Internet Smarts: Protecting your child in the information age.

Did you know…

  • One in five teenagers who log on to the internet say they have received an unwanted sexual solicitation via the web.
  • Only 25% of those told a parent.
  • 1 in 20 children have been asked to undress during livestreams.

Listen And Be Proactive

One reason that children get sucked into the world of trafficking is because they are looking for approval and support that they may not be getting at home. Adolescence can be a very trying time where children and teens struggle with peer pressure, bullying, and other types of social pressures and make questionable choices so that they can fit in. By creating an environment where your child or teen can talk to you and ask questions without getting reprimanded, you decrease the possibility of vulnerability that may come with these situations.

Know What Your Child is Doing

Review every text your child gets and sends by having them routed to your phone, approve and understand every app your child downloads and uses, and know every password to their phone and social media accounts. While physically our children have never been safer, igt has never been easier for predators to contact and luree their victims out to them. By keeping tabs on everything that your child is doing on their phone, you minimize the possibility that they could be getting targeted by predators. Understand that when it comes to your child, safety comes before privacy.

Know It's OK To Say No

Teach your teen that it’s okay to say no and that there is no situation that is bad enough that they can’t reach out to you for help. Start by leading by example and understanding that it’s okay for you as a parent to say no to certain things, then have conversations with your teen to help them understand that they have the autonomy to make positive choices and that you are there to back them up. Set up a contact plan where your teen can reach out to you to get out of negative situations without fearing repercussions.

Teach Your Child About Relationships

Supplement the education child gets in school by providing appropriate informational content and having discussions where they can ask you questions and get their answers from a safe source. Understand that having an open dialogue with your teen is crucial in circumventing them from finding their answers in places that may not be as safe. By learning from you, they learn about what meaningful relationships should be and the difference between someone\’s interest in them solely for their body and a relationship in which they are genuinely appreciated.

Get Counseling If Needed

If your child’s behavior is becoming disruptive, consider seeking help from a professional. Aggression, depression, and other concerning behaviors can be red flags that something might be going on in your child’s life that needs to be addressed. Additionally, dealing with those behaviors in a constructive way before they get worse can be a positive tool to avoid driving your child away and into seeking comfort from a stranger.