On Sunday February 16, 2014, Breck Bednar, a 14-year-old by who loved gaming, was groomed online and murdered. Breck is just one of many who tragically become victims of online predators.
Did you know that in 82% of online sex crimes against minors, the offender used the victim’s social networking site to learn about the victim’s likes and dislikes and start the conversation?
The question then is, are your children protected?
Electronic devices and the internet can be wonderful, but with them come dangers – especially for our children. Check out some of the shocking statistics about our kids and computers.
Some Worrying Online Predator Statistics
- 20% of teens in the US have received an unwanted sexual solicitation via the web (requests to give personal sexual information, or to engage in sexual talk or activities) (Crimes Against Children Research Centre)
- Only 25% of the children who received a sexual solicitation online told a parent or adult (Crimes Against Children Research Centre)
- 22% of targets for online predators are just 10-13 yrs old (Crimes Against Children Research Centre)
- More than 33% of young people have experienced threats to their safety online (i-SAFE Foundation)
- About 30% of victims of sexual exploitation online are boys (PureSight Online Child Safety)
The Challenge For Parents
The vast majority of parents are well aware that the internet isn’t always a safe place for their children to be. But the sad truth is that most parents either lack the time or the knowledge (or both!) to keep their children safe online. It seems like there are new things to learn every day, and it’s hard to keep up.
On one hand you want to protect your kids. On the other you don’t want to hold them back. You want them to be able to take advantage of the amazing resources available without falling victim to the dangers.
With technology changing at such a crazy pace, it all seems so overwhelming.
3 Top Tips You Can Implement To Protect Your Children From Online Predators
There are several ways you can protect your children from online predators. Here are 3 quick and easy ways you can minimise the chances of your children being at risk.
Top Tip #1: Be ‘Friends’ With Your Children On Social Media
Your children may not like the idea of you being ‘friends’ with them online. However if you explain to them that they’re much less likely to be approached by an online predator if you’re ‘friends’ (and promise them you won’t be liking or commenting on their posts), they just might be a little more open to it.
If they still don’t like the idea, it may come down to you being the parent and creating online rules your children need to follow for the sake of their health and well-being.
Top Tip #2: Talk To Your Children About Online Predators
Wrapping your children up in cotton wool, if it were even possible to do these days, is not an effective way to keep your children safe online. Children need to become resilient, and the only way they can do that is by being aware of what’s happening out there in the real world.
Make sure your children know there are plenty of people online who are not who they say they are, and who don’t have good intentions online. Your children need to know that these people exist – and unfortunately that they’re everywhere.
Top Tip #3: Enforce A Rule Not To Respond To Strangers Online
Plenty of parents tell their children not to talk to strangers online. But not many parents enforce that rule. Telling your children not to talk to strangers online is not a one-off conversation, but a consistent message that needs to be drilled into their minds!
If your children don’t respond to anyone they don’t know in person online, it doesn’t really matter who approaches them. If a predator doesn’t get a response from one child they’ll simply move onto another, easier target. (In saying this, if you’re involved with your children online and they’re approached by someone who seems suspicious, it’s always a good idea to report the potential predator to the social media platform).
The Tip Of The Iceberg
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to online predators, and how you can keep your children safe online. There’s a minefield of information to help you online.
If you want to learn what you need to know in a fraction of the time it would otherwise take to sort through it all, join me on my next free live webinar – it’s packed with LOTS of useful information you can implement straight away.
There’s nothing worse than thinking that you could have saved your child and didn’t.