6 Ways for You to Protect Your Kids From Online Predators

 


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Remember MSNBC’s show; “To Catch A Predator”? It detailed the sting operation carried out in various states where internet sex predators were lured into a police trap….

A young actress would pose as a ‘real’ 13, or 14 year-old child talking with friends in a chat room online – the actress was really 18. Pretty soon, along came a new ‘friend’ to talk. After the initial ‘getting to know you’ stuff, the conversation would take an ugly turn – the newcomer would start to talk about sex. Bear in mind, this person is supposed to be another kid the same age!

In the next few minutes, this predator would suggest a meeting – maybe even that day – with the aim of actually having sex with this person that they know to be extremely underage! The details would be confirmed and the predator was on his way! When he went in, expecting to have sex, what he found was news cameras, and a presenter from MSNBC wondering why exactly he was there if he knew that this girl – or boy, they would sometimes use ‘boys’ – was only 13! After they talked, the man would leave the house, only to be immediately arrested by a bunch of police waiting outside!

What happens at your house? Are you forced to leave your kids at home while you work? They’re just old enough to take care of themselves, but just young enough to make unwise decisions…. Today, the real world picture is that parents have to work in order to survive, and unfortunately they have to leave their kids at home to do this…

These days, there are literally thousands of kids coming home to an empty house after school, or staying home during school holidays while their parents work – that’s just reality. When the parents get home, they have little energy to devote to their kids, flop in front of the tv, and leave the kids to find their own entertainment! Or maybe it’s vacation time and the kids are on their own, they’re bored with the tv now and looking to fill their time. They’re also influenced by the media into thinking that a ‘normal’ life is too boring, and they should always be looking for excitement. So, after the playstation and the tv, what are they going to turn to? The computer, of course!

So they enter an online chat room looking for new friends – sound familiar? They have no way of knowing that the person they are chatting with may be a fifty-five year-old sex offender with a list of previous convictions as long as your arm! Girls may be a little more cautious than boys, because they’re trained to be more wary by their worried parents, but boys have just as much reason to be wary…… there are plenty of predators looking for young boys to play with too! Before long, the whole scenario could be playing out with your child! There will be talk of meeting, touching, drinking alcohol and of course, sex….

Remember, your child thinks that this is someone their own age, and that all of this is simple experimentation – not for real!!

Here’s a list of some of the predators that were caught during the show:

  • A 50+ yr-old RABBI !!!!
  • A 20+ yr-old 6th grade teacher!
  • A 30+yr-old man who brought along his 3yr old!

    So, short of chaining your kids up, how do you prevent this nightmare happening in your family? Here’s a list of the top six ways to keep things like this from playing out in your house:

  • Talk to your kids! Ask them about their day – listen to their answers!

  • Watch for clues – mood swings, personality changes, a child who has previously been talkative now won’t talk – they’re hiding something!

  • Distract them! I know you’re tired, but have some serious family time! Do activities like playing card games, karaoke, bike rides – you’d be amazed how energized you can feel after one of those! They are all designed to promote togetherness as a family and keep your kids busy!

  • Serve others! Dr Phil made a family who was ‘disconnected’ go out to the local homeless shelter and prepare and serve a meal as a family! It didn’t cost anything, but the family ‘reconnected’ – and they got to help others at the same time!

  • Get your kids out of the house when you’re out! There are many programs that are low-cost or free – church programs, sports clubs, Boys and Girls Clubs, Big Brother/Sister organizations, local community center programs, find something and get them involved – it may be a fight at first, but they’ll start to like it!

  • Look at your computer! Go and fish around in your computer, see what kinds of sites they’ve been on! Don’t fool yourself into thinking that your computer-savvy kids don’t know how to get to the internet when you’re not around! My five-year-old managed to go to a cartoon site one day when I was sleeping prior to a night shift! My computer is password locked! If they want to get on there, they will – believe me!

    So, you see the secret is engaging your kids! Now, if you don’t feel that that is going to work in your house, there is another option…. .

    There is a brand new software program that anyone – even my ten-year-old can use! It’s called Desktop Snooper. It’s like having a video playing on your computer, recording all of the sites that have been visited, and more importantly, exactly what happened – as it happened! It is cheap, valuable and completely hidden on your computer. You get an unlock code when you buy it, and only you are able to unlock it and look around. When you get home from work, you just unlock it, rewind the day and reassure yourself that your kids are doing the right thing. If they’re not, you can challenge them – with the evidence right there for them to see!

    Just a couple of weeks ago, a 16 year-old flew – without her parents knowledge – to Jericho – yes, the middle east – from her home in the US to meet with her ‘boyfriend’ that she met online. Her parents had no idea until she was long gone! No-one even knew she was talking to a guy online! The FBI caught up with her in Jericho – yes, where suicide bombers live – and brought her home! Imagine how you would feel!

    Now imagine how much better you would feel if you had a way to watch out for this stuff! Now you do. Try it out, get the free demo, then buy it once you realize how easy it is to use! I think it’s an invaluable tool that all hardworking parents should use in the war against online predators, cyber boyfriends, online *** – the list goes on……. Can you afford to be without it?

    Here’s to protecting our kids!

    Claire Alvarez
    www.cyberkidwatch.com

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