Internet Safety Tips
What is an online predator?
The standard online predators definition is: any person, male or female, using the Internet for the express purpose of targeting a minor to perform non-consensual sex acts. They work through anonymity and manipulation. They use the very things that make your child a child, against them. They use emotional vulnerability and the child’s needs to have their emotional point of view validated.
Online predators use the searchable profiles of today’s social media and chat sites to pick and stalk their targets. Children are often not aware that even the most innocent looking photo of a child in their sports jersey can help a stalker target them. Profiles give the predator ammunition and information in his search for a suitable target. (taken from nobullying.com )
What to watch out for:
- An online ‘friend’ trying to offer sympathy or empathy
- Asking if a child is sad or lonely
- Asking to keep conversations Secret or only between ‘them’
- Asking to send pictures or anything else regarding sexual curiosity
- Asking for personal information
- Giving gifts
- 1 in 6 online children ages 10-17 received a sexual solicitation or approach in the past year.
- 1 in 3 online children ages 10 – 17 had unwanted exposure to sexually explicit material in the past year.
- 1 in 25 children ages 10 to 17 received an online sexual solicitation where the solicitor tried to make offline contact.
- Less than 10% of sexual solicitations and 3% of unwanted exposures were reported (to authorities, ISP, or a hotline.)
- 49% didn’t tell anyone – not parents, not authorities, not even friends
- 70% of kids were at home when they were sexually solicited.
Statistics on Stalking:
Stalking is illegal in 50 states. In PA its a first degree misdemeanor; fined up to $10,000, at least 5 years in prison, or both.
- 1 in 6 women and 1 in 19 men have experienced stalking victimization at some point during their lifetime.
- The majority of stalking victims are stalked by someone they know. 66% of female victims and 41% of male victims of stalking are stalked by a current or former intimate partner
- More than half of female victims and more than 1/3 of male victims of stalking indicated that they were stalked before the age of 25
PREVENTION TIPS FOR PARENTS:
- Keep the computer in a common room, and/or establish time/location when they can use it
- Establish a trust & monitoring balance with children. If you are paying the bill, perhaps make an agreement that will share any suspicious activity with you
- Communicate and talk with your child about their favorite apps; and about the potential online danger and sexual victimization
- Modify the Default Privacy Settings of social media and gaming profiles
- Only allow your children to be ‘friends’ or have contacts with people they actually know
- Turn upload/posting pictures w/GPS setting turned off
- Limit identifying biographical information: instead, use fake names, profile pics, addresses, etc.
- Utilize one of the many Parental Control App’s available to block certain apps that could be dangerous, as well as inappropriate websites, and even set the amount of screen/talk time you’d like your child to use.
PREVENTION TIPS FOR CHILDREN AND TEENS:
- Do not hesitate to Block, Unfriend, or Report/Flag any users.
- Do not erase the message, instead save the evidence by taking a ‘screen shot’and create a log
- Talk to a trusted adult – whether its a parent, teacher, counselor, coach, etc.
- Never arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone you dont personally know.
- Trust your “gut” instincts and intuition about others when interacting online. If something feels ‘funny’ or ‘fishy’ then do not talk to that person.
- If threatened with physical harm, have an adult call the police and make a report.
- Practice being a “Bystander” or “Up-stander” for your friends online and in person.
- Start by paying attention and noticing any behavior or mood changes to friends.
- Do not support Bullying by “Liking/Sharing” or supporting comments that hurtful.
- Try to stand up for the victim of Bullying by telling someone for them, or offering to help tell them tell.
ONLINE RESOURCES FOR MORE INFO:
- Helps families make smart media choices, and offer the largest, most trusted library of independent age-based and educational rating and review for movies, games, apps, TV shows, websites, books, and music.
- Report your suspicions to your local police, your ICAC Task Force and the CyberTipline (www.cybertipline.com or 1-800-843-5678). For more information about the ICAC Task Force in your state or region, go to: https://www.icactaskforce.org/Pages/TaskForceContactInfo.aspx
- Connect Safely
- Crimes Against Children Research Center
- Enough is Enough: Internet Safety 101
- Family Online Safety Institute
- Microsoft Online Safety
- National Center for Missing & Exploited Children