How To Protect Your Child from Online Predators

Collaborator: VNN Content Studio
Published: 12/01/2021, 6:37 PM
Edited: 01/21/2022, 4:05 PM

Love and Protect is presented by KO Fitness and Firearms. Life is precious. Take safety into your own hands. 

Written By: Brittany Harlow

(NATIONAL) As life continues to trend more virtual by the day, the benefits of the internet are undeniable. But, as always, there is bad along with the good, especially for our younger generations. Some experts believe increased isolation from classmates and family members due to distance learning and quarantining since the pandemic began has made children more vulnerable to becoming victims of crime. 

It’s a concern that is already being backed up by evidence. The Center for National and Exploited Children (NCMEC) says online enticement reports have increased 97.5 percent from 2019 to 2020. After analyzing their reports, they found 98 percent of reported offenders were believed to be people the children did not know offline. 

The Crimes 

According to the FBI, crimes against children most often occur when an adult starts a relationship with a child online and then arranges to meet in person or an adult manipulates a child into sharing photos or videos of themselves with gifts or threats. 

Don’t believe your child could ever fall victim? These abusers are pros.

How They Do It

There is a system to how adults groom children for abuse using the internet. First, experts say the adult contacts the child on social media after learning about them from their profiles and posts. 

Sometimes they pretend to be younger than they are. Sometimes they are using multiple identities to target the child.

Next, they try to get them to hand over photos or videos. Different tactics include pretending to be a modeling agency, saying they are going to kill themselves if they don’t receive photos or videos, or even threatening to hurt the child or their family. 

Worse, they could convince your child to meet them in person. 

What You Can Do to Protect Them 

The best defense against online crime is being actively involved in your children’s lives. Talk to them about why and how they should protect themselves on the internet. 

If you don’t know how to monitor your child’s social media and online presence, now is the time to learn. Common Sense Media is a great asset for staying media savvy, and their Ultimate Guide to Parental Controls is a treasure trove of safety information. For monitoring cell phone use, they recommend downloading an app that tracks it all like Bark, Circle, TeenSafe, or WebWatcher.

Warning signs that something may be wrong include withdrawal and other changes in behavior, a sudden loss in self-confidence, and attempts at running away. Unexplained gifts and money could also be a red flag. 

If your child has shared photos or videos of themselves online, you can take steps to have them removed from social media platforms

And if you want to prepare for that worst case scenario ahead of time, the FBI’s Child ID app allows you to store photos and vital information in a dedicated place on your phone. That way, if you ever need to send them to law enforcement during an emergency, you can do so quickly and easily. The app also has safety tips and else you can do if you find yourself in an emergency situation involving your child. 

The internet can be a frightening place, but it doesn’t have to be. By keeping ahead of online predators, you can increase the likelihood that your child’s online experiences stay positive. 

To report online child sexual exploitation, use NCMEC’s electronic Cyber Tip Line or call 1-800-843-5678. 

Presented by KO Fitness and Firearms- not just dedicated to creating customers. We want to help create peace of mind and security for life.


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