Always an issue. Just when you think you know what to do, what to look for, questions to ask…the predators become more savvy. Because of this, this is a must read article.
Taken from micheleborba.com
Troubling research about kids’ online smarts. Parenting advice to keep your child and teen safer online.
Studies show that predators are using more subtle and savvier ways to “befriend” kids including pretending to be another teen or child as a means of forming a relationship. The purpose of this blog is not to scare you or have you overreact and pull the plug on your computer. The chance that your child will be befriended by an online predator is rare. That said, over the last few months a few parents have contacted me about their children who did encounter online predators. Two teen girls left with those men who groomed them online. Their parents are trying desperately to reunite with their daughters. Both families recognized these warnings only after I shared them and urged me to post them. “If we’d only known,” they said. So, not to scare you, just to educate you and hopefully save you from the heartbreak those parents are now enduring.
The Predator’s Grooming Process
“Sex Predator” is a universal parent nightmare. The term alone sends shock-waves through every bone in our body. University of New Hampshire’s Crimes Against Children Research Center survey rejects the idea that the Internet is an especially perilous place for minors, but finds that the nature of online sex crimes against minors changed little between 2000 and 2006. We also know online predators do exist, are a very real threat, and use the anonymity of the Internet to their advantage. Predators can be a he or a she, young or old, rich or poor, or any race or zip code. Law enforcement officers are noting most a change in the profile of the adult offenders. The proportion of younger adult offenders, aged 18-25, rose from 23 percent to 40 percent of arrests in cases with actual underage victims. The researchers hypothesize that the age shift may be a consequence of younger adults, who came of age online, more likely to seek out victims on the Internet than elsewhere.
Regardless of age, predators have one commonality: they are master manipulators when it comes to kids. Online predators rarely swoop in lure children or teens into quickly meeting at the local park and then abducting them. Instead, they build a relationship with the child online and slowly develop trust. Their “Grooming Process” can take several months in which their goal is to create a comfortable bond between predator and child. That bond is difficult to track but does give parents time if you are monitoring your child and your child’s online presence.
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