- Family and Parenting
Internet Perdators | Cyber Age Predators
Internet predators are adults who are after minor victims to satisfy their abusive desires. In reality sex-offenders are required to be registered so that everybody in their neighborhood knows about them and take precautions. On the Internet things are different. An Internet predator doesn't need to be physically close to your child to have access to him/her. With the anonymity that comes with the Internet anyone can pretend to be anything they want.
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The horror stories all over the news could have been prevented. Children need to be educated about Internet safe practices, and the parents need to have monitoring over their children's use of the Internet. At least if something goes wrong they'll have something to start with.
Don't Guess it. Learn it.
Internet Predators Common Approaches
First we need to know where to get information about any teenager, then we'll know how predators approach them.
Preteens and teenagers exchange information on the Internet on their blogs, via emails, in chat rooms, social networks, on forums, and game sites. All of the services on the Internet require that you register an account, but no one is checking whether you provided the right Information or not. And most of the time, nobody cares!
Predators can get access to their preys' information either by participating in these services and directly communicating with the kids, especially during the after school and evening time, or if they are smart ones they can use free resources on the Internet to fake a social service that appeals to their victims and get them to create an account. They end up collecting tons of information from unsuspecting kids that they can either use to blackmail them into sexual acts (or whatever they want), sell them as leads, or to physically approach the victim.
From the information that kids exchange the predators could plan for their approaches. For example, a teenage girl is complaining that no body seems to understand her. The predator could build his (or her) approach on compassion and better understanding. Other examples extend to anything else, like help with the homework, providing restricted material ... anything.
How to Stop Internet Predators?
The first line of defense against Internet predators is communication with your kids. Kids tend to speak openly about anything with anyone. Our job is to educate them about the danger, where to anticipate it, how to prevent it, and what to do if it happens.
Always keep an open channel of communications with your kids. Make sure they know you are the right person to talk to and to get information from. If you don't know as much about the Internet as your kids (very common) set a time to get together with your kids to teach you about the Internet and computers.
Make sure your kids know that they can never share full names, birth dates, addresses, phone numbers, school names, pictures ... with strangers or post them on public places on the Internet.
Then comes your supervision. If you can keep the computer in a public area in your house the do it. If you are like me and every one has his/her machine, and even with one computer case, there are two pieces of software that you mush install on all of your household computer devices:
1. An Adult Material Blocker: Not only for adult material, but you can block any website that you think is a source of trouble.
2. A Monitoring Software: This will keep you in the know even if you kids are not cooperating for any reason. It keeps track of everything that has happened on the computer; websites, emails, chat conversations ... every thing. Such data can be used as an evidence in case they are needed.