One in four US teen girls reported they met strangers on the internet. One in seven boys said they did too. While most of these "Internet friends" turn out to be another teen of preteen, that's not always the case for some of these people. Children are now dying at the hands of their internet child molesters and it is not all sexually motivated crimes.
Some child molesters are blackmailing children into performing sexual acts in the comfort of their own homes, on webcams. The teens may have thought it was a cute fourteen year old boy/girl they were chatting with, but they did not know the person in real life and they developed a trusting relationship with the person they were interacting with online.
There are many different things parents and teens can do to lower the chance for a teen to get themselves into this situation. The parents can restrict the hours that kids can spend online. As a general rule, the later at night one is on line, the more suspect activity that occurs. Parents should ask their child what they are doing online. They should sit down with them from time to time and see what they are doing. Another good thing for parents to do is to point out some stories in the newspaper about cyber predators or look for other sources of information in their communities and schools.
Using a cell phone to send and receive text messages and/or images, is very similar to using email or instant messaging and some of the same safety rules apply. Your cell phone can be a direct link between you and spammers, scammers, identity thieves, online predators and cyber bullies. Using instant messaging (IM) to send and receive messages and files, images. Some of the safety rules like e-mail and/or SMS messaging apply. Your instant messaging program can be a direct link between you and online predators. Some of the Basic safety tips to instant messaging are choose a non identifiable, not gender specific screen name. Never give out any personal information while using IM. Never accept files or downloads from people you DO NOT KNOW! Never arrange to meet someone offline that you only know through IM conversations. Make sure you know how to save copies of your IM conversations. Remember your Netiquette and be nice.
Twenty percent of parents do not monitor their children's use of the internet at all. Only 52 percent of parents moderately supervise their children's internet use. An estimated 62 percent of teens report that their parents know little or nothing about their Web activities. Seventy-one percent of all parents stop monitoring their child's use of the internet after the child turns 14, not knowing that 72 percent of all internet-related missing children are 15 years of age or older. Internet predators take advantage of the lack of responsible adult supervision of children using the internet. Like many criminals, pedophiles try to decriminalize or normalize their crimes. Even Ted Bundy said that he was a misunderstood. However, there is a concerted agenda that pedophiles are pushing to increase their chances of having sex with children.
Here is a story about a girl who met a man online and he killed her. A 17 year old girl was killed by a 32 year old man. She had meet him on the internet in an online chat room and then arranged to have a meeting face to face. Her attacker is believed to have gagged her with gaffer tape in a car and killed her. Her friends said she had spoken of having met someone on the internet who claimed to be a 16 year old boy. "I would say to parents and to children 'Please, please, please be absolutely sure who you are talking to'," said Detective Chief Inspector Paul Hacker.
- Internet Predators. 1 December 2009 <http://www.wiredsafety.org/internet_predators/index.html>.
- PC's and Dreams. 1 Dcember 2009 <http://www.wiredsafety.org/internet_predators/index.html>.
- Protecting Our Kids. 1 December 2009 <http://www.wiredsafety.org/internet_predators/index.html>.