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What Are Some of the Practices of Online Predators?

The anonymity that the Internet offers has allowed online predators to easily cultivate online connections with unsuspecting teens and young children. In addition to using parental controls, it is important to stay educated on the practices of online predators so you can better protect your children online when they are using the Internet.

Practices of Online Predators

There are many practices that online predators use to target young people and children. Here are a few of the common practices that online predators use.

Communications Applications: Online predators use communications applications such as chat, online gaming chats, instant messaging, social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook, email, and discussion boards to stalk children who use the Internet to communicate with their friends.

Education: Online predators spend hours educating themselves on the interests of young people right down to the type of music they like. This allows the predator to initiate and sustain a conversation with a young person that appears to be on their level and sounds like it is coming from someone their age.

Listening to Conversations: Online predators hang out in chat rooms and listen to conversations and use software to eavesdrop on instant messaging conversations until they discover a vulnerability in the young person or child. Once they are aware of their needs, they target their prey by offering understanding and kindness and providing the attention that the young person is seeking.

Evaluation: Online predators are usually the ones that initiate the conversation with their victim and use the skills they have honed to artfully carry on communications. Usually they remain in the communications phase for a period of time so they can evaluate the situation to find out if contact in person is possible.

How to Provide Child Protection

  • Use parental controls to filter out chat rooms, email, instant messaging, and social networking sites.
  • Talk to and educate your children on the dangers of online predators just as you would talk to them about the dangers out on the street.
  • Place the family PC in a central location of your home and in a position where you can see the screen at all times.
  • Make sure your child understands that a stranger can easily pose as one of their friends online.
  • Find out what protective measures are being taken on the computers your child uses in school or any other computers they use outside of your household.
  • Make sure your child keeps their identity private when using the Internet by using a generic user name and keeping their social networking page private.
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