As a parent, you want to protect your children from the dangers of the Internet. Unfortunately, predators are all around the Web, and they could target your child. Many will target a child to engage in rape, grooming, or trafficking. While this can be a horrifying thought, it’s sadly a reality. However, you can keep your children safe by knowing the signs and knowing how to fight back. One way to learn more is to look at the facts.
Statistics About Grooming and Online Predators
Some people might believe that the online predator problem is overblown. Unfortunately, this is not the case. While it is always possible to be paranoid, you should be mindful of your children’s online risks when they’re online. To elaborate on this further, let’s look at some online predators statistics 2022.
- It’s estimated that over half a million online predators are online daily.
- According to FBI statistics, any child can fall victim to sexual grooming, but the age where most children are susceptible to it is between 12-15, which counts for over half the victims.
- Nearly 90% of predators making sexual advances occur in chat rooms or instant messengers due to their privacy.
- Over a quarter of these interactions involve the child predator asking for sexually explicit photos.
- Over 40% of children keep their profile public to attract more people. These statistics are eye-opening. Child predators on social media are everywhere, and as a parent, you must be vigilant everywhere you turn.
Common Tactics of Human Traffickers
One risk your children have while online is falling victim to a human trafficker, where the predator will kidnap the child and use them for labor, sexual slavery, or other horrifying intentions. Many traffickers have techniques in place to lure your children. Here are some of them.
- They approach children who have little friends, feel alone, have no money, or feel rebellious. If your child has suffered abuse or is in a fractured home, it can increase the child’s risk of becoming vulnerable. Predators go after children and teens due to how naive they can be, but they can be more emotionally vulnerable to children going through personal difficulties.
- They will make many promises to children, such as fame, freedom, or love.
- They will go to social media and try to lure children there. Sometimes, they may pose as children closer to the victim’s age, as it’s easy to pretend to be someone you’re not on social media.
- Predators will form close relationships with them and build their trust on social media. Then, they might ask to meet up somewhere, and the child has fallen victim to the predator.
- In real life, a predator will try to kidnap children or teens through areas they hang out. There is no place safe for children, from schools, movie theaters, malls, concerts, parties, or airports. In any location that has youth in it, predators might lurk. Because these areas are filled with people, a trafficker may target someone alone.
- Remember, many teenagers are open books. They tend to overshare, leading them to become targets of predators. It’s estimated that over half of teens ages 16 to 17 will share some personal information. This can lead to a teen falling to a predator, so beware.
Signs That Your Child Is Being Groomed Online
A child predator might try to take a slow-burn approach to your child, known as child grooming. Online predators can build a child’s trust up in time and might even try to build the trust of the adults who surround them. Often, grooming can be subtle, and a child might not know it until it’s too late.
Here are some signs that your child might be being groomed.
- Groomers can be secretive. If your child is being groomed, they may become defensive if you try to pry into their online conduct. They might change screens, close tabs, or become emotional if you ask.
- If your child is being groomed, they might be online more than usual.
- The groomer might befriend you as well. They might ask to speak to you, and you might even like them. They might pose as a child’s role model or another child or teen.
- Your child wants to go somewhere they have never been interested in. Unfortunately, this place could be the area where a predator wants to meet the child.
As you can see, groomers are secretive, and many of these signs can be mistaken for typical teenage behavior. For example, many children want privacy online and can be reticent about their views, but they aren’t being groomed. However, any suspicious activity should be investigated by you ASAP.
Legal Consequences for Online Predators
The legal consequences a predator may face can depend on your state. Many laws, such as the age of consent, or specific details, can differ. Therefore, it would be best to check your local laws to see how a predator is punished in your area.
However, in all states, we should note that statutory rape is a crime punishable by prison and requires the person to register as a sex offender for life. In addition, there might be specific laws, such as adults being unable to corrupt a minor through sexually explicit conversation. Also, it can be illegal to send pornographic content to minors or ask them to send sexually explicit photos.
If you catch a sexual predator in the act, you must punish them to the fullest extent of the law.
Parental Tips to Protect Your Child from Online Predators
- First, the best way to protect your children is to educate them. Talk about the dangers of speaking to a stranger online about sexual topics, and discuss what can happen if they do so. Be sure to educate them on how many predators can pose as people their age and that they need to be skeptical of anyone they meet.
- Talk to your children about the dangers of an online relationship. Many relationships online can be toxic, with a person being pressured into sending sexually explicit photos. If a person asks to keep the relationship a secret, this might signify a predator.
- Speak about the dangers of online chat rooms or instant messengers. While you don’t want to sound like you’re against it entirely (you don’t want to sound out of touch), you should point out how dangerous it can be to speak to someone the child doesn’t know.
- While teenagers are going to flirt online, you should point out its dangers. If someone asks them to send sexually explicit photos, bring up how dangerous this can be. You could approach it from the embarrassment angle, such as mentioning that these photos could fall into the wrong hands and lead to embarrassment.
- Also, talk to your children about safety rules on the Internet. Many predators will go to places where the youth gather, and your child must know how to be safe. Also, be sure they’re not alone. For instance, if your child is going to a concert, be sure they have people with them they trust.
- Many children and teens fall victim to predators because they are emotionally vulnerable. Therefore, you must be a good parent to your children. Always ask them if they need to talk to someone and be someone they can trust. If your children feel like you’re judgmental, they might not want to talk to you. If they don’t, someone else will, and someone can have bad intentions.
- Finally, if you feel there is something more, you can use a phone tracking app or a parental control app to see if they’re speaking to any online predators. While you might not like the idea of this, it can work as a last resort.
Stay Safe from Online Predators with the Parental Control App
While no reasonable parent wants to spy on their children, there may be cases where you will want to do this.
If you suspect your child is speaking to a predator or is partaking in inappropriate activities, you might want to use an app to ensure they are not becoming part of the crime web. One app to use to track your children is uMobix.
This app lets you watch your child’s phone activities from a control panel (by the way, the cyberbullying may be tracked as well). With it, you can view their chat logs, browsing history, and see where they are through GPS. Installing it is easy, and there are many plans you can choose from if you look for certain features or affordability.
You want what’s best for your child if you’re a parent. By being mindful and staying involved in your child’s life, you can prevent them from falling victim to predators. With that, we come to the close of this article. Good luck.
How do online predators find their victims?
Many predators find their victims through chat rooms, social media, or other spaces where the youth hang out. Often, they will disguise themselves as someone the target’s age to befriend them easier.
What steps should I take to protect my children?
If you see something suspicious, ask. It’s also vital to educate your children on proper internet behavior. As a last resort, you might want to invest in a spying app, which can help monitor your child’s activities.
What to do if you suspect your child is talking online to a predator?
Step in. Ask to speak to the person yourself. Be sure to have any chat logs available. If you confirm they’re predators, be sure to pursue them to the fullest extent of the law. Never let a predator off the hook. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.