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Is your child at risk chatting on-line? A number of young children these days are being “lured” into potentially dangerous situations by internet predators that “troll” the internet to seduce and abuse young children.
Many victims share various characteristics. First of all, they are typically between the ages of 11 and 15 years of age. The tend to be loners; that is, they have few off-line friends and they don’t generally lead a balanced life with other off-line activities including sports, music, hobbies, reading and so forth.They can be either socially and personally naive’ or on the other hand risk-taking or attempt to be quite sophisticated. Nearly all of them believe that they are communicating with someone near their own age.
In order to be safe, parents ought to monitor the time their children spend on-line. They should set limits. Perhaps more importantly, where they engage in these activities. It is often beneficial to place the computer in a “public” area in your house. It also helps to go on-line with them so that you know their sites and talk to them about the potential dangers. For instance, never, never, never give out any personal information or worse, agree to meet someone.
Watch for changes in your child’s behavior or activities. For instance, if they spend increasingly more time on-line, especially at night, or they start making or receiving phone calls that you don’t recognize. Predators might also “seduce” your child by sending them small gifts, CDs, jewelry, and so forth. Finally, monitor your child’s wireless device such as a text-messaging cell phone or a PlayStation II. The most recent versions of these game devices have internet capability.