The Internet is a vast and anonymous space. It enables people to hide their identities or pretend to be someone else.

This poses a significant threat to children and teens online, as online predators may try to lure them into sexual conversations or face-to-face meetings.

Moreover, predators may send obscene material or request pictures of themselves. It is crucial to teach children to be on their guard when online.

Social networking sites, chat rooms, blogs, and virtual worlds are essential for children to socialize with peers, family, work, and those they have met online.

The pandemic crisis has made it difficult to restrict children’s access to the Internet, as 95% of schools are connected to the Internet.

Here are some statistics to prove the dangers of online predators:

1 in 4 have seen unwanted pornography on the internet.

1 in 5 children have been sexually solicited.

Nearly 60% of teens have reportedly received emails or instant messages from unknown contacts.

Almost 50% of teens have replied to messages from strangers.

Online Predators: Recognizing The Red Flags

Online Predators: Recognizing The Red Flags

Predators can target children through online chats, social media, or gameplay. Here are some red flags that you must recognize to protect your children from online predators:

They often display a persona older than the child and ask personal questions about their parents, teachers, friends, and other adults.

They aim to gain trust by lying about their age and creating a barrier between them and their network of trusted adults.

Predators can also give children gifts and rewards, such as gift cards or money, to engage them.

They often sexualize the relationship as a common tactic

They ask graphic questions and request sexually explicit images or videos.

They prefer directly messaging or requesting the child’s phone number for offline conversations.

They can monopolize the child’s time and pressure them to send sexually explicit videos, photos and messages.

Moreover, these online activities can lead to abusive and emotionally controlling interactions, transforming the relationship from an innocent online interaction to an abusive and controlling one.

Overall, predators use various tactics to gain the trust and control of children online.

Save Your Children From Online Predators

Save Your Children From Online Predators

Youngsters must be taught safe internet usage practices as they learn to use it.

However, there’s a lot that parents can do to help their children stay away from the horrific ravages of internet usage.

Given below are some steps that you must follow to keep your children safe from online predators—

Fix The Boundaries 

Establishing boundaries for children’s internet and social media use is vital. One way to do this is by creating an approved plan that outlines which sites, communication channels, and social media applications are permitted.

In addition to setting time frames for access, having a safety plan outlining reporting procedures is crucial.

Furthermore, monitoring internet usage and creating common areas for children to play online games or research for school projects is also necessary.

Using third-party hardware tools to monitor app usage and application duration and filter prohibited information is highly recommended.

You can easily find these tools online through internet searches to find the right product for your family’s needs.

Finally, make sure that children are aware of what information is allowed and that they know when to report any discomfort.

Use Tools To Control Apps 

Parents often need help understanding the apps their children use online or on smartphones.

With the development of new apps, it is crucial to review safeguards and settings to ensure the correct use of these apps.

Cellular phones also have settings to block or moderate illicit content. Therefore, parents should educate themselves about websites, software, and apps their child uses.

Information on the internet can help us understand the appropriate ways to use different apps.

However, if unsure, create an environment where children can share popular apps among their peer groups.

As technology changes, it is crucial to remain vigilant and allow children to educate themselves on popular apps and communication methods.

Furthermore, you can use Child Control by Salfeld to set time limits for devices, apps, and websites, filtering internet content by age or category.

Make Them Aware 

Online predators often target children with low self-esteem or loneliness, who often struggle with social and academic skills.

It is crucial to educate children about online predators, highlighting that some are older adults, young adults, or teenagers.

Showing news stories about predators who met kids through social networks or gaming platforms can help children understand the dangers of risky behavior.

Children with learning and thinking differences often use online friendships to express their curiosity about topics like sex and drugs.

However, discussing these topics with strangers can be dangerous. To teach children about healthy relationships and potential exploitative situations, you must sometimes expose them to risks others face, like drug use and sending sexy photos.

Under-age internet users must address the pressures to keep relationships secret or engage in uncomfortable activities immediately.

Empower Your Child 

Parents play a crucial role in their children’s online safety by installing safeguards on their devices and internet modems.

Therefore, they can guide their children to use the internet appropriately and minimize potential threats.

Moreover, numerous parental-controlled applications are available. They help Internet Service Providers to establish parental controls and filters on modems.

Parents can take an active role in educating themselves by exploring the plethora of online resources. They can set aside time to have open conversations with their children about their online activities, preferred apps, and potential issues they may encounter.

By doing so, parents can empower their children to navigate the internet safely.

Save The Future! 

Save The Future! 

The number of 3- to 4-year-olds using the Internet doubled between 2010 and 2015, from 19% to 39%. Parents often need help to keep up with their children’s online habits due to the constantly evolving nature of technology.

However, best practices can help protect children from online predators. The internet has enabled adults to pose as children, creating false identities. Therefore, this can exploit them by giving away personal information, performing sexual acts, and posting self-created material.

Therefore, by discussing and educating children about shared interests, geographical locations, and age groups, they can learn to prevent traffickers or predators from exploiting them.

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Ankita Tripathy
Ankita Tripathy loves to write about food and the Hallyu Wave in particular. During her free time, she enjoys looking at the sky or reading books while sipping a cup of hot coffee. Her favourite niches are food, music, lifestyle, travel, and Korean Pop music and drama.

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