pact commitment 2
The bad guy’s not just at the bus stop anymore. He has entrance right into your kid’s bedroom and hand-held cellphone device. Sexual predators can target your children even when your child is in the room down the hall. And sexual predators aren’t the only problem. Cyber-bullying and exposures to sexually inappropriate content are additional concerns.
In 2013, a twelve-year-old girl was lured away from her home by a 21 year-old-man. Once they met, he took her to a motel and took advantage of her. How did this little girl meet this terrible stranger?
What YOU don't know CAN hurt them.
Not everything online is evil, nor does danger lurk behind every new app that comes to market. But keeping up with your teens’ and preteens’ online activities is much like trying to nail jelly to the barn door — frustrating, futile and something bound to make you feel inept.
Keep in mind that no app poses a danger in and of itself, but many do provide kids with an opportunity to make bad choices.
Start the conversation!
Use these discussion starters to talk about using social media safely with every age group.
- What’s your favorite website? What do you like to do there?
- Have you ever seen something online you didn’t want to see?
- Do you ever talk to people you don’t know online? What do you talk about?
Ask tweens and teens:
- Can you show me which sites and apps you’re using?
- Would you feel comfortable if I checked your accounts?
- What kinds of things do you post?
- How do you decide who to add as a friend?
- How much personal information do you share online?
What can I do?
Use these tips to help kids and teens use social media more safely.
- Learn about popular social media apps for children and teens. Find out which ones your children are using, but remember that these apps gain and lose popularity quickly.
- Ask them to check their “friends” lists to see who has access to their accounts. Encourage them to remove anyone they don’t know or trust. Children should also block or “unfriend” anyone bothering them.
- Teach them to use privacy settings. While they don’t guarantee complete privacy, they can help children control who sees what they share.
- Help children remove any personal or inappropriate images from social media and other accounts.
- Encourage them to report inappropriate posts to the website or app. Most have a system in place to handle these complaints.
- Tell children to report criminal behavior to the police. If anyone sends them an inappropriate sexual request, they should report it to the CyberTipline®.
tactics of child predators
- Targeting their Victim – Finding the vulnerability
- Deception – pretending to be someone they are not
- Grooming – methodically building trust to gain increase access
- Filling a Need – look for ways to “be there” when parents can’t
- Isolation – Seek to spend alone time (physically/virtually)
- Making the Relationship Sexual – preying on a child’s curiosity
- Maintaining Control – verbal or physical threats
Signs that a child is being groomed for future trafficking
- Has new, older friends
- Talks about friends who seem too good to be true
- Spends an increasing amount of time online or on their phone
- Suddenly changes their appearance/grooming habits/how they dress
- Suddenly has items they wouldn’t be able to afford, like a cell phone, new clothes, etc.
- Has become withdrawn from the family and more secretive