Protecting children from online predators

As easy as it is to meet new people on social networking sites, parents should be mindful of who their child is talking to online.

There are many social networking sites that are free and easy to use. These sites can be very appealing to sexual predators, with how easy information is accessed.

How dangerous is this issue?

FBI.gov says that even with all the media attention on the dangers of social networking, they still receive hundreds of complaints per year about children who have been victims of criminal incidents on social networks. These incidents include but are not limited to:

  • Adults posing as children who are about the same age as the victim who later travel to abuse the child; and
  • Adults posing as children who convince the child to expose themselves and/or perform sexual acts over webcam and later extort the child to perform additional acts.

Social networking websites often ask users to post a profile with their age, gender, hobbies, and interests. While these profiles help kids connect and share common interests, individuals who want to victimize kids can use those online profiles to search for potential victims. Kids sometimes compete to see who has the greatest number of contacts and will add new people to their lists even if they do not know them in real life.

To view what all you can do to keep your child safe by being more involved, view the FBI.gov website here.

Author: FBI
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