Children and teenagers spend time online and in social networking situation to meet new friends. As a parent, it may not be easy to tell them that their new friends could have bad intentions, or might not actually be teenagers at all. Statistics show that more than 20% of children who spend time on the Internet have received an unwanted sexual advance. The fact is, predators use the Internet to take advantage of children. The process that these predators use to manipulate children that they are targeting online is known as “grooming”.

Predators use flattery, appeals for sympathy, offers of gifts, offers of money, or even job offers to attract their victims. Groomingis a prcess that takes place over a long period of time, as the predator attempts to develop a relationship with your child. Pedophiles know how to flatter children and appeal to their need for friendship. The predator may present themselves to your child as a lonely teenager or child of the same age, and attempt to arrange an in-person meeting. They may also present themselves as a misunderstood young adult .Either way, as a parent is important to know who your children are interacting with on the Internet.

Something to keep in mind is that grooming is a highly individualized process. Predators target each child individually, and use different techniques for different children. They tailor their comments and questions to the individual situation, making them especially dangerous. Pedophiles and predators asks children series of questions over a period of time, slowly gathering the information that they need. For example, a pedophile may casually ask a child where the computer is in the House, as if they are curious, when they are actually trying to determine whether or not a parent is present. They may see a photo of your child, and flatter them about their appearance, suggesting that they can get them into modeling as a career. Of course, there is no real modeling job, and they are merely try to get more photographs of your child or arrange an in person meeting.

The main goal of an online predator is, after all, to arrange in-person meeting. These meetings can lead to sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, kidnapping, or violence. For this reason, it is especially important that you remind your child about the dangers of meeting anyone online in person. We as adults have a different perspective on the situation. Keep in mind, that pedophiles and groomers spend a lifetime learning how to get children to open up and reveal their secrets. You’re up against multiple self-taught experts whose goal was to harm your child. For this reason, it’s impossible to be too careful. If you suspect that your child is engaged in suspicious behavior online, consider installing parental control software on your computer to monitor their activities. This is the only real way to ensure that your child is safe and to monitor their actions when you can’t be present.

Have a great day!