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Warning Signs: Children at Risk for Online Predators

The internet was invented to provide a one stop shop for people seeking knowledge and information. Children and teens alike utilize the web at its full capacity, reaching even to a point that they become very prone and open to various threats. Now among those threats, online predators are the most dangerous.

 

It is estimated that only a third of American households that have internet connection use programs or software that help filter content for a safer

web access for children. Because of this, total internet freedom results in higher risks of being victimized by manipulative and sexually perverted individuals. Now here are some disquieting facts:

 

  •  Roughly 25% of American children and teens are exposed to sexually explicit content online.
  •  One in five American teens gets and receives sexual solicitations from strangers when they go online.
  • With the number reaching thousands, only 25% of these teens and children confess the solicitation to their parents or family. Most keep it to themselves.
  • More than half of children who have internet access agree on sharing personal information online in exchange for gifts, favors, or other stuff.

Profiling a “High Risk” Child

Always bear in mind that any child is potential prey for online predators. With that reality, you cannot ignore the kind of risk your kids are facing when they use the internet. However, not every child becomes a victim, and it’s important to understand what makes a child high risk for exploitation. The likely victims of online exploitation and abuse have a certain profile that may include the following:

 

  • Most of victims are eleven to sixteen years old.
  • A large number of victims reside in rural places or suburbs.
  • Children who are likely searching for love, care, and attention lacking in the family.
  • A type of person who does not regularly go out and lacks a definite number of friends in the neighborhood.
  • Whose parents are either separated or divorced.
  •  A child who lacks confidence and self-esteem.
  • Someone who sees himself as emotionally weak and needs online companionship.
  • A type of personality that devotes most of his time searching and surfing the internet.

Those are the most common characteristics of children or teens that become very exposed to online predators. Though their behaviors can lead to their own abuse, blame should not be placed onto them. They are deceived and lured by manipulative people who pose as someone younger. Online predators build friendly and romantic relationships that will eventually lead to sexual exploitation.

If you know someone who fits this profile, make it a point to actively keep open communication and a protective eye on them as much as you can.


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