Many people turn to the Internet to make new friends and socialize in chat rooms, on social networking sites like myspace, on dating sites, and in other online communities. While these places can be a fun way to meet and talk to new people, they can also be very dangerous.
A growing type of crime involves sex offenders frequenting these social sites and posing as younger kids or teenagers. The predators know how to talk like teens and know what is popular. From there, they befriend teenagers and begin sexually explicit conversations with them and sometimes even encourage them to meet them in person. Thinking they are meeting someone their own age, the teens then meet up with the predator, who then sexually assaults them. Sometimes, these online predators even end up killing their victims.
Because of the seriousness of this crime, police have been doing many things to help fight these online predators. Cyber Crime Units are being developed in police stations all across the country with the intention of finding Internet predators and convicting them. Police often pose as teenagers that would be enticing to predators, agree to meet with them, and then arrest them.
Police also work to educate the public of the seriousness of online predators and often speak at schools and other public places to help parents, teachers, and community members know what to look for and how to help fight Internet predators. Many have even set up special websites that list sex offenders in the area and help to educate people about the warning signs of online predators.
You can also help police fight online predators. The following are some things you can do to help police fight Internet predators.
Keep track of your kids online.
In the majority of cases where an online predator assaults a teen or child, the teen went willingly to meet him, thinking he was someone else. That’s why it’s so important to keep track of the sites your kids are visiting online. If they are in chat rooms or have profiles on networking sites, keep a close eye on the people they talk to.
Educate your kids.
Online predators are very skillful when it comes to luring in their victims. They know how to think, talk, and act like teenagers and know the popular lingo, hangouts, and clothes, making it easy to start up a conversation with their victims. Teach your kids to never give out any of their information, such as their full name, address, school, or phone number, no matter how cool the person they are talking to seems. In addition, tell your kids to tell you if they are speaking with someone online who begins talking sexually with them or sends them inappropriate pictures.
Report anything suspicious to the police
If you believe your child has been corresponding with an online predator, or if your child tells you someone has been sending them inappropriate pictures or having explicit conversations with them, report it to the police immediately so they can follow up and possibly stop the predator before he claims a victim.
Online predators are very dangerous, and they are growing in numbers at an alarming rate. The above tips are just a few things you can do to help police fight Internet predators.