CHILD WELFARE NEWS
Written by: Nikki Henderson
CADDO PARISH, La. (KTAL/KMSS) — You can help protect your child from predators by taking a closer look at their online activity.
Parents, guardians, caregivers, and teachers can take the following steps to help protect children from becoming victims of online child predators:
- Discuss internet safety and develop an online safety plan – with children before they engage in online activity. Establish clear guidelines, teach children to spot red flags, and encourage children to have open communication with you.
- Supervise young children’s use of the internet – including periodically checking their profiles and posts. Keep electronic devices in open, common areas of the home and consider setting time limits for their use.
- Review games, apps, and social media sites – before they are downloaded or used by children. Pay particular attention to apps and sites that feature end-to-end encryption, direct messaging, video chats, file uploads, and user anonymity, which are frequently relied upon by online child predators.
- Adjust privacy settings and use parental controls – for online games, apps, social medial sites, and electronic devices.
- Tell children to avoid sharing personal information, photos, and videos online – in public forums or with people they do not know in real life. Explain to your children that images posted online will be permanently on the internet.
- Teach children about body safety and boundaries – including the importance of saying ‘no’ to inappropriate requests both in the physical world and the virtual world.
- Be alert to potential signs of abuse – including changes in children’s use of electronic devices, attempts to conceal online activity, withdrawn behavior, angry outbursts, anxiety, and depression.
- Encourage children to tell a parent, guardian, or other trusted adult – if anyone asks them to engage in sexual activity or other inappropriate behavior.
- Immediately report suspected online enticement or sexual exploitation of a child – by contacting CPSO, calling 911, contacting the FBI at tips.fbi.gov, or filing a report with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at (800) 843-5678 or report.cybertip.org.
CPSO also released a list of apps that every parent should know about: