Talking to kids about online predators
Talking to a teen about online predators
While it's not necessarily likely that your child will be contacted by a predator, the danger does exist. Below are some guidelines you can tell your kids to help them stay safe from online predators.
- Avoid using suggestive screen names or photos. These can result in unwanted attention from online predators.
- If someone is flattering you online, you should be wary. Although many people online are genuinely nice, predators may use flattery to try to start a relationship with a teen. This doesn't mean you need to be suspicious of everyone, but you should be careful.
- Don't talk to anyone who wants to get too personal. If they want to talk about things that are sexual or personal, you should end the conversation. Once you get pulled into a conversation (or a relationship), it may be more difficult to stop.
- Keep in mind that people are not always who they say they are. Predators may pretend to be children or teenagers to talk to kids online. They may use a fake profile picture and add other profile details to appear more convincing.
- Never arrange to meet with someone you met online. Predators may try to arrange a face-to-face meeting with a child or teen. Even if the person seems nice, this can be dangerous.
- Tell a parent or trusted adult if you encounter a problem. If anyone makes you feel uncomfortable online, you should tell a parent or trusted adult immediately. You should also save any emails or other communication because they may be needed as evidence.
You can visit the Crimes Against Children Research Center to view statistics and tips for talking to your kids about online predators.