Why You Should Be Concerned About Children Unknowingly Interacting with Predators

Technology presents some unique challenges for young children especially with the Internet offering individuals who prey on youth even more outlets to attack.

Want proof? Intel Security recently released a study, entitled The Realities of Cyber Parenting: What Pre-teens and Teens Are Up To Online, that contains some very strong findings concerning children and online predators. Some highlights include:

  • 27% of teens polled said they have met or would meet a stranger they met online.
  • 35% of the teens polled admitted to being a cyberbully.
  • 29% of those surveyed disclosed that they knew other people’s account passwords.
  • 38% of teens who knew other people’s passwords said they used those passwords to view private photos.
  • 24% of teens who knew other people’s passwords said they used the passwords to “dig up dirt.”

The realities uncovered in this study, as well as in real stories like the video above, are proof that both parents and teachers should be very concerned about children’s online interactions.

Now, of course, the Internet shouldn’t be made off limits for children out of fear of what could happen. But it’s important to understand fully the risks and set appropriate boundaries and rules. Here are some topics you can discuss with your students or with parents who can have these conversations with their children at home.

  • Talk about the risks associated with online activity. Be open and honest.
  • Set ground rules for online behavior. Let them know that you will monitor their behavior and explain the consequences for not following the rules.
  • Explore the activities children participate in online. Don’t be afraid to create your own accounts so you can understand how the various platforms work.
  • Explain that passwords are non-negotiable. They should never share them under any circumstance.
  • Be the exception to the password rule. Parents should most certainly have the passwords to their children’s social media accounts as well as their mobile devices.