Minimize the Chances of an Online Predator Victimizing a Child
Types of Children Sexual Predators Target and Prey Upon
- Warn your children about potentially dangerous people who may try to befriend them online.
- Keep the computer in a public space in your house, not your child's bedroom.
- Don't allow children to use a screen name profile or to give out personal information online.
- Use parental controls provided by your service provider or blocking software.
- Monitor all chat room usage.
- Insist children never agree to meet someone they've met online without your permission.
Signs Your Child Might Be at Risk Online
- Children with lower self-esteem
- Children who divulge too much personal information online
- Children who frequent chat rooms
- Children willing to engage in online conversations about sex
If Your Child Is Approached by an Online Predator
- Your child spends large amounts of time online, especially at night.
- You find pornography on your child's computer.
- Your child receives phone calls from people you don't know or is making calls to numbers you don't recognize.
- Your child turns the computer off or quickly changes the screen on the monitor when you come into the room.
- Your child becomes withdrawn from the family. Offenders try to drive wedges between a child and their family, trying to accentuate any minor problems at home a child may have.
- Your child is using an online account belonging to someone else. Sex offenders will sometimes provide potential victims with a computer account for communications with them.
Write down as much information as possible—including the screen name or e-mail address of the person who contacted the child, the URL of the chat room and the date and time of contact. Report the incident to the local police department or FBI.
In addition, you can contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's cyber tipline at 800-THE-LOST. This tipline collects leads from individuals reporting the sexual exploitation of children.