Is My Child A Target For Internet Predators

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Thankfully, the answer is probably not. Most children use the internet to socialize with friends and pursue budding interests. They manage to steer clear of the dangerous predators lurking in chat rooms and other forums who slyly manipulate their way into electronic networks of school-age friends to find and groom the next vulnerable child for future exploitation. While most children are safe on the internet, as you read these words some are in danger. Is your child one of these unfortunate few? How would you know before it is too late?

Given the risks, parents cannot feel secure with the mere probability their child will be safe. Even “good” or “smart” children are still just children and make, or can be induced to make, bad decisions with tragic consequences. Short of physically being present during your child’s every encounter with the internet, there is no way for a parent to be 100% sure their child has not been contacted by a predator. Parents need to know the characteristics of typical victims, the warning signs a predator has entered your child’s life, and steps they can take to protect their children.

Characteristics of typical victims:

* Most but not all victims are between the age of 12 and 15 years old.

* Most victims have an instant message account (most kids do) but have not set up privacy or security settings to block strangers and, in fact, willingly engage in conversations with strangers.

* Most victims tend to live in suburban or rural towns.

* Most victims are very sheltered and na

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