Watch out for Ghouls, Ghosts and Cyber Predators this Halloween!

Information about “Internet Monsters” and how parents can incorporate some safe practices into their family’s lifestyle to make sure their kids are protected from these predators.
Author:
Publish date:

Is your child being groomed by ‘Cyber Predators’?

By LeGrand Woolley, Net Nanny

Parents probably already know many of the dangers facing their children on the Internet today. Perhaps the most common threat to kids online is pornography. Americans spend $265 million every day on pornography and each second more than 28,000 Internet users are viewing pornography. However, pornography is only one of the many “Internet Monsters” lurking to attack your children online. For years, parents were educated in ways to protect their children from pornography and other “Internet Monsters”.

One particular “Internet Monster” that many parents learn about, some too late, are cyber predators. A cyber predator is an individual, usually an adult that attempts to exploit, or rather groom, children through the Internet. They look for anything personal to become friends with the child in hopes of using this friendship to harm the child— sexually, emotionally, financially, or otherwise. Generally, these relationships form in chat rooms.

These statistics regarding cyber predators are quite alarming for parents.

*1 in 7 youths will receive a sexual solicitation while online

*29% of youths aged 7-17 report freely giving out their home address online

*20% of abductions among teens aged 15-17 are due to Internet contact

Now that we know a little about these “Internet Monsters” how do we stop them? Where do we begin? Here is a short checklist that parents can incorporate into their family’s lifestyle to make sure their kids are safe from these predators.

Communicate.

Parents need to talk to their kids about the dangers of the Internet. Talk to them about the online world, just like you would help them in the real world. Set specific guidelines and rules with online surfing.

Learn about the Internet and what sites your kids frequent.

Education goes hand-in-hand with communication. If the parents know the dangers themselves, this sets an example to the child to understand them as well. Whether it's MySpace, Facebook or another social networking site, by knowing what people are doing on your children's favorite sites that could put them in harm's way. Parents can educate their children and show them the warning signs of potentially dangerous situations and ways to handle them if they do arise.

Teach your children obvious identity rules.

Tell your children NOT to put photos of them on the Internet or to give out their names, addresses, phone numbers, schools, or other personal information online.

(Click here to see other Internet safety tips.)

As the “Internet Monsters” continue to grow it’s a fight that parents must be aware of, and ready to take action against. Most children don’t see the harm in chatting with strangers online. To them it may just be a harmless game, but to the cyber predator—it’s all business. Today is the day for parents and children to be educated and armed with knowledge to get rid of these “Monsters” once and for all.

Related

Facebook Privacy Settings

Post Pictures of Your Kids Online? WATCH THIS

Most cameras (especially the ones on our phones) have geotagging and targeting on them. Which means that along with the photo, your camera records your exact location on the earth when your photo is taken. So what happens when you post those photos online?

Talking to Kids about Personal Safety

Two types of safety education work well for parents and children and can easily be added to their family’s safety plans: pre-planned discussions and spontaneous opportunities to teach.

Cyberbullying and The Dark Side of 'Flash Mobs'

There seems to be an increasingly uncivil, angry tinge to exchanges between people who disagree and members of opposing political parties on Capitol Hill, the airwaves, and online. Is it possible that all these adults publicly modeling disrespectful, degrading behavior are creating a new, very destructive social norm?

Robin Sax

A Protective Dream

LA County DA, Robin Sax, wanted to empower parents to protect their children so she drew on her experience as a sex-crimes prosecutor to write Predators and Child Molesters: A Sex Crimes D.A. Answers 100 of The Most Asked Questions. See how she stays motivated to in our latest Dream Big.