Is your child at risk online? Here are five questions for parents to reduce the risk that your child would become a victim of online exploitation, sextortion, or sex trafficking.
What is your child’s age and gender?
- Teens and preteens (11-15) are most vulnerable as they are most curious about sex and most naïve about predators.
- Girls are targeted and exploited 5 times more than boys.
- Talk to her about making friends online and sharing photos.
Have you reviewed the apps, messages, calls, and images on your child’s phone?
- Look for unusually suggestive images or conversations. Talk about it with your child.
- Do her conversations include new slang, or her appearance become overly sexualized?
- Does your child not allow access to her device? Is she becoming isolated or hiding their device?
Is your child meeting new ‘friends’ that they’ve only known through the Internet?
- Does she know them in real life? Do they strive to get many followers or to become famous?
- Does she have a new boyfriend —particularly an older one? Is she hiding a boyfriend or not willing to introduce family or friends to him?
- Is she prone to run away, perhaps to meet her friend?
Have you searched for dangerous apps on your child’s phone?
- Predators know which apps parents screen and will move the conversation with your child to another account or a secret chat app. Look for these 20+ Most Dangerous Apps
- Does your child have a second device and/or multiple accounts on social media?
- Consider getting apps that detect dangerous apps, monitor app use, and do location tracking with alerts, like the OffenderWatch SVN App.
Have you had a conversation with your child on online safety, how they choose friends, and how to respond should anyone make them feel uncomfortable or suggest something inappropriate?
- Review these Tips for Talking to children about sex offenders.
- Is your Child at Risk Online? Consider checking for offenders nearby, and monitoring the movement and communication of your child with the OffenderWatch SVN App.
- If you suspect abuse, immediately contact local law enforcement office or dial 911 or contact the CyberTipline 1-800-THE LOST.