Saturday, January 22, 2011



If you are a parent, whether to a young child or teenager, you are probably concerned about the possibility that your child or teen could come in contact with an online predator.  Today, I have a guest blogger, Amy Wettig from giving excellent information to help educate parents about online predators.

The Internet has a lot to offer children, but it's also a threatening place, with predators lurking around every corner.

  • 1 in 5 children are sexually solicited online. Solicitations are defined as requests to engage in sexual activities or sex talk.
  • 1 in 33 youth were aggressively pursued by predators last year. This means a predator asked a young person to meet somewhere, called a young person on the phone, and/or sent the young person correspondence, money or gifts through the US Postal Service.
  • 25% of children have been exposed to unwanted pornographic material online.
  • 75% of children are willing to share personal information online about themselves and their familiy in exchange for goods and services.
  • Only approximately 25% of children who encountered a sexual solicitation told a parent or adult.
  • 77% of the targets for online predators are age 14 or older.  Another 22% are users ages 10 to 13.
  • Only 1/3 of households with Internet access are actively protecting their children with filtering or blocking software.
  • The most dangerous places on the Internet are chat rooms, where 65% of these incidents occurred and instant messenger, where 24% of these incidents occur.
Now you ask, "but what can I do to ensure that my child will not come in contact with an online predator?"
If you want the truth, nothing. I'm sorry that is harsh and hard to hear, but these people are hard to spot and are sneaky, but you can  educate yourself and your child about what to do if they are contacted.

First, the most important thing is to always have open dialogue with your child. Talk to them about the dangers online, about what kind of things can happen and do happen. Contact me directly. I can give you specific examples.

  • Young children should not use chat rooms. As they get older, possibly well-monitored chat rooms, but I still advise against it. 
  • Instruct your child to NEVER leave the public area of the chat room.  No private conversations should be allowed.
  • Know what your child does online.  Sit with them and have them show you where they go. (Of course, this is much easier to do with young children. Teenagers like their privacy, but don't give in, know where they go online.)
  • Keep the computer in a common area in the home, not in the child's bedroom.  
  • Teach your child to NEVER respond to IM's or emails from strangers.
  • They also shouldn't add strangers as friends on social network sites.
  • Monitor your child's email and their social networking profiles. Do it with them, not behind their backs.  Make sure they know why you are doing this.
  • Have your child "friend" you on MySpace and Facebook for easier monitoring, especially of pictures they post online and who their friends are.
  • Instruct your child to never post their phone number or address on social network sites.
  • NO webcams.
  • They spend a large amount of time online, aside from homework time.
  • They close or switch screens when you walk into the room.
  • You find pornography on the computer.
  • They receive phone calls from people you do not know or makes calls to numbers you do not recognize, sometimes long distance.
  • They receive gifts, packages or mail from someone you don't know.
  • They become withdrawn from family and friends.
  • They use someone else's online account.
If you think your child has been contacted, you need to remember that they are not to blame in any way. The offender always bears the complete responsibility for his actions.

You may be thinking, "how could this happen"?  It's quite easy actually.

Do you remember what it was like to be a teen?  You felt like the whole world was out to get you, especially your parents.  Teachers were awful. No one understood.

Now there is this whole new online world that teens can escape to. And there are online predators sitting there waiting. They seduce their targets with attention that they are not getting from anyone else, at least not the kind of attention they are wanting. The predator is telling them they understand and they feel the exact same way.

I mean, who doesn't want to hear all that right?

Pretty soon, this is the only person your teen is relating to. So the predator keeps taking it one step further. I won't paint the picture any further. This is where the gifts start to come in.
The key to prevention is education.  Educate yourself and then educate your children.  It is never too early to start.Keep your eyes open, and you most likely won't be deceived.

Amy Wettig
The Girl Power Coach

I am a single mom in Southern IL. 
I am a Certified Life Coach. 
I was certified through Katapult Enterprises.
I have a Bachelors degree in Social Work & another in Psychology.
I have worked in the human services field for 10 years.

*Image by:


Toesthattwinkle! said...

I found you on the blog hop and now Im following you! Please check out my blog and follow me, I also wanted to say how much I love your blog and reading the posts!

Galit Breen said...

Ugh! Such scary thoughts and fears!! Thank you for putting this tricky topic out there. And seriously thank you for the tips to help keep kids safe! I have three little ones, and this "stuff" (How's that for eloquent?!) makes my stomach turn!

WhisperingWriter said...

Scary. I will definately monitor the computer when my kids start using it.

Mommying On The Fly said...

Great post... newest follower here... Thanks for the follow.. (=

Heavenly Savings said...

Nice Blog! I now follow you! Happy Sunday! I would love for you to stop and take a look at my blog as well! Http://! Have a happy day!

KDC Events said...

YIKES! It is so scary to see what our children are faced with today. There is WAY too much information available to them, and WAY to accessible. I am visiting form sits and following you both now! Thanks for the info!

shelley said...

such a great and also important post for parents!
shelley :)

Jenn Erickson said...

Laura, thank you so much for visiting me on my SITS day! Thank you so much for this critical article about keeping our kids safe online. I'm posting a link to my Facebook pages (both personal and fan pages). I know my friends would be very interested in the information you shared. Jenn

Debbie said...

Terrifying! And it happens so much more than we realize. Great post.
Came over from the SITS sharefest.

Ashley said...

Very nice post! It's so scary what's out there these days!

Hi! I found you on the Relax & Surf Sunday Blog Hop! Come check out my blog and follow me if can!

~The Reynolds Mom~

mrsking14 said...

Following you from Relax & Surf Sunday! You can find me at

ohkeeka said...

Thank you for following my blog--I'm following yours now too!

When I was a teenager, the internet was still very new and I met SO many weirdos in chat rooms. I was so naive back then, but luckily nothing bad ever happened. It's a really scary world out there.

Buffi Neal said...

I am also a mother of a teen who is on social sites, so I appreciate all of your advise.
My Wonderfully Dysfunctional Blog

Julie M. said...

Yikes! that was a bit of scary read although all too true. It's such a great reminder to stay on top of what our kids are doing on the internet. We have pretty heavy parental controls on ours and have a small number of sites bookmarked that they are allowed to view. We also keep the computer in our dining room so that I can keep a close eye on them when they're online.

Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by my blog and leave a comment. I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend!

LisaDay said...

These are the stories I have written or had written, which is why little info about us goes online.

Excellent post.

Thank you for popping by on my SITS day.


Anonymous said...

I seldom leave comments on blog, but I have been to this post which was recommend by my friend, lots of valuable details, thanks again.

Saretta said...

Hi, found your blog on SITS and it is so interesting. Thanks for addressing all these important issues. I wanted to leave a comment on the post about the "other" sport at the Super Bowl, but somehow couldn't...

Parenting Girls said...

Great, informative article. Thanks for posting this Laura.

Nancy said...

Hi, great article! Thanks for sharing. I found you on the Blog Frog on Blog Tag. I'm now a follower :O) I haven't blogged in a while but please pop over and see me.

Nancy :o)

ankit kumar said...

Thank you for sharing this information this is very nice blog thank you for giving this info

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