Signs Your Child May Be at Risk

It can be difficult for parents to keep track of the newest social networking sites, online chat rooms, blogs, and forums. Monitoring your teenager’s online activities can seem close to impossible some days, with new websites being added to their list of favorites regularly. However, it’s crucial that you know the danger signs to watch for. These signs can be clear tip-offs that your teenager is engaged in risky behaviors on the internet.

* Spending Large Amounts of Time Online: Instant Messaging programs can quickly suck up large blocks of time. Your child is engaged in real time chats, and they may be sucked in. Predators are experts at maintaining this type of conversation for long periods of time. If you notice lengthy chat or IM sessions, be sure to ask your teen who they were chatting with.

* Online Activity at Night: Unless your teen is chatting with someone in Australia, night time chats may mean that they’re trying to hide their activities from you. Night time is quieter and more private, allowing them to keep their conversations a secret from you. Check IM logs regularly – if you notice an excessive amount of night time chatting, it’s time to ask some questions.

*Phone Calls from Strangers: If your teenager is receiving phone calls from people you don’t know, it means that they’ve been giving their phone number out. Take action to stop this behavior immediately!

*Receives Packages from People You Don’t Know: This is even more dangerous – if your teen is receiving mail from strangers, this means that someone has your home address. Discuss this with them immediately, find out if the person is an adult, and consider contacting the authorities.

* Shuts off the Monitor or Changes Screens: If your teenager regularly shuts off the monitor, switches tabs, or minimizes their browser when you enter the room, there’s something they don’t want you to see. You need to find out what they’re up to – before it’s too late!

If you notice any of these behaviors in your teenager, you need to start a conversation about sex offenders and predators as soon as possible. You need to be as honest with them as possible about the dangers involved, and the techniques that these adults use to manipulate teenagers.

You’ll also want to to put some type of monitoring software into place on your computer as soon as possible. Keyloggers, website trackers, and more are available. You’ll need this information to make your case with your teenager, to monitor their future behavior, and to keep records that you can use to report the predator to the authorities.

If you’ve noticed these behaviors, take action today! It’s essential to your teen’s safety.

Have a great day!