The thought of someone using online gaming, social media or other Internet platforms to harm your keiki may be hard to stomach, but it’s an unfortunate reality of today’s modern world.
A recent study published in the “Journal of Adolescent Health” revealed that one in five youths has seen unwanted sexual material online, and one in nine has received unwanted requests for sexual material from peers or adults.
Given the risks associated with being online, it is important for families to know how to protect their children when they go online and understand what to do if their kids find themselves in a potentially dangerous situation.
What child predator behavior looks like
Most online predators have one or more of the following goals:
In order to achieve these goals, they will not only lie to children about their age but also register as young people when signing up for online accounts.
Where online predatory behavior takes place
To avoid being caught, predators often engage with their victims in online chat rooms, on social media, via chat apps like “Discord,” or through the chat feature of multiplayer video games like “Fortnite,” “Minecraft,” and “World of Warcraft.”
Signs that an online “friend” should not be trusted
Explain to your child that if an online friend does any of the following, that they should inform you right away.
Talking to your child about dealing with online predators
Chatting with your child about this subject can be a challenge. Here is a script recommended by Common Sense Media on how to kick off the conversation.
Reporting an online predator
If you suspect that your child is being contacted by an online predator, call your local police, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at (800) 843-5678 or visit the center’s CyberTipline.
The Facts About Online Predators Every Parent Should Know
Common Sense Media
Internet Safety 101’s Empowering Parents Program
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