How to Protect Your Children from Online Sex Predators

Probably the one thing parents worry about most when it comes to their children and the Internet is their child falling victim to an online sex predator. 

How to Protect Children from Online Sex PredatorsThere are many horror stories out there about sex predators who found their victims online, so such concern is understandable.  Worse, it may be warranted.

Because the Internet allows anyone to be anonymous, allows predators to track down victims with the seemingly most innocent of information, and because children don’t have the experience or judgment to be wary of what are actually strangers, it’s up to parents to give them the tools they need to protect themselves, even if parents also choose to use parental controls or Internet filtering software.

Sure, you could lock your child in her room and never let her on a computer, but even that might not protect her.  After all, the Internet can be accessed from practically anywhere, and you don’t even need a computer to do it.

That being the case, parents should educate their children as to the dangers out there.  Parents should consider showing their children the local online sex offender registry.  It’s one thing to talk about predators.  It’s another thing to show them photos…and how close they are to home.

Parents also need to teach their children how to keep personal information to themselves.  Not only should children know not to put their name and address online, but they also need to know and accept that they shouldn’t fill out online surveys or enter online contests.  They also shouldn’t provide information that would identify their school, their town, their friends…nothing.  Online sex predators are excellent at figuring out who someone is from the simplest of information.  For example, if your child reveals that she is a cheerleader for the Bobcats and her email address is in the Kansas City area, it’s not hard to figure out where your child goes to school.

Above all, parents need to let their children know they are loved and can talk to their parents about anything.  Children who feel loved are far less likely to be vulnerable to the online sex predators out there.

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