The internet can be a great tool for many different things. People can now shop online, meet people online, apply to jobs online, go to school online, and find the answers to the majority of their everyday questions online. With all that convenience and accessibility, the internet can also be a dangerous place. There are many different types of predators and criminals who use the internet to further their criminal agendas. If your child uses the internet frequently, here are some factors to consider in order to keep them safe.
Dating online can be an especially dangerous activity for teenagers. This is because sexual predators could try to take advantage of unsuspecting victims, especially minors. The internet now has multiple sites and apps that provide dating services which allow people to connect with others within their area. While these apps are meant for adults, teenagers could lie about their age and create an account.
Online dating sites and apps can be easily accessed and manipulated by predators. Dating apps do not conduct criminal background checks on their users, nor do they verify that their users are actually who they say they are. It is very easy to for someone to pretend to be someone else or hide their criminal intentions. Talk to your teenagers about online dating and explain the dangers. Learn more about online dating here.
Protecting Your Child
When verifying who other people are online, consider these tips:
Block and report suspicious users such as:
- Profiles who request financial assistance.
- Profiles that look like they are fake or using someone else’s pictures.
- Profiles who request a home and work addresses.
- Profiles that are sending inappropriate or harassing messages.
- Profiles that request inappropriate pictures.
Google the user/profile your child is talking to:
- See if the person has social media and if that social media matches their dating profile.
- See if any negative articles involving them appear.
- See if they have a criminal background.
- See if any of the pictures they used come up under another name.
Do not put personal information on a social media profile that could lead someone to locate your child without your permission such as:
- Home address.
- Work address.
- Social security number.
- Telephone number.
- Current location.
Social Media Safety Tips
Many people in this day and age also have different forms of social media such a Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Social media sites are also places where hackers or predators can access personal information and use it in a criminal way. To keep your child’s social media protected from such people some tips include:
- Keep social media accounts on the private setting so you and your child can control who can access it.
- Do not allow social media sites to display current location.
- Report harassment or inappropriate users or content.
- Do not open any links or messages you think are spam or contain a virus.
- Pick strong passwords and change them frequently.
- Do not post personal information to social media.
- Do not let your child’s friends post personal information about them on their social media.
Find more social media safety tips here.
If you think that your child has been harassed or taken advantage of online, you should seek help. Contact a lawyer for further assistance.