One of the main reasons children are groomed into trafficking is because they are looking for approval and support that they may not be getting at home. Childhood and adolescence can be a very trying time where children struggle with peer pressure, bullying, and social pressures. This can lead them to make questionable choices so that they can fit in.
By creating an environment where your child can talk to you and ask questions about anything without getting reprimanded, you are decreasing their vulnerability when they are faced with difficult situations. Understand that having an open dialogue with your child is crucial in circumventing them from finding their answers in places that may not be safe or appropriate.
Have age-appropriate conversations with your children about what to watch out for, and what to do if they encounter a confusing or inappropriate situation.
Listen. Address their questions and concerns. Let them know they can always come to you for any reason, and you will always listen and take appropriate action.
Supplement the education that your child is receiving in school by providing appropriate informative content. Teach them what meaningful relationships look like and the difference between someone who is only interested in them for their body versus someone who has genuine, good intentions.
Teach them when and how to say no. Lead by example and show them that it’s okay for you as a parent to say no to certain things. Help them understand that they have the autonomy to make positive choices and that you are there to back them up.
Teach your child there is no situation that is bad enough where they cannot reach out to you for help. Encourage open, honest communication. They should know they can report anything to you without fear of consequences.
Create a plan where they can use a secret word or phrase to alert you to a negative situation, and always go to them. Make sure they have your phone number and address memorized and know how to contact you in case of an emergency.
Realize that it’s your responsibility to know what they’re doing online: what apps they’re using, who they’re messaging and calling, and what pictures and videos they’re sending and receiving. When it comes to your children, safety comes before privacy. Monitoring them is not optional.
Have the passwords to their phone and social media platforms. Route their texts and online activity to your phone. Keep tabs on everything that your child is doing on their phone, computer, and video game console with these monitoring and parental control apps. By doing so, you are minimizing the possibility that they could be getting targeted by predators.
Don't forget about video games with online chat rooms. Predators have been increasingly targeting children via video games such as Fortnite.
We must not allow our children to be easy targets.
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