Discover How You Can Prevent Your Child From Becoming A Predator’s Target By Following These Kids Rules For Online Safety.
Children are being approached online by people they don’t know at an alarming rate. The majority of them are under the age of 15. Every year the percentage of child victims from this epidemic continues to grow. Is your child in danger of becoming a statistic?
Do You Know What Your Kids Are Doing Online?
Any parent with a child knows that the thought of their child getting mixed up with an online predator is nothing but trouble and heartache. Millions of children log onto the internet every day. It used to be that television dominated most of their time, not anymore. Television is just a thing of the past and everything they need to be entertained is now found online.
Just like adults, children use the internet to surf and communicate with their friends. However, every day they access the internet is another day where they can get into something they’re not supposed to. Some children have adult supervision the entire time they’re online; but what about the ones that don’t? Parents that have full-time jobs or are constantly on the go don’t have that luxury. They for the most part, have to trust their instincts and hope their child does the right thing.
On the other side of the computer, there are strangers ready to pounce on their next victim. Your child is your responsibility, so you owe it to them and yourself to make sure the online environment around them is safe. Predators will do everything possible to remove that trust away from you and steer it towards them. Without monitoring, you won’t know if your child has put themselves in harm’s way or not until it’s too late.
Ways Predators Lure Your Kids
Free Downloads – Children will download anything that’s free. They know that they won’t have to bother you about buying it for them. However, some of these items shouldn’t be downloaded because of potential threats to your computer. If your child should happen to download any of the “forbidden freebies”, your computer is subject to being infected with spyware and malware. The perpetrator now has the ability to not only collect and steal your information but also monitor your kids every move online including turning on microphones and cameras.
These predators come in all forms. There is no one standard for them. Your child may be thinking they’re talking with someone their age. Come to find out, it’s a stranger looking for their next child victim. Most of the time these weirdoes are not in their right frame of mind. It doesn’t matter what kind of background your child is from.
Predators preying on a child online is an equal opportunity setup. Your child could come from one of several classes: wealthy, middle class or poor. There is no prejudice when it comes to young children. No matter what type of upbringing your child has, they are still at risk of being lured into this online trap.
Social Media – Social networking is hot, and if your child is looking to make friends online, don’t be surprised if they become another victim. As a parent, you must educate yourself on the dangers that come with your child getting involves with social networking sites.
A FEW THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
1) Different ways your child could be accessing these sites other than the home computer
2) Why they should be careful about posting their personal information online (avoid if possible)
3) Why you should follow their every move on social networking sites
4) Where in your house you should not install a computer and why
5) Why it’s not a good idea for your child to upload photographs of themselves on the internet for strangers to see
Warning Signs – How do you know if your child is in danger of encountering a perpetrator?
Here are some tell-tale signs you should spot:
- If your child starts to detach from the rest of the family. They don’t eat at the dinner table or accompany the family on outings. They become detached from school and other activities they used to enjoy.
- The child doesn’t talk to their family as much as they used to. When a sex offender or perpetrator tries to lure them away, they’ll plant false images in the child’s mind. The child, in turn, creates a separation between themselves and their families.
- Your child is suddenly getting gifts from someone you’ve never met or heard of. This is another way the offender tries to separate the child from their family. The offender will send things that the child likes in order to get their attention.
- The offender will make it seem like they are the only ones who are looking out for their best interests. Some offenders will go as far as sending them a plane ticket to meet them.
- If you happen to come in the room and your child abruptly changes to another website or screen, there’s a chance they may be looking at something that they’re not supposed to look at. If they’re looking at sexually charged content, they do not want you to see it. They don’t want to suffer the consequences.
- In order to divert attention from their online account, your child will use someone else’s account to access sexually charged content or connect with the sex offender. They’ll either go to the library or a friend’s place to do this.
- Phone calls for your child will increase and they won’t be from their friends, either. It will be from people that parents have never heard of or met. They can even be long-distance phone numbers that parents don’t know about.
- Some perpetrators talk with the children to get them sexually aroused. This way, they can get them in the mood to set up a date for a real sexual encounter.
- If parents find that their child spends a lot of time on the internet, this may be a problem. It could definitely surface as a problem if the child is online during the late evening hours when they should be sleeping.
It’s our job as parents to monitor them. If you notice your kids spending their whole weekends online and especially a lot of time in the chat rooms, you should be concerned. Online predators will often have your child call them back or they’ll get the child’s phone number from the child themselves. Some perpetrators have even gone so far as to get a toll-free number so the parents would think that it might be a company calling. This way, they would be able to throw the parent off as to who is actually calling.
If they are home alone after school, this is a perfect set up for the perpetrator. This is not good because there is no guidance or control during this time. While the parents are working, the child has their way and free reign of the computer. If they’re not focused on what they’re supposed to be doing, they can easily get sidetracked with people trying to lure them for sexual encounters or they could get hooked on pornography at a young age.
In order to get their young victims to open up, sex offenders may send the child pornographic images. They try to instill in the child that those sexual relations between children and adults are natural. Parents need to be aware of what is on their kids’ computers. A child may also copy the sexually explicit pictures onto a memory stick to hide from parents.
If you’re a parent who has a suspicion that your child may be in danger, here are some things you can do before it gets worse:
- Parents will eventually want to confront the child about their concerns. Let the child know that they care and that if the concerns are true, find a way to turn the situation around.
- Parents should check what websites their child has had access to. If the parent finds any kind of sexually explicit information, this should be cause for alarm.
A great safety tool that I like to recommend to help keep your kids safe online from porn is Covenant Eyes. Below are some of its features:
Porn Blocking – Blocks access to all known adult, pornographic, and explicit websites. When configured, it can also block mixed-content sites (like Reddit), as well as proxy and VPN domains that are used to bypass the filters. A custom block list also allows you to block websites of your choosing.
Safe Search – Helps block explicit images, videos, and websites from search results. Google, Bing, and YouTube are locked to Safe Search. This helps you and your family avoid inappropriate search results. You can click the link below to go to their website and see all that’s available to you with this software tool to help keep your kids safe online.