How do I protect my teen from online predators?

Do you have a teen who is becoming more interested in activities involving the internet? The internet is a great platform for communicating, gaming, and learning, so it is no wonder why teens want to rush in and connect to the net straight away. However, in a world where the internet is readily accessible on computers, cellphones, tablets and more, there’s plenty of opportunities for a predator to come knocking on their door.

As a parent, the thought of a predator grabbing hold of your child on the internet is certainly terrifying. But with the right actions and steps taken, you can reduce this fear and protect your child from online predator crimes.

Educate Your Teenager About Online Predators

Young children tend to be naive about the dangers in life, and they won’t be expecting anything toxic to happen while chatting or playing games on the internet. For this reason, one of the best things to do to protect your child from online predators is to educate them thoroughly about the potential risks they face while browsing.

Warn your child about sex predators and how they use a ‘grooming process’ to gain the trust of a child before attacking them, either with sexual content or aggressive language.

Some of the grooming tactics an online predator may use includes the following:

  • ‘Let’s go to private chat’. This is very dangerous because one-on-one chats are not monitored like a regular chat room, so the predator may decide to take things in a sexual or dangerous direction while in a private chat room.
  • ‘Where is your computer located?’ If a predator find out your child’s computer is in an area where they can’t be monitored, they will feel more comfortable preying on them.
  • ‘What’s wrong? Tell me about your problem, maybe I can help’. Predators tend to prey on children who are upset, gaining their trust to use later on.

There are many other grooming tactics as well, which you can read about here.

Always warn your child that people are not always who they say they are on the internet. A supposed 14 year old girl who loves everything she/he loves could potentially be a 50 year old man preying on young children, so warn them never to trust anyone on the internet, never hand out any personal information, and never meet up with a stranger.

Establish Trust With Your Child

In the off chance your child is hit with an online predator attack, it is essential that they come to you with their issue so it can be resolved and not escalate beyond their control. That is why it is so important to establish trust with your child.

For some, this may be a harder challenge. Some teenagers go through a stage where they absolutely will not share anything with their parents, even when they are in danger. If you’re going through this terrible phase, it is more important than ever to work hard and gain their trust so they will come to you with this horrifying problem.

To establish trust with them, make sure they are well aware that you will not be angry if they succumb to the grooming tactics of an online predator. Let them know they will not be in trouble and you will do everything in your power to fix it.