Online solicitation of minors has risen 97.5% since the start of the pandemic! Now, more than ever, it is important to educate your children on the dangers of the internet. This blog will discuss the definition of online solicitation, how to talk with your children about online predators, and two tips for your child if they are approached by a stranger online.
Online solicitation can be a lot of different things and have a very broad definition. However, it can be summed up in a few actions: – Sending nude images – Asking for nude images – Asking for sexual favors – Any discussion of sexual acts – Enticing someone to meet up Sadly, online predators are soliciting children online every day. They are hiding behind the internet with fake images, lying about their age, offering money and gifts, and many other tactics. They are strategically forming relationships with children to build trust. That is why it is so important to educate your children on the dangers of the internet.
The most important part of protecting your child online is communicating with your child. Ask them questions like: “Have you made any new friends online?” “Has anyone you don’t know tried to contact your online?” “Has anyone asked for your personal information online?” “Has anyone said anything online that made you feel uncomfortable?” Check-in with your children regularly by asking them questions about their online interactions, friends, etc. Pay attention to what they are doing online, and give them the comfort of knowing they can come to you if they are approached by a stranger online.
Along with communication, it is important to empower your children to make the right decisions. Here are two tips for your child if they are approached by a stranger online:
1. Give them a funny comeback or a meme that puts control back into their hands and shows the predator they are not interested. Someone is asking for a picture? Personal information like phone number or address? They want to see your “pretty smile” or “beautiful eyes”? Prepare them with a comeback.
2. Teach them how to report this interactive through the different social media apps/platforms and then have them come back to you and talk about it. Some parents may even set up a reward for telling you all about it. This will empower your kids to be positive role models for their peers when it comes to making safe choices online.
It’s time to delete Snapchat! The best way to keep your child safe from the dangers of Snapchat is to delete the app. To delete Snapchat, use the username and password to login to the account and go to the Accounts Portal. The account will be deactivated for 30 days where users will be unable to interact with their Snapchat friends. After 30 days, the account will be permanently deleted.
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The mission of the Safe Surfin’ Foundation is not only to protect youth from those who would do them harm, but pro-actively educating them in the safe and responsible use of today’s ever-changing technology. Together, we’re improving and saving lives. Help us continue educating kids online by donating today.