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The Tricks Online Predators Use On Your Kids
If you think online predators are blunt and obvious, consider this story:
If you think online predators are blunt and obvious, consider this story about internet safety: Jessica (not her real name) is 12 years old. In the world's eyes, she's just a child. But she feels like an adult. It bothers her that her teachers and her parents treat her like a little kid. To cap things off, Jessica gets in a fight with her mom because her mom won't let her wear make-up. That night she goes online. She checks her Myspace account and finds a new friend request from an unknown man. She usually deletes these requests but he says that he wants to be her friend because he can tell that she's mature. Finally, somebody gets it. Within minutes, they're chatting via instant messenger. Thomas (not his real name either, he's actually a 45 year old construction worker named Mark) tells her that her parents are being unreasonable and that Jessica should be able to wear make-up if she wants to. After all, she is already a young adult. Jessica loves hearing this. Finally, somebody who gets her. Thomas has just driven the first wedge between Jessica and her parents. It's all downhill from here. He even offers to mail her some expensive make-up. Jessica agrees. Within seconds, she emails her home address to this stranger. The game begins. A few days later, Jessica gets a package in the mail. True to his word, the stranger sent some very expensive make-up and perfumes over. Jessica enjoys experimenting with the different shades and finding out which combinations make her look older. But the stranger also sent a little something extra. He included a webcam and he's asking her to pose in front of the camera so he can see how the make up looks. Jessica's eager to please her new friend so she complies. Over the next 4 months, the stranger continues to shower Jessica with gifts and compliments. He makes her feel good about herself. He makes her fall in love with his words and his ways. So when he suggests that they meet up in real life, she's thrilled. She puts on her make-up, slips into a fancy dress (the one that he sent her) and sneaks out of the house at 2 in the morning and into his waiting car. The taillights vanish into the night and Jessica is never seen or heard from again. What Every Parent Needs To Know Child predators aren't dumb. They enjoy the pursuit of your children and they will often spend months slowly seducing your child. You've got to fight fire with fire. If your child has internet access, you need to be 100% aware of what's going on at all times. The best way to do this? Invest in a service that secretly monitors your child's online activities and sends you a report detailing their chat histories, emails sent and websites visited. It may seem like you're prying into their personal life but consider the alternative.