How To Protect Your Child From Online Child Predators
How Child Predators Use Social Media To Find Our Children?
Today, it is nearly impossible to survive without some sort of social media account.
You are required to have an email address to do anything. You keep up to date with all your friends and family on Facebook. You manage your bank account online. Every picture is uploaded to Instagram. One thing is linked to the next and the next. It’s simply never ending.
Social Media is a great tool and yet a deadly weapon. By having the whole world in our hands, we are taking not only the good but also all of the bad that comes with it.
Everywhere I go, people are all constantly looking down at their phones. Every child has a phone now it seems regardless of their age. They all have their own email, Facebook, Twitter, Snap Chat, Tumblr and Instagram. Our children are completely exposed everywhere you turn.
Their private information is hidden from no one.
There are half naked selfies of teenage girls, instant updates from google pinpointing their exact location. There are constant tweets to where they’re going. When they get home, they change their status to, “Home now, it was a great night. I think I’ll just go to sleep.” Social media follow us where ever we go.
It doesn’t seem difficult for predators to stalk or find someone. I mean honestly, we give them everything they need on a silver platter.
This is the way the world is today and there is no way to change it.
So, as parents we must take it into our own hands to protect our children from online predators.
This is not an easy task at hand. You either start like this from the beginning (as we have with our children) or you will have a great battle ahead of you.
Child Predators On Social Media Statistics
What are the statistics of child predators online and on social media? They’re alarmingly high.
- 82% of sex crimes begin on social media
- 65% of online predators use the victims social media account to learn about their home and school information
- 26% of predators use the victims social media to find out their location at a specific time
- 75% of children on social media have talked to someone they do not know
- 16% of children online considering meeting someone they met online in real life
- 8% of those children actually met the stranger in real life
- 75% of those children, met them more than once
- 1 in 5 children online are offered sexual solicitation
- 50,000 child predators are online at any given moment
When online, you never actually know who you are talking to.
You don’t know how old they are, where they come from or if they’re male, female or undecided. Facebook is trying to fix this but it will not work completely, if at all. There are also tons of other websites that won’t do this.
This is an advantage and a disadvantage for society. Many law enforcement agencies have used this tool to fight back against online predators. Law enforcement agencies have decoys pretend to be teenage girls or boys. The decoys are officers that can pass as a child or teen. The decoys willingly go on websites such as Whisper to attract offenders. Much like decoy prostitutes on the streets trying to catch a john.
The offenders find the fake profile and see if the decoy is willing to allow themselves to be groomed. Usually, within minutes they get a bite. If the decoys are willing to reciprocate the feelings then the predator has found a victim.
Predators use this to their advantage as well.
A 40-year-old pervert can pretend to be a handsome, young 17-year-old boy and coerce a young girl to fall in love with him. Your teenage daughter may think this is a real boy. The thought that it could be a grown man on the other end of the chat may never cross her mind. No one knows who this guy is, where she was going or even that she was talking to this guy in the first place. She is never seen again. This happens all day every single day of the year.
Only after he has built her trust he will ask to meet with her. When she goes to meet him, he grabs her, rapes her and then kills her or keeps her as his personal sex slave. As blunt as this is, it happens thousands of times a day and we cannot sit back and pretend like it doesn’t. Hiding from it only makes it easier for pedophiles. Ignorance is not bliss in this case, it is stupidity wrapped in fear.
How Do Predators Groom A Child
When a predator grooms a child online, they do much of the same things they would in person.
The only difference is that culprit can pretend to be whomever he wants to be. It’s much easier to coerce a girl to fall in love with you if all your pictures are of a cute teenage boy instead of a hairy 30-year-old man.
Grooming makes a child feel special, loved and appreciated. Children do not see grooming as grooming in these scenarios, they see the man of their dreams, chivalry and a real gentleman.
Social media breeds insecurity so it is easy to lure a child with grooming.
Online perpetrators seek the same sort of victims as in real life, the insecure, troubled and the vulnerable kids.
A quick glance at a person’s social media profile reveals their level of self-esteem. Predators can easily see this and know whether the person would be likely to take their bait. If we can see it, they can see it.
In this day and age, girls are especially susceptible to falling for flattery because the world is telling them they have to be perfect to be worth anything and if they aren’t they are fat and ugly.
If a “young gentleman” (The predator’s fake profile.) builds the “fat and ugly” girl’s self-esteem by grooming her, she is likely to become a victim to what is called Cinderella Complex.
Cinderella Complex is when a girl looks for the affection of another to decide her own self worth leaving her afraid of independence or life without that person. They are dependent on another person to be taken care of.
It’s the typical head over heels, love is blind situation.
On social media grooming a child basically boils down to words of affirmation. (Learn about words of affirmation and your what your child’s love language is with this wonderful book. Each person has a specific thing that makes them feel loved more than anything else. There is this book for parents and there is also one for husbands and wives to find each other’s love language. It is seriously amazing and will change your marriage.)
The children are complimented, flattered and shown the affection that most of them feel they lack. They are made promises and offered gifts.
It starts out very subtle where your child won’t feel any suspicion. They seek to first grow a relationship.
If your child seems to enjoy the attention, then the perv continues to build a relationship as fast or slow as your child will allow.
Child predators are the ultimate experts on building relationships.
Child Predators will deceive the parents into thinking they are a compassionate caring person. They scam the children into believing that they are their true best friend.
They are smart to follow the cues of what’s acceptable and what is not; the ultimate masters of deception.
You can learn more about how child predators think, the tactics they use and the psychology behind it all in this book.
How Do Online Predators Operate
It all comes down to hunting.
If you’ve ever been hunting or watched a movie about it, you know it is exactly that…hunting. How do you hunt?
You study your prey, find their habit, explore the places they frequent, learn the terrain, possible escape routes, you learn what they like to eat, where they sleep, where they get water, where they spend their time at night and during the day. You study these things and create a plan of attack.
An online predator does the same thing. They hunt for their prey…that is why they are called child predators.
How do they do this?
Simple; They gain access to your child’s online profile whether it’s a social media account or a multiplayer game with a chat room. The criminal creates their fake profile and finds victims. 30% of online victims are boys, the rest are female. Most victims range between the age of 11-15.
Once the cyber predator has gained access to your child’s profile they begin to prepare for the hunt. They study your child. What types of posts does your child put on their profile? Maybe your son loves building things with legos so he posts pictures of amazing lego creations.
This makes it easier for the online predator to find a way to connect with your son. The predator then pretends to love legos too.
Maybe your daughter plays minecraft. The predator will start playing too and connect on the game also. Now, he/she can find an even deeper way into your child’s mind.
Once, the online predator has learned these things they are ready to start the hunt. They show your child how much they enjoy the same things. There is an instant connection. Your child is excited to find someone who loves all the same things that they do.
A child predator is patient. They may spend weeks or months building this relationship. They know they must gain the child’s trust first. They begin with small gestures of grooming and build on that, eventually leading to some sort of sexual exploitation.
How Can We Protect Our Child From Online Predators
This is simple; we pay attention. We need to communicate with our children. We need to educate them. We need to be more involved with everyday life.
We do not allow our children to have complete privacy with social media. Removing all forms of social media is not advised. This is the way the world is today and it may cause rebellion if taken away completely.
We need to ask our children the following questions about every person they speak to online:
- How did you meet this person?
- Have you ever met them in real life? Are they a class mate?
- How old is this person?
- What are the things you guys talk about?
- Are you interested in being more than just friends with this person?
This is what we need to ask them when they want to go hang out with a friend:
- Who is this person?
- Have I ever met them before?
- Where did you meet them?
- Have you met in real life?
- Are they a class mate?
- Where are you planning to go?
- How long do you plan on being gone?
- Do you plan on going anywhere else and if so where is that?
- Who are all the people that will be there?
- How can I get ahold of you?
- Will you be able to call me right after you get there so I can know you are safe?
Does this seem very strict and intrusive to you?
Yes? Good, because that is what it will take to ensure that your children are safe. It will take work. You will have to put in the effort it takes to find these things out. Ask yourself this- What is the need for complete privacy with social media? How is it really beneficial in any way?
IT’S 2018!!! OVER 2,000 CHILDREN GO MISSING EVERY SINGLE DAY OF THE YEAR!!! 24/7, 365 CHILDREN GO MISSING. IT NEVER STOPS.
Being a good parent is not easy but it is worth it to know that you’ve done everything you can to teach and protect them. If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.
I’m sure if you were to ask the parent of a missing child if they would rather invade their child’s privacy so they can be safe or ask them if they’d rather never see them again…..the answer would be know where they are even if they have no privacy.
If you have given them free reign before and are wanting to try to implement this now you should probably expect some fights about it. Don’t let your kids say that you don’t trust them. This isn’t about trusting them. Don’t let them say this is an invasion of their privacy.
This is not about trust or privacy it is about the fact that over 2,000 children go missing every single day.
Boys, girls, men, women and children all fall victim to kidnapping. Don’t let your child be one of them.
Where do you draw the line of privacy?
If you feel the need to allow your child privacy then allow them privacy with exceptions. Ask who your child is talking to when online or texting.
If your child is talking to her best friend-you don’t need to know what they are talking about. If your child is talking to her boyfriend from school…maybe you don’t need to know what they’re talking about, maybe you do. If your child is talking to a person who you do not recognize-then inquire about it. If you feel led, read the conversation.
What Else Can We Do To Protect Our Children From Online Predators
We can have rules and a level of understanding between parent and child.
Here are some rules you can set if you allow your children to have social media.
- Your pictures must be appropriate. Don’t allow half naked selfies that will draw predators to you. If you allow revealing pictures-you are going to attract perverts- plain and simple.
- Only talk to people you know in real life. Explain to your children how people make fake profiles to lure children in.
- If a person tries to talk to them that they do not know, block them or report them.
- Depending on their age, tell them about grooming techniques so they know what to watch out for.
- Teach them about child predators.
- Encourage them to be open and honest about where they are going simply to know where they are in case of an emergency.
- Never allow them to meet someone they met online.
- Never reveal personal information.
- Do not link you picture or status to your location.
- Don’t let the child update there status to where they’re going.
- Teach them about fake profiles!
Important Things To Remember About Online Child Predators
- Child predators can be men, women and even teenagers.
- Predators do not only go after girls, boys are just as likely to become victims.
- Be a good example of safety!!! Lead through example.
- When you’re going to go somewhere tell them so they know where YOU are if there is an emergency.
Give them your work number, the number of your cell phone, the name and number of the doctor’s office you are going to.
- Tell them no matter what, they can always call you and you will come get them.
Tell them, “If you ever find yourself in a scary situation or a situation you feel uncomfortable in just CALL ME.”
Say, “I will not be mad if you made a bad decision and you end up somewhere you shouldn’t be, just CALL ME.”
- Teach them to listen to their instincts, if they feel like someone is a little off just leave. DO NOT BE AFRAID TO OFFEND SOMEONE!
- USUALLY PEOPLE HAVE A HESITANT FEELING WHEN SOMEONE IS DANGEROUS!!! TEACH THEM TO LISTEN TO THEIR INSTINCTS FIRST!!!!
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