Protect Teenagers from Online Predators

Protect Teenagers from Online Predators

The Internet has now made communicating more convenient. Thanks to the presence of chatrooms and email service providers, more and more people are able to connect with each other on a real-time basis no matter how far apart they are from each other. The sad thing is that not all those who are using the communication tools over the Internet are harmless. The Internet has also become a prowling ground for sexual predators looking for their next victim.

Why Teenagers?

Teenagers are the most vulnerable when it comes to becoming a victim of sexual predators online. In fact, studies have shown that by the age of 14, about 77% of pre-teens and teenagers have been in contact with a sexual predator without them even knowing. This is because unlike other age groups, teenagers are in constant search of meeting new people who share their likes and dislikes. They are also more keen in trying to reach out to people who would listen and console them especially when it comes to conflict with their parents.

How a Predator Uses the Internet

Online predators would often come across as an ear that would listen and a shoulder that lonely teenagers would be able to come to when they need to be consoled. Predators would sign up to join forums and chat rooms whose primary purpose is to provide an outlet for teenagers. Because many of these chat rooms and forums allow their users to remain anonymous through the use of a chat name or forum name, predators are able to mask their true identity.

The first thing that an online predator would do is to gain your teenager’s trust. They do this by offering them advise when it comes to problems in the family, school, boyfriend/girlfriend and friends. Many times, they would side with the teenager in order to further gain their trust and confidence. Once they see that the teenager is already extremely comfortable enough to give out personal information to these online predators, this is when they would strike.

How to Tell if Your Teen is a Target

There are a number of ways for a parent to know whether or not their teenager is becoming a potential target by an online predator. Here are just some of the things to look out.

  • Your teenager begins to lock their doors while using the Internet and chatting online more often than mingling with other members of the family or with their friends.
  • Increased numbers of pornography materials sent to your teenager and downloaded on your computer.
  • Unfamiliar phone numbers show up on your phone bills made by your teenager, many of which are numbers not within your area.
  • Your teenager begins receiving gifts and refuses to tell you about the sender. How to Protect Your Teenager

While there is no way from you to stop your teenager from meeting new people online, there are a number of ways to protect them from who they converse with. Here are ten tips on how to do this:

  • Make your teenager aware about how online predators use the Internet to find their victims in a genuinely concerned manner. This way, your teenager would not get the wrong impression that you are invading their privacy or restricting them from using the Internet.
  • Install computer software programs that would help you block sexual implicit materials such as photographs and videos that are sent by an online predator to entice your teenager.
  • Install an Internet connection only on a computer that is found in a common part of the house such as your living room.
  • Give your child a curfew with regards to using the Internet. This way, you minimize the time that they spend on the Internet surfing.
  • Spend more time with your teenager. Teenagers who are most likely to be targeted by online predators are those who feel lonely and distant from their parents.
  • Install keylogging software programs on your family’s computer. This way, you would be able to monitor everything and anything typed by your teenager, including the kinds of email that they receive and send.
  • Be open with your teenager. Many of the reasons why teenagers would spend time on forums and chat rooms are because they need someone to talk to about their problems.
  • Encourage your teenager never to give out their personal information to anyone that they meet over the Internet.
  • If gifts are being mailed to your home for your teenager from someone you do not know, inquire with the local courier about the sender’s information.
  • If your teenager does open their concern about someone they had met over the Internet, do not tell them that it is their fault. Instead, support them and report this matter to the proper authorities immediately.

This Article is written by John C Arkin.


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