Modern teens get their first taste of freedom online. While a teenager might feel stuck at home without a driver’s license, they can find limitless friends to chat with on the internet. Every parent fears that their child will meet the wrong online friend – a predator.
Online forums and chatting applications make it easy to get in touch with web users throughout California. Unfortunately, some people use these sources to lure kids into inappropriate virtual relationships.
How sex offenders lure victims online
Sex offenders use repeated techniques to lure children online. Predators use attention, flattery and feelings of being close to entice children into online relationships. Teens that feel alone or confused more easily fall into these traps. The offender will use lures to solicit intimate images or sexual conversations. Ultimately, predators seek personal information.
Online predators become much more dangerous after obtaining a teen’s picture, name, address, phone number or school. They may use the information to arrange a meet-up or to stalk a child. Teens who send revealing photos to predators are commonly blackmailed for more photos.
What can parents do?
While limiting access to the internet may be healthy for your teen, it will not prevent the risk of sex offenders attempting to contact them. Teenagers have too many access points to the internet, including at school, on their phones and at their friend’s houses. The best thing a parent can do is to communicate with and support their child.
Isolated and at-risk youth are most vulnerable to sex offenders. You are already one step ahead by supporting your teen. You can take further measures to protect them by having a conversation about online predators. You should teach your teen never to send nude or suggestive photos to anyone online. Not only could they be blackmailed, but the images will no longer be in their control, and may be circulated online. Ultimately, if an incident occurs, parents should contact authorities immediately and an attorney to determine their options.