How to Help Your Kids Resist Online Predators
Online predators are individuals, who target children through the web, cell phones and even offline with different types of sexual advances. They use different ways to lure kids and teens into meeting them. Parents often underestimate this kind of online danger thinking that it is a rare thing. In fact, one in five American teenagers who go online on the regular basis have got sexual solicitation from strangers. Thus, know everything about online predators is essential for every parent.
Where do online predators seek their targets?
The first thing to know about Internet predators is where they inhabit. Of course, there isn’t a single website where they all hang, but there are common types of places where your kids can face them.
- Chat rooms are the first place to warn your kids about. There are many anonymous chat rooms where you can pretend to be anyone you want and people will believe you. So, if your teenage boy says he has been talking to a cute girl in a chat room, it may be not a teenage girl at all.
- Social Networks. Online predators target kids on social media, too. They can become their friends there and gain your kids’ confidence so that they will agree to meet them after all.
- Video sites. Many kids today post videos of themselves or their friends online so that everyone can see. Predators often get acquainted with kids through their YouTube or similar profiles.
- Emails, instant messages. Sometimes online predators find kids’ contacts and write them through instant messengers or emails.
How do they gain your kids’ trust?
You may think that your child would never talk to, and especially meet some stranger in real life. However, predators have their tricks that make kids trust them. First of all predators sympathize and listen.
They show interest to every problem of a targeted kid and make them feel they really care. Second of all, they study a kid’s background and pretend to have the same hobbies, interests, etc.
Also, they can win a kid over with flattery, attention or even gifts. Girls are the most susceptible to these kinds of things. No matter what tricks predators use, the often result is that kids are actually willing to meet them.
How to protect your kids?
If you want to protect your kids from online predators, the first thing to do is to explain them the dangers of talking with such individuals. You should make it clear that what happens in the virtual world, can also be very dangerous and lead to serious consequences. Tell your kids that they should avoid strangers online the same as they avoid them in the street.
Talking to your kids and have their trust is the most important thing. However, they are still kids and it is in their nature to go behind parents’ back. To make sure your children are safe on the Internet and are not talking to strangers, you can set some online rules and monitor their digital usage.
There can be some rules, which would help you resist online predators and possibly save your children from them:
- Forbid your kids to share important personal information such as address or phone number.
- Ask your younger kids to use a family email account. This will help you check and delete all suspicious emails with the inappropriate content.
- Ask them to friend only the people they know in social networks.
- Check downloads list and explain kids that they should use only well-known resources.
- Forbid or even block all the anonymous chat rooms.
Online predators is a serious enough problem to use some precautious. Don’t let your kids talk to strangers online and make sure they understand why you do it.