The Internet has a lot to offer children.
But it’s also a threatening place with predators lurking around every corner.
1 in 5 children are sexually solicited online.
1 in 33 children are aggressively pursued by predators.
The most dangerous places are chat rooms where 65% of these incidents occurred & instant messenger where 24% of these incidents occur.
Now you ask, but what can I do to ensure that my child will not come in contact with an online predator?
If you want the truth, nothing.
I’m sorry. That is harsh & hard to hear. But these people are hard to spot & sneaky.
Now, what you can do is educate yourself & your child about what to do if they are contacted.
I can teach you the signs to watch for to possibly see if your child is engaging with an online predator.
First of all, the most important thing is to always always have open dialogue with your child. Talk to them about the dangers online, about what kind of things can happen, do happen. Contact me directly. I can give you specific examples.
Here are some other things you want to do as a parent:
-young children should not use chat rooms. As they get older, possibly well-monitered chat rooms. But I still advise against it.
- Instruct your child to Never leave the public area of the chat room. No private conversations.
- Know what your child does online. Sit with them & have them show you where they go.
- Keep the computer in a common area in the home, not in the child’s bedroom.
- Teach your children to never respond to im’s or emails from strangers
- They also shouldn’t add strangers as friends on social network sites
-Monitor your child’s email & their social networking profiles. Do it with them, not behind their backs. Make sure they know why you are doing it too.
- Instruct your child to never post their phone number or address on social network sites.
Now here are some things you can look for in your teen to see if they have possibly been contacted by a predator:
-they spend a large amount of time online, aside from homework time.
-they close or switch screens when you walk in the room
-you find pornography on the computer
-they receive phone calls from people you do not know or makes calls to numbers you do not recognize, sometimes long distance.
-they receive gifts, packages, or just mail from someone you don’t know.
-they become withdrawn from family & friends
-they use someone else’s online account
Now if you think your child has been contacted, you need to remember that they are not to blame in any way. The offender always bears the complete responsibility for his actions.Amy Wettig is a Certified Life Coach passionately committed to helping parents protect their children and teens from online predators and abuse. Please visit her blog at: http://thecoachamy.blogspot.com/