Online Child Predators: What Parents Need to Know About Them7 min read

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Angelica Dowson

Angelica Dowson

Angelica Dowson

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The internet and social media have turned out to be irresistible for the digital generation who never wants to take a break seem from these technologies. Studies confirm that children between the ages of 8 and 12 spend more than six hours a day on social networking platforms wherein they meet new people, develop self-esteem and release study stress. At the same time, they may expose to the vulnerabilities and potential dangers of the online world. The widespread adoption of the internet and mobile phones has raised the numbers of online crimes. After cyber-bullying, catfishing and scamming, online child predation is another emerging threat that is victimizing most of the children. Around 82% of child abuse cases are devised from the social media where the predators get and manipulate the information about the victim. More than 75% of the victims of such cases are girls between the age of 13 and 15.

Who are the Online Child Predators?

An online child predator is an adult who uses the internet to contact minors, often posing as a child or teenager. The predator aims to exploit underage kids for sexual or other abusive purposes. They seek to develop a relationship with the target and use that relationship to start a sexual discussion or lure kids to meet offline. The kids who are emotionally disturbed, lonely and naive are more likely to be the victim of these predators.

How Do Online Predators Trap Children?

The internet provides a free and quick way to communicate with the people around the world. This is the mean which is being used by the cyber predators. The predators use social media sites, chat rooms, blogs, dating apps, emails, online gaming sites and other online platforms to find vulnerable children. The social media provides assistance to them in getting information about the target like what they like and what are their activities.

The tools they use to lure kids are flattery, attention, courtesy and gifts. They admire victims, pose to be their well-wishers and seek them to be in a relationship by giving presents. When the child gets attached to them, they start to include sexual stuff in their conversations. They share sexually explicit photos and videos showing children engaged in sexual activities to prove that such behavior is acceptable. When the kid loses consciousness and gets trapped they sexually exploit them.

When the victim tries to cut off communication with the predator, they emotionally blackmail or threaten to tell their parents what shameful things they had been doing. They leave the victim with no other choice than to continue bearing sexual abuse or taking their lives.

How to Know If your Child is in Contact With a Predator?

Finding out whether your child is communicating with a predator or not is not complex. If you are noticing sudden changes in your kids’ behavior, habits and mobile phone use, you need to be alert. Here are the common signs that your child is communicating with a child predator.

Seeking More Privacy While Using Phone

When a kid is doing something they know it to be wrong, they would get nervous or try to hide what they are doing on seeing their parents or siblings coming to them. If your teen girl has started receiving long hour calls from an unknown source and she seeks privacy for these calls, she might be in contact with a predator who does not want to be disclosed.

Excessive Use of Phone and Internet

There is not any surprise that kids love the internet but if you suddenly feel they are spending excessive time online, you should keep your eyes open. If your kid is spending more time on their phone, computer or the internet, and there is not an obvious reason behind this excessive use, you need to be informed of their mobile phone and computer activities.

Having Fake or Secondary Social Media or Email Account

If your kid has a secret social media or email account you are not aware of, it is a sign that there is something worrying. It can be a sign that your kid is trying to hide the online activities which they think parents would not allow them to do.

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