We sometimes hear about sexual predators who abuse children of various ages. Those stories sound shocking and frightening. But most of us still think that it happens elsewhere, but our neighborhood.
However, many cases of child sexual assault remain unreported. This makes identifying the danger for other kids almost impossible. It means that if a child falls victim to a predator, no one is likely to help. That’s why parents need to be educated about protecting a child from predators.
This also concerns online predators who can assault your child even when you’re watching TV in the room next door.
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What Is an Online Predator?
Before we talk about ways to protect your child from the dangers on the Internet, let’s clarify the cyber predator definition.
Online predators are mostly adults who seek kids vulnerable to sexual, emotional, or psychological abuse. They choose children who experience difficult emotional conditions or have problems inside of a family and befriend them.
Predators thrive best in online chat rooms, forums, and instant messaging apps to locate and communicate with kids. Online predators are usually between the ages of 18-55 years and predominantly males.
Online predators slowly target their victims through attention and kindness. They spend a large amount of time listening to their problems, sharing hobbies, and playing the role of a caring friend.
They are very sly, so they sexualize relations with a child gradually starting from discussing sex and ending up with getting explicit content from the victim. In the end, predators harass a kid to share their naked photos and videos with others and pressure them to meet up.
How to Protect Your Children from Online Predators: 5 Steps to Safe Childhood
1. Teach Kids Data Privacy
Chased by the wish to be popular on social media, kids often neglect with consequences of revealing their personal information online. As a parent, you need to consider teaching your child how to protect their personal details on the Internet.
Check out these basic safety rules:
- Don’t share your phone number or address details;
- Consider using a nickname instead of your real name and surname;
- Avoid sharing your location;
- Don’t text with strangers;
- Turn off commenting your posts for everyone, except close friends;
- Never follow links from the people you don’t know.
2. Be a Digital Parent
If you want to know what your child is up to online, consider joining their community. Create an account on Instagram or Snapchat and befriend your child. As their digital friend, you’ll be able to see what they share on the web and who comments on their posts.
What’s more, you can sign up for educational channels and share links to interesting resources with your child.
3. Build Trusting Relationships
Children who have close, trusting relations with their parents are less likely to get into trouble. Setting friendly and open communication with your son or daughter is a key to safe and happy well-being.
Here some tips on how to be a better parent for your child:
- Talk with your kid as frequently as possible. Discuss their problems and always suggest a way out;
- Don’t scold them for making a mistake. It’s natural if you want their life to be perfect. But you need to remember that making mistakes is a part of a human’s life;
- Give your kids space and privacy, but keep watching them.
4. Talk About Safety in Chat Rooms
Parents need to educate kids about safety in chat rooms, as online predators often use them to lure their victim. Explain to your child why they should never engage in private chats, especially those that involve a video camera.
If your child wants to chat, they need to stay in the public chat rooms with people they know. You can also remind them to follow data safety tips from Step 1, described earlier in this article.
5. Use A Parental Control App
Telling your kids what they should do and what they shouldn’t do can be pretty challenging. It especially concerns elder kids who protest against any rules set by parents.
In this case, you can consider installing a parental control app on your child’s cell phone. A tool, such as mSpy, can provide you with the full insight into your child’s online activity.
With the help of mSpy you can:
- see sent and received messages;
- view call logs;
- monitor social media apps (Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook, etc);
- track GPS locations;
- view the list of visited websites;
- check out connected Wi-Fi locations.
Although mSpy can prevent your child from getting into trouble online, you need to keep in mind that it’s not a cure. Responsible parenting comes with a combination of education and monitoring.
Final Thoughts: How to Prevent Online Predators from Contacting My Child?
Parents need to be involved in their kids’ online activities. However, they don’t necessarily need to take part directly. As an option, adults can monitor their children’s cell phones remotely with a parental control app.
Using a monitoring tool, such as mSpy, can be beneficial. Once installed on your kid’s phone, it allows you to see all chats on Facebook, Snapchat, LINE, Viber, Tinder, and other apps. So, if an online predator is targeting your kid, you will know about it and stop them before it’s too late.
What’s more, mSpy makes it possible to see contacts in your kid’s phone book, view their call log details, record their cell phone screen remotely, and get keyword alerts when they use restricted words.