Many parents are unaware of the many dangers that are associated with the internet. Teens and children are spending more and more time on the internet. With more kids on the internet the number of internet predators has increased as well.
Kids are at risk when on the internet, especially when they enter chat rooms. Chat rooms are designed to allow people all over the world to chat about any given subject. The danger lies in the fact that the real identity of the other person is completely unknown to the teens and children that participate in these chat rooms. A predator may create a user profile that says they are a teen and even a different sex. Teens will have no idea that they are being stalked by an internet predator.
Internet Predators Statistics
Some may ask whats the worst that could happen. That truth is scary. According to the statistics provided by the FBI, by the age of fourteen, seventy-seven percent of teens have been contacted by a predator online. Twelve percent of teenage girls admitted to eventually meeting strangers they first met while online in person. Chat room stranger are implicated in close to twenty percent of cases of missing teens ages fifteen to seventeen years of age every year. These statistics are shocking. It is so important for parents to be aware of the content and communication used by their children and teens while online.
A Common Pattern
Internet predators usually follow a common pattern by first finding an identifying their victim through chat rooms. From chat rooms they slowly make the communication more personal by instant messaging, then texting, phone conversation, and then finally, face to face contact. Internet predators try and create trust and rapport by portraying common interests or feelings. They will often side with their victim on arguments with parents. They also begin to send gifts or text photos. Some of these photos might include pornographic images also known as sexting: when sent as a text message. This has become almost common among teens and when it falls into the hands of a predator, it can lead to serious problems and consequences.
Parents Can Help
Parents can help protect their teens and children by becoming educated to the dangers of the internet. Parents should be aware of the internet practices of their teens and children. The computer that teens have access to should be kept in an area of the house that other are most of the time, a high traffic area so to speak. By doing this kids are less likely to be viewing pornographic content and parents will be more aware of what their teens are doing. Parents might also consider placing a lock on their computer to be able to regulate the use of the internet. By being aware parents can help their teens avoid being victimized by internet predators.