Published on Oct 10, 2021
How to Talk to Teens About Dealing with Online Predators?
Do you want to keep your children safe from online predators? Are you worried about your child being a victim of online predators? If you want to help your kids deal with online predators, read the methods mentioned below.
You do not want your kids to spend all their time on the internet, and no parents want their children to keep staring at the computer or a smartphone doing nothing productive. There are more chances of getting exposed to scammers, online predators, and undesirable content when children spend more time on the internet.
You are concerned about your kid's safety. According to pew research, more than 70% of the parents were worried about their kid's interaction with online predators.
Online safety has been increasing concern not just for kids but for the entire family. The web can make a person's reputation good and worse in a matter of seconds.
Even though tweens and teens represent themselves as smart, they lack common sense. They don't see the bad aspects of the internet and ignore the rules of being safe online.
Because of this, children are more vulnerable to online predators. Online predators target kids and teenagers more than adults, and most teen girls are targeted by sexual predators online.
Kids may not understand how to deal with predators, so you have to help your kids deal with the problems. To deal with these issues, first, you have to understand in detail about online predators, and you need to know how they work, their types, and how to deal with them.
Who are Online Predators?
Online predators are attackers who target kids and teenagers with the goal of abuse and sexual harassment. Teenage girls are the most common targets for sexual predators online. These predators manipulate teens into thinking that they are extremely nice people. And at last, they find a way to attack children physically or mentally abuse them.
Instant messaging apps, social networking sites, chatrooms, and mobile phones are full of online predators trying to exploit internet safety. Staying safe from online predators is hard for teenagers because they do not know about them.
Since teenagers are prone to online predation, parents should work actively to control the situation. To recognize online predators, you need to know about their characteristics and types. Here are the characteristics of online predators that you must know to recognize predators:
Characteristics of Online Predators
Predators have always been a problem all over the world. But, as time passed by and with the introduction of new technology, their way of committing a crime has changed. These days many predators search for their victims online remotely. You do not know the intention of people you met online. Here's are the characters of online predators that you need to know to identify them:
Online predators are known to be highly manipulating people. They tend to apply various methods and create distractions to make their victims go off balance. And then, they use it to fulfill their desires.
Online predators are most dominant and do not fear others. They use this power of dominance and try to manipulate their victims. These predators act opposite at first and then make their victims comfortable and then start to dominate victims.
It is easy to create a fake personality on social media. Sexual predators use this downside in social sites to the fullest. They use the insecurity of victims and make them comfortable before manipulating them to do what they want.
Depersonalizing and Objectifying Others
Online predators do not see their victims as a person. Instead, they view them as an object. It's easy for them to depersonalize their victim and use them to get the most profit. They do not care about the emotions of the victim; all they care about is their benefits.
Types of online predators
All online predators do not talk to your child with similar intentions. They may have a different purpose. So to understand their aim, parents need to understand the types of online predators. Some of the types of online predators are listed below:
These types of predators are not harmful to your teens physically. But they can cause them some mental problems. The gatherers collect all the media that contain pornographic content and use it against teens. They even take the personal data of the victims to bully them.
The producers are usually people that use your kids to make some profit out of it. They use your kid's vulnerability to use them in making funny or pornographic content.
The talker uses social media or cell phones as a medium to talk to their victims. They use their online interacting skills to manipulate their victim into doing their desired task. At first, they talk to the victims as a friendly person and start to blackmail the victims.
These predators use online media to meet their victims in real life. After meeting the teens in real life, they tend to complete their desired tasks using various methods.
Methods used by online predators
To protect your child from online threats, you must know the methods these online predators use. Internet safety is as important as physical safety and should not be left out. So here are the methods used by predators to make your child feel uncomfortable and manipulate them.
Phishing is the process of collecting private data from other people without their permission. Online predators use information about teens and make them feel comfortable. Since every detail about a person is listed online, it is easy to choose a target.
Phishing is the most common method used by these predators. Collecting teens' data that contains some pornographic content. And blackmailing them is done by using this method.
Mirroring is the process of acting to understand someone's problem and using their vulnerability against them. Sexual predators use mirroring as an act.
Teens are emotionally fragile; therefore, online predators use this as an advantage. They act as if they emotionally support them and use their emotions for their own benefit.
For example, if your child faces bullying problems at school, then online predators act as if they were also bullied and know the feeling of being bullied. They try to act as if they understand their problems and act like they can help them to deal with their emotions.
Groomers are the most dangerous type of online predators. These predators use the teen's risky behavior and emotional breakdown as their weapon. Groomers spend a lot of time collecting useful information about their victim and then take their step into crime.
This method also includes methods that are mentioned above. Your child will not even know that predators are grooming them to be the next victims.
How Can You Help Your Kids Deal with Online Predators?
Overcoming online predators is hard because most of them are unpredictable. Most teens fall into their trap because of the problems they face at home and school.
Teens who are highly addicted to social media are an easy target for these predators. Empowering parents is the most effective way to deal with these kinds of people.
Although parents guide teens themselves, sometimes they ignore their kid's feelings. And this makes it easy for the predators to throw their traps. Teens should also be taught some methods to stay safe from these weird predators.
Some of the methods the parents can use to help their teens overcome the problems caused by online predators are listed below:
Teach Them About the Risk
Most teens have no idea about online predators. They love to start a conversation with strangers with good intent. But they do not expect the stranger to be sexual predators.
Parents must briefly explain the risks involved while using the internet so that their teens will be aware of online predators.
Help Them Get Over Their Addiction
Teens addicted to social media and the internet are highly prone to attacks from online predators. Predators get a lot of time to manipulate social media addicts.
To stay safe from attackers, you should control or help your kids to overcome their addiction. And help them involve in real-life activities. You can limit their social media usage time. Also, while they are using social media, keep an eye on their social media activities. One effective thing that you can teach your kids is to help them to identify fake friends on social media.
Create a Safe Environment
As we all know, kids are very fragile and can frequently have an emotional breakdown. But this mostly occurs when the environment is not friendly and safe.
Creating a safe environment will not only help your kids to have good mental health. But also, it will help your kid to fight against bullies online. A safe environment enables teens to remain mentally well. And they are less vulnerable to online predators.
Tell Them you Always Have Their Back
The best gift parents can give to their teens is having their teens back. When you don't criticize them for doing the wrong things and help them overcome problems, teens will always feel safe.
Whenever they get abused or bullies, they will always report you instead of falling into traps. You should help your kids and teach them what to do when they are bullied on social media. And this will not complicate parents from getting involved in backing off these predators.
Tell Them to Keep Their Profiles Private
Social media is the most used platform by online predators to find a target. Predators collect the data from their profiles and analyze the victim they want to target.
To avoid this, you have to encourage your kids to keep your profile private. Teens should also understand that their private life should not be put on social media.
Use Parental Controls
Most of the kids are embarrassed or feel ashamed to share these kinds of problems with their parents. They are afraid that their parents might criticize or shout at them.
If you feel something unusual about your teens, you might want to consider setting parental control applications on their devices. Parental control apps enable you to watch your teen's device activities remotely so that you will have a better understanding of the problems. And then, you can create a plan to solve the problem.
Contact Local Police if the Problem Escalates
Sometimes the problems might escalate without your knowledge. And your kids might be on the brink of falling into the trap of online predators.
So it is always important to teach your kids about the local police and how they can help you. Always encourage your kids to call the police when they are in huge trouble.
Summing up, it is important for parents to help their children deal with online predators. You should ensure your kids that you always have their back and should create an environment where kids feel easy to tell their problems with you.
Ask them to report any events they find fishy on social media. You should also help your children to identify fake and real friends on the internet. Social media can reduce your kid’s self-esteem, so you need to be extra cautious while letting your kids on social media.