When a child starts spending a lot of their time online, they become an easy target for online predators.
Instead of spending time in the neighborhood with their friends or hanging out with other children from school, kids who stay online tend to prefer communicating with online strangers via social networking websites, forums, instant messaging, and chat rooms.
All these online platforms are where pedophiles and predators can find vulnerable kids.
Parents need to think about the access to the World Wide Web they have provided to their children.
For example, a lot of kids tend to stay up late in front of the computer or using handheld devices. This is also the time parents or other grownups aren’t monitoring their kids and controlling what they are up to on the web.
To protect kids from online predators, you need to know about certain behaviors, and how to look up someone online should they exhibit it.
What are the signs of predatory behavior?
Recognizing online predators isn’t as easy as it sounds, but it is doable.
Such predators seem to be just like others sitting in front of a computer, and you have no idea about their intentions.
They make use of fake accounts that present false information and pictures, thus making it hard to tell if the person on the other side is a genuine individual or not. Kids might begin talking to them because predators could be presenting themselves as being young as they are.
Online predators are present everywhere. According to the United Nations and FBI, at any instant, there are around 750,000 predators online.
Before you decide to look up someone, here are a few common signs that can help you realize whether the person your child is talking to is taking advantage of their innocence.
They always sound nice and courteous
To many, this sounds quite unbelievable; however, predators online sound very nice, almost too good to be true. In fact, the most dangerous predators sound the most genuine and they have real, meaningful conversations with teenagers and children in a safe, non-threatening environment like an online chat room or social media.
They want to have a one-on-one conversation
Online predators aim to have a conversation in private in such places where other people can’t hear or see what the predator has to say. For this, they can use a number of platforms like inbox messaging, Skype, Google Hangout, or WhatsApp.
Instead of exposing themselves in public, they prefer to keep everything private. This way the public won’t see them liking a picture or commenting on it on Facebook because if the predator does have bad intentions, they wouldn’t want the police or a child’s family to see it.
They subtly ask for personal information
Online predators want to know everything there is about their target including what school they go to, their birthday, full name, as well as their address. They want to have as much information as they can get to come closer to their target.
Of course, they wouldn’t blatantly ask for all such information. They aren’t direct when asking for information; instead, they pull out information by making small talk. For example, they might mention they live near to a famous landmark even if it isn’t true. So, in turn, when you make a comment about a place you live near to provides them with important information without them having to ask for it directly.
They already know a few things about you
Online predators are known for doing research. They’ll try to initiate a conversation with their target by sharing information about them which they got from stalking their public messages, images, comments, etc.
They show a lot of interest
While they might already know a few things about a child or teenager, they constantly want to know more. For example, they might want to know about their target’s day and how it went, and may even ask about their friends.
They will ask anything they can to keep the conversation going. The more a child interacts with the predator and start to trust them, the easier it gets for them to ask the child personal questions (address, school, etc.) without making the child suspicious.
They agree with you on everything
Regardless of the topic being talked about, online predators agree with everything. The purpose behind them agreeing in such a manner is to build a bond of trust.
Why looking someone up for a criminal record is tough
It’s important to ensure that the individuals your child is talking to online aren’t sexual predators. Also, take note that a majority of sexual predators in the United States don’t have criminal records, making it hard to look someone up.
Victims also hesitate to report the crime for a number of valid reasons. Primarily, the criminal justice system doesn’t do a good job of supporting victims through dealing with such disturbing experiences. Instead of making the victim feel secure, they make them feel as if the crime was their own fault.
The interrogation done by the law enforcement is, for many (especially teenagers and kids), a traumatic experience.
Look up someone with these tools
There are various tools you can use to look up someone. Doing a criminal background check by using software such as KidGuard’s Background Search can block 20% of sex offenders. Therefore, it is vital to use other screening procedures so that you can detect the remaining 80% sex offenders that don’t have a record.
A reference check is the best screening solution. Today, there is a great tool for performing high-quality reference checks quickly and cheaply. It is known as the version two of RapidRefCheck which is an automated, candidate-driven software.
Once you enter the reference, the system sends back surveys. It also collects, as well as scores the results in an easy to read report.
Wrapping It Up
While the World Wide Web has a lot of information and allows people to stay in contact, grownups should educate their kids regarding online sexual predators. Although, parents and caretakers can always look up someone suspicious, they should create a bond of trust with kids and teenagers that allows them to be forward about the individuals they’re interacting with online.