When my daughters started getting online with E-Mail, Chat, Facebook, SnapChat, Etc., I insisted on having their passwords. I regularly went in and looked at their connections and messages. Most of what I found was harmless, other times I found other kids asking my girls to get into trouble with them (and my sweeties did get into their share of shenanigans). The most notable was a 35ish-year-old man who contacted my daughter about doing makeup for his movies.
In their conversation, he had noted that she and her friend had excellent zombie makeup (see in one of her friend’s publicly-posted photos), and he would like to hire her to do make up for his movies. She was so beautiful, that she could even star in one of his movies. My daughter went ahead and gave him her information, and her friend’s information too. She told him that they were both only 14. He told her that they would both need to have their parents sign a waiver. Seemed legit to my girl.
A google search revealed that he is known for making porn in Portland. I messaged him from my social media account, and asked him what he wanted with “friending” my 14-year-old daughter. His answer was extremely defensive, telling me that she said she was over 18. I told him to block my daughter and her friend and cease all contact with them. He told me to block myself… and he did as I told him.
We hear stories nearly every day about online predators contacting children. This 13-year-old girl was convinced to run away from home to meet someone she had been talking with online through online gaming.
Today’s Tuesday Tips: Protect Your Children from Online Predators!
- Be a Snoop! Know who their friends are. Know who they are communicating with. Go through their stuff- As a parent, it’s part of keeping your child safe.
- Know the Passwords and Accounts. Regularly check them. Keep an eye out for new social media outlets. You may not be able to see messages on some of them, but you can see contacts. Then Google is your friend. Find out who they are. If you must, ask your child about it.
- Show You Care! Ask open-ended questions about their day. Ask about their friends. Try not to cringe as they tell you all the wonders of MindCraft or what ever it is they are into at this moment. Share their world.
- Talk to Your Child About Safety. You may get eye-rolls, but have faith that you are getting through.
- Have Someone Else Talk to Your Child About Safety. Sometimes it helps to hear it from someone else- you can take them to free self-defense classes like GirlStrength and BoyStrength in Portland, or if you don’t have time or availability for that, you can have EMPOWERED come to you!
EMPOWERED comes to your location at your best time and teach things like anti-bully techniques, online safety, and assertive communication, wrapped in games and activities. Get an individual lesson for your child, or make it an event on a Saturday where we can do a 2-hour class with their friends. Call 503-764-5013 for more info.
Be safe. Be Strong. Be EMPOWERED!