personal information. Also, don’t let children meet people from the internet, and start talking on the phone with people. It’s unreliable and very dangerous.

Sharing Personal Information

Every detail you share online about your life and the extended group of people you interact with is stored somewhere. Such as your name, address, phone numbers, social security, birthday, and etc. Also, even if not personal, you have to be careful about the pictures you put on the web. Besides your own information, don’t put other people’s personal information on the internet, because that can be dangerous and bad as well. Here’s another list of what you can do:

Online Status Messages

Places like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Formspring are places you can put any kind of online status. But, all of these messages are archived, no matter if you delete them or not, so online predators can still access it. Make sure none of the messages contain any personal information or anything that you don’t want to be seen, or any inappropriate stuff.

Recognizing Online Predators

Grooming is how online predators manipulate children into meeting in real life with their sole goal of assaulting them. Predators will spend weeks, months, and/or possibly years "grooming" their victims before asking them to meet in real life.

Their goal is to make their potential victims feel loved and comfortable, by providing affection, attention, kindness and/or sending gifts. They will be up-to-date on popular music and hobbies to keep your child's interest. Once they have gained their potential victim's trust, they will slowly start including sexual content to their conversations. Online predators will try to contact their potential victims to set up meetings.

If your kids remembered everything you taught them, they will not give out their phone number. But this will not stop online predators from giving your child their number or have him or her call them collect (which will allow them to get the number with caller id). To gain their potential victim's trust, an online predator will begin to drive a wedge between kids and their friends and family. If your child begins to skip classes or begins to blow off their friends, it could mean they are sneaking off to meet their online "friend" Be especially weary if they begin to quickly turn off the monitor when you walk into the room.

Parental Help

• Talk to Your Kids Talk to them about online predators and the dangers of the internet.
• Have the Computer in a Common Area
Move the computer from your children's bedroom to the family room or an area where you have access to monitor their internet usage.
• Monitor the Amount of Time They Spend Online
Have a set time limit your kids can use the computer. If they begin spending more time online (especially at night) it can mean that there is a problem. If your kids begin to complain, don't let down because it is your job to protect them from online predators.
• Continue Educating Yourself
Do research and continue reading about the potential dangers that are out there.