Internet Predators

About Internet Predators

What is it?

Internet predators are adults who spend time in internet chatrooms, blogs, myspace, instant messenger or other forums that are meant for children and teenagers. Their purpose is to find and contact vulnerable children for illicit purposes, including sex and kidnapping.

These predators will attempt to get personal information from the child or teenager, such as name, age, address or phone number and may attempt to arrange a meeting.

There are many techniques that predators use. They may try to become your child’s friend, they may become the confidant in a lonely or troubled child’s life.  They may try to impress young adolescents with sexual talk.

Suggested Steps

1.  The first step is to do your homework.  The most difficult part of this problem is that most kids know more about the internet than their parents. Parents may not know what it going on with their children.

Some facts:

- 20% of parents do not monitor their children’s activity on the internet at all

- 62% of teens report that their parents know little or nothing about the internet.

- 72% of all internet-related missing children are over the age of 15.  Most parents stop supervising their children’s internet use after the age of 14.  

2.  Set some rules for internet use in your home. For Example:
  

    – Make sure that your child or teenager knows that they should never give out personal information to anyone online.

      – Make sure that your child knows that you have the right to check on their computer to monitor their activity.

      –  Set rules as to which sites your child can visit and which ones they cannot.

      –  Go on line to check who they are instant messaging and who are on their buddy lists.  Get some third party software to do this if necessary.

– If you can, get software that allows you to become the system administrator and learn how to use this.  Most computer stores, like Best Buy and CompUSA have service departments that can help you with this.  Might cost a bit, but is worth it.

3.  Most importantly, talk to your child or teenager about the dangers on the internet and how to be safe.  Teach them to not use screen names that might reveal personal information.   Make sure that they know to discuss with you anyone who
appears strange or unusual.