Instant Messaging and Sexual Predators

Instant messaging software allows your child to communicate with the outside world from the comfort of your own home. While sitting at their computer, they can be sharing their thoughts and feelings with someone across town, across the state, or across the world. This amazing software has its uses, and can even be educational. However, as a parent is important that you are aware of the dangers of instant messaging software. More and more sexual predators are using the Internet to lure in children.

Sexual predators target children using instant messaging software. By meeting the kids on their own turf, they can appear as just another teenager, making them even more dangerous. It is a note of verifiable fact that sexual predators use instant messaging software to groom children and teenagers. Your child may be chatting with someone that appears to be their own age, but is actually an adult sexual predator. They gradually for relationship with your child, and then began to groom them as a victim. Posing as another teen, they spend their time gathering information about the child that they are grooming. Gradually, they learn identifying information such as names, birth dates, names of family members, or the location of your child school. This allows them to form an even closer bond with your child.

Police officers have achieved amazing results by posing as children and teenagers, and then approaching children and teenagers online. With a little coaxing, the targeted children soon disclosed a massive amount of personal information, including their names, locations and schools. The parents were shocked by the amount of information disclosed, and the children were shocked to learn that their “friend” was actually adult law enforcement officer.

Don’t wait until it’s too late to enforce rules in your home. Take the time today to draft a policy or set of rules for your household, and post them prominently near your computer.Include specific guidelines for instant messaging programs, and set clear consequences when the rules are broken. Be sure to emphasize the danger involved with disclosing personal information online. Also emphasize how important it is for your children to never meet anyone in person that they originally met over the Internet. After all, if your children never disclose anything personal in the first place, it will be impossible for a sexual predator to track them down. Another fact that it is important to reinforce with your children is that they may not know who they are speaking with over Instant Messenger. You may even want to make a house rule that they don’t chop with anyone that they don’t know in real-life. This will prevent sexual predators from gaining entrance into your children’s lives using a computer.

Have a great day!