According to the FBI, there are an estimated 50,000 predators online at any given moment, all looking for potential victims.
When establishing contact with a child, some predators will very quickly turn to sexually explicit talk, maybe even trying to send or receive pornographic images. However, just as in the real world, predators online will usually try to build a relationship with a potential victim. They may pretend to be a girl or boy of a similar age to the child they are approaching. Online predators are usually very good at communicating with children in a manner that makes kids feel comfortable. They provide an open ear and if there are existing issues between the child and his or her parents, the predators will try to drive a further wedge to enhance the problems and gain more intimate access to the child.
Look at it this way… there are over 3 billion people online around the world. As a parent, would you allow your child to roam around a city of 3 billion people… unsupervised? When possible you should try to make sure you know what your kids are doing online. That being said, with technology comes the realization that we must educate our kids with the knowledge and skill sets to help them make the best decisions possible… both in the real world and the virtual one.
In a Dept. of Justice Report:
- 1 in 7 kids, 10 to 17 years old, were sexually solicited online
- 70% of these solicitations happen on a home computer with the remaining most often happening at a friend’s home.
- 49% of the children surveyed did not tell anyone about being solicited. (main reason given for not telling… “I was afraid they would take my computer away”)