How to Stay One Step Ahead of Child Predators:
- Monitor your child's Internet and cell phone activities. Don't feel like you are being a "snoop" by installing monitoring software on your child's computer or examining her cell phone bill, Liz says. Keeping tabs on who your child is communicating with is your responsibly and right, she says. "You bought that computer, you paid for that cell phone, you paid for that cell phone bill—parents have rights," she says.
- Talk to your child about Internet predators nearly every day. "Look for those teaching moments, whether it is a news article or news story [about Internet predators]," she says.
- Talk to your children about taking inappropriate pictures. Preteens taking revealing pictures of themselves at slumber parties is becoming a trend, and Liz says some of those pictures are sent to classmates via e-mail or cell phone and end up online and in the hands of child predators.
- Learn about text messaging, social networking websites and other technology. "For the first time in civilization, kids, through technology, know more than their parents do," Liz says. "Learn the technology, learn the language and begin to have the discussion about predators."
"While we should not parent out of fear or instill unnecessary trepidation in our children. We must still be vigilant and protect our kids from present dangers—especially those from the Internet that come right into our children's bedrooms. Supervising their online activity is mandatory and key."