The Truth About Online Predators and What Parents Should Know
Especially for children, who are curious and want to discover the world of the Internet, the online space can quickly become a nightmare.
It is mainly because the Internet has quickly become a place where online child predators lurk day and night.
This is the reason why we wanted to come up with a quick guide for the modern-day parents that are looking to understand this challenge and overcome it with flying colors.
Stay with us till the very end to get solutions on how to tackle the problem of online predators in 2020. Let’s get started!
Online Predators Statistics You Should Know
Before getting into the content, let’s first discuss some numbers to know how problematic the situation really is.
One in every five teenagers in the U.S. has confirmed receiving unwanted sexual solicitation on the Internet. These were either to engage in sexual activities or put out personal sexual information.
Of the total number of victims of online predators, 30% have been boys. The ages of these online predators are known to be between 18 and 55 and they target children mostly of the age group 11 to 15.
Almost 16 percent of the teens accessing the Internet have considered meeting people they have talked to online. And the percentage of the teens who have actually met someone they knew online stands at 8%.
There are children that have considered sharing their personal information with unknown people online in exchange of something they wanted (products or services). We are talking about 75% of them.
Almost 33% of the teens are Facebook friends with people they don’t even know!
The most important of the statistics here is that in 100% of the cases, the children have willingly made the choice of meeting these unknown online people who might turn out to be active online predators!
What does Online Predator Behavior Look Like?
It is important to distinguish between an online predator and a common online user.
How can you do that? Well, most online predators have the following goals.
- Get children to share explicit pictures of themselves.
- Meet the children in person to engage in sexual activity.
- Engage children in a sexual conversation or sometimes role-play.
- Get financial benefit.
The crucial thing to note here is that these online predators register to the social networking sites as younger people. From there, they quickly go on to add more and more children as ‘friends’ and start conversing with them.
The grooming, however, happens in several stages.
The predator first has to earn the child’s trust. They do that through compliments, liking and commenting on their posts. This stage can take anywhere between hours and months.
Next, the predator would like to know how involved the parents are. If there’s less attention given to the child, it’s time for the predators to escalate.
The chat starts to get sexual as the predator tries to normalize sexual behavior. They might send the child an explicit picture and might tell the child that it’s normal.
The child, by this time, is totally engaged with the predator and most probably falls for the trap they knit to gain sexual or financial gain.
Ways to Protect Your Child From Online Predators
Protecting your child from online predators is an active challenge as the parents always have to be vigilant of their child’s behavior because the access to the Internet is so readily available.
Here’s what you can do to protect your child from online predators.
1. Talk About Online Predators
Tell them how real the threat is. The only way you can do that is by having a friendly communication that reflects care. These online predators often target children who are lonely and have low-self esteem. Thus, the relationship you have with your children is a huge factor here.
2. Openly Discuss Risky Relationships
You must make sure your children know how risky online relationships can become. They should know the consequences of taking certain actions on the Internet. At the same time, you don’t want to act like a dictator. You should express your respect for their independence and right to information. Be a friend they would like to emulate. Share stories of online frauds they will remember.
3. Talk About Dangers of Chat Rooms
Predators make connections with children in chat rooms. The conversation is often private. Your children should know how to tackle such situations and how to get out of unwanted online relationships.
4. Discuss Offline Safety Rules As Well
Create some ground rules for your children that have access to the Internet. Tell them never to agree to an in-person meeting with someone they know only from the Internet. Tell them not to share any kind of personal information with people they don’t know. Most importantly, tell them why these ground rules are being set.
5. Consider Surveillance Software
With the help of different software, you can monitor the activities of your children on the Internet. This is important because you don’t want an online predator to spy on your children. Although these software are not fool-proof, you must always have them in the line of fire. Still, the best way to deal with the problem of online predators is to have good communication.
There you have it. One of the most important things parents need to ensure is active communication between them and the children. The problem can only be solved if you acknowledge it in the first place. We hope this piece of content brought great value to you. Let us know what challenges have you been facing to overcome the problem of online predators. We’d love to hear from you.
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