Some of the fastest-growing crimes in the country now are those labeled as cyber crimes, or crimes that take place over the Internet.
The Internet is a popular hangout for predators of all ages. It allows them to hide their identity and basically become anyone they want to be. As a result, these online predators hide in chat rooms and sign up for popular social networking sites where children and teens hang out. Pretending to be teenagers, they talk kids and teens into meeting up with them, where they then rape, molest, and sometimes murder them.
Perhaps one of the most frightening statistics about all of this is that in 100% of the cases, the victims met up willingly with their attacker, thinking they were meeting someone entirely different.
Internet predators are becoming such a threat that police have dedicated entire departments to the cause, with police going through chat rooms and trying to attract these predators by pretending to be teenage girls or other types that are attractive to predators, then arresting them.
Police also catch Internet predators by acting on tips from parents or teens who have encountered or who believe they have come across an online predator. These efforts are very helpful to police in catching online predators.
You can also help the efforts police are making to stop Internet predators. One of the best ways to do this is to protect your own family members from conversing with Internet predators. The following tips will help you to help the efforts police are making to stop Internet predators:
•Know what your children are doing online. Parents have the responsibility of monitoring what sites their children visit online, particularly any chat rooms or social networking sites, where thousands of predators visit each day, just waiting. Monitor where your children visit online and check your history frequently.
•Teach kids not to give out any identifying information. You should also teach your children that no matter how friendly anyone they meet online seems, they should never tell anyone their full name, address, phone number, or email address. Often, predators will send kids or teens graphic photographs via email. Some will even repeatedly call or drive by your home, so it is important your kids never give out any identifying information.
•Report any suspicious activity to police. If you suspect your child may be conversing online with an online predator, or if someone has sent your child graphic pictures or had sexually explicit conversations with your child, notify the police immediately. Many departments have cyber crime units dedicated specifically to catching Internet predators.
•Never let your child meet anyone from online without parental supervision. If your child expresses interest in meeting up with a friend they met online, never allow them to go without adult supervision. If parents are around, an Internet predator will be scared off and not show up.
Internet predators are a dangerous threat nowadays, and the ability to be anonymous and hide behind a computer makes them even more of a threat. While police are going to great lengths to stop and catch Internet predators, you too can help their efforts by alerting them of any suspicious online activity you may know of and by making sure your children practice safe web surfing.